N. Shatrujeet

Fair & Lovely: Communicating on a different pitch

The new television commercial for fairness cream Fair & Lovely marks a progression in the brand’s communication, both in terms of idea and its execution

A young girl, microphone in hand, saunters onto a cricket field. She walks up to the freshly laid pitch and begins inspecting it and sending out a pitch report.

Cut to the shot of the girl, dressed casually in T-shirt and jeans, watching some kids playing gully cricket. As the kids scurry here and there, the girl starts giving a running commentary of their game. Cut to the shot of the girl seated on the edge of a maidan, keenly following a local-level game of cricket, and dutifully relaying the proceedings - to nobody in particular. Cut to the girl seated in front of the television in the privacy of her home. As she watches the telecast of a limited-overs international, a rolled-up magazine doubles for the microphone she is supposedly talking into.

Happy in her own make-believe world, the girl is oblivious to the fact that she is being observed by another woman (maybe a relative or a friend). As the girl rattles off everything that's happening on television, the other woman sneaks up to her, an indulgent smile on her lips. Suddenly, the woman takes the makeshift microphone out of the girl's hand. In its place, she plants a tube of Fair & Lovely, much to the surprise of the wannabe commentator. Immediately, an anthem strikes up. ‘Dil mein hi hai chhupi/

Jaadui roshni/Manzilon ke nishaan/Apne armaanon ko khul ke toh udne do/Hans ke chhoo lene do yeh aasmaan/Apni manzil koi/Dekhoon bas har ghadi/Chhoo loon yeh aasmaan/Dil mein hi hai chhupi/Jaadui roshni…'

Cut to the girl sharing a commentators' box with cricketer-turned-commentator Krishnamachari Srikkanth. Smiling radiantly, her dream fulfilled, she announces the start of a limited-overs game, as Srikkanth looks on amiably…

This is the new 60-second television commercial (the spot has a 45-second edit as well) for Hindustan Lever's (HLL) flagship fairness cream brand, Fair & Lovely.

The commercial, which went on air late last week, clearly marks a progression in Fair & Lovely's communication, both in terms of idea and its execution. For, unlike what we have seen in the past, this new ad does not talk about mandatory ‘gorapan' and ‘khubsoorti ka vaada', nor does it go through the over-flogged routine of ‘demonstrating' how Fair & Lovely works its wonders.

More importantly, the protagonist in this ad is not some reject-come-good or someone resigned to live her fate till Fair & Lovely comes to her rescue. Here, the focus is clearly on a woman who is happy the way she is, but whose dreams bear fruit, courtesy Fair & Lovely. In that sense, this ad does not tread Fair & Lovely's traditional problem-solution route. It is less functional benefit-led, and plays more on the emotional side of the argument. Which, in this case, is greater self-confidence.

Put differently, through this ad, Fair & Lovely comes forward more as an ‘enabler' brand, one that promises to bring out the best in the consumer by empowering her (empowerment being the stated brand promise for some time now). "Fair & Lovely has to play the role of an enabler, and this ad celebrates the success of the Fair & Lovely woman," agrees Balki (R Balakrishnan) executive creative director, Lowe. "Fair & Lovely is about changing the consumer's life by giving her the opportunity to change her destiny in whatever way possible. It is about giving her confidence and enabling her to spread her wings. The last ad (‘airhostess') was also about enabling the daughter to demonstrate to her father that she was no less than a son."

It is the light in which the waiting-to-be-enabled woman has been portrayed that makes the new ad different. The girl in the commercial isn't sorry about her lot, and there's no ‘getting run down' by anyone or wallowing in self-pity. And that, Balki reveals, is based on the fact that the Fair & Lovely consumer isn't necessarily someone who is disenchanted with life.

"The Fair & Lovely team (led by Vivek Rampal) and the agency decided to profile a woman who is fond of life and celebrates it in her own small ways," he explains. "It's not as if this woman is unhappy with life. It's just that somebody gives her an opportunity to achieve something bigger, and she grabs it and tastes success. The woman has it in her, and Fair & Lovely simply helps bring it out." Balki points out that the new communication is rooted in a simple insight. "There is an opportunity waiting to be grabbed. It's not as if your world will come crumbling down if you miss that opportunity, but if you do grab it, it's glory and happiness for you. Fair & Lovely can't substitute for talent. What it can do is open doors of opportunity and let you live your dreams."

Speaking of dreams, of interest is the vocation that the Fair & Lovely girl chooses for herself - cricket commentary. A welcome break from hackneyed professions such as engineering, medicine, fashion designing, architecture… "We chose cricket commentary because it is something fresh, and because cricket has universal appeal," says Balki. He adds that the idea was inspired by the voice of a lady commentator he'd recently heard on radio.

Timely too, considering women commentators and presenters are gradually becoming a part of the contemporary packaging of international cricket. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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