How did they shoot it? We spoke to the team behind it.
India facing an acute water crisis is a known fact. People, mostly in the rural parts of the country, have to walk for miles at a stretch and back just to fetch a pail of potable water from rivers or man-made wells. According to a recent report released by the United Nations, the problem is expected to intensify by 2050, as 40 per cent of India's renewable groundwater resources would be depleted.
With an aim to raise awareness about the water-woes faced by millions of Indians, Rin - the detergent brand from the house of Hindustan Unilever -released a print ad on the occasion of World Water Day that is observed on March 22. The image shown in the ad represents a bucket formed by a group of villagers gathering around a well, thus signifying the risk of draught and the need for water conservation. The ad is for the brand's 'Smart Foam' technology offering.
Conceptualised and created by J Walter Thompson (JWT) - Mumbai, the campaign has been produced by Happy Finish Studios, which undertook the work right from the production planning to the composition of the image, colour grading and retouching. The picture was shot by ace photographer Prashant Godbole at Wai (in Maharashtra) with actual villagers, about 300 of them.
The copy reads: "33 crore Indians suffer from acute water shortage. At Rin, we have taken a small step to alleviate India's water crisis. Rin, with Smart Foam technology, washes clothes with half the amount of water and helps save water with every wash."
We asked the team how the idea was coined and if there were any particular plans of portraying such insights?
"The idea came out of a product innovation - Rin's new formulation needed half the amount of water to rinse off than what would normally be used. In India, where water scarcity affects so many, this was such a fantastic insight that we at JWT felt that besides regular brand advertising, we needed to do something out of the ordinary to draw attention to this innovation," says Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, JWT - South Asia.
"While researching for water shortage in India, Vijay Solanki, senior creative director at JWT, came upon some stark editorial images showing the low water levels in wells and the crowds around them. That was the starting point of our idea. Print does the best justice to the very dramatic photograph that we used," he adds.
The first ad was published on World Water Day and more creatives will be released as part of the campaign. Further, the brand plans to extend the campaign through digital and OOH platforms as well. However, as of now, there is no plan to extend the campaign to packaging; although Rin packaging does highlight its water-saving benefits.
Interestingly, it was not difficult to explain the project and convince the villagers of Wai; perhaps it is because they are quite camera savvy, thanks to numerous films being shot in the vicinity. The line production did an assessment of requirements for the shoot; extensive pre-production meetings (PPM) between the agency, the photographer and members of the Happy Finish Studios were held to align shoot planning. Once the plan of action was decided, the team executed the envisioned image with the on-ground producer Sanjay Dwara. While the outdoor shooting was done in a single day, it took two days for the post-production team to roll out the final ad.
"Team members of Happy Finish Studios looked at the originality of the well and hence, we scouted for locations across areas such as Gujarat/ Maharashtra (Marathwada - Latur, Beed etc). We eventually shortlisted two wells in Wai for easy accessibility and the character of the well, like parched land, brick structure, grass and a lot of free space around it as evinced by the creative lead from the agency and the photographer. Our brief to the executive producer on the job was to be original and look at villagers from the area so that we can leverage the familiarity with the region," informs Ashish Limaye CEO - APAC, Happy Finish Studios, while elucidating about the execution of the campaign.
In a print advertisement, there's always a chance that the viewer is going to linger on the ad for an indefinite time. So, we asked Kumar what the thought process was for writing and placing the copy.
"We kept the copy stark and factual. The visual was so dramatic that we did not wish to make the copy clever. After drawing people into the ad with a real statistic of water shortage in India, we simply spoke about how Rin is doing something, perhaps in a small way, to help alleviate this huge problem," says Kumar.