Namah Chawla

Can gargling become the "4th hygiene habit" after washing, masking and distancing? Cipla hopes so

The Mumbai-based pharma company is out with an ad for Cofsils, but will Indians change their oral care routine to include daily gargling?

Health and personal hygiene practices gained immense prominence during the COVID pandemic. Hand washing, wearing masks and sanitising have become a part of our daily lives.

However, there is an important dimension to oral care routine that people seem to miss. To educate viewers about this dimension, Cipla Health, Mumbai-based pharma company, recently released an ad film for its brand Cofsils Gargle. The ad talks about the role of Povidone Iodine in getting rid of throat infection early.

The film showcases how the pandemic has made the woman of the house extra cautious about her family’s health and safety. Therefore, it is essential to take every possible precaution at home to fight early symptoms of cold and keep health complications away. On the same lines, the film emphasises on making ‘gargling’ with Povidone Iodine an essential part of hygiene routine for all three generations of the family.

Commenting on the film, Shivam Puri, CEO, Cipla Health, said in a press note, “… Gargling with Povidone Iodine is an important throat hygiene routine to safeguard ourselves from most infections. Through this film, we wish to educate everyone about the benefits of gargling as a critical aspect of preventive care.”

Speaking to afaqs! about the campaign, the brand’s spokesperson mentions that the consumers are trying their best to adopt the three key hygiene habits – hand wash/sanitising, maintaining social distancing and wearing a mask to protect themselves.

“However, there is one more layer of protection they can add by regularly gargling with a Povidone Iodine-based gargle, which is a time-tested anti-viral and anti-bacterial solution trusted by doctors over decades. We wish to connect with the consumers in their current mindset and help introduce gargling with a Povidone Iodine gargle as the 4th hygiene habit – an added layer of protection without really scaring them into buying the brand.”

The brand’s team further says that the ad aims at integrating Cofsils as a part of the consumers’ daily routine, without being intrusive and generating fear of any kind.

The film has been created by Spotlight Films, and is being showcased across various digital and social media platforms.

afaqs! also reached out to third-party industry experts to know their opinion about the ad, and whether they see Indians integrating gargling into their oral healthcare routines. Here is what they had to say:

Praful Akali, founder & MD, Medulla Communications

I think Indians must include gargling in their daily routines. Research has shown that the virus colonises in our throat. So, when we gargle, we disinfect where it matters most. With the (COVID-induced) lockdown opening up, it's the difference between stepping out with fear, or stepping out comfortably.

In terms of behaviour change, we never believed we'd all be wearing masks before stepping out, or sanitising our hands till the skin was peeling off. The habit of gargling can be built too with the right education.

Will this ad achieve that? I'd be sceptical. It's a well-crafted emotional film, but I don't think it demonstrates the true value of gargling.

Abhik Santara, director & CEO, ^atom network

The fact that gargling is an important part of safety against viruses is not new. It is a practiced tradition in every Indian household. So, I am not sure how this communication is saying anything different. Gargling is usually done with salt and warm water, and that's a fairly simple process. So, even convenience is not an issue.

I don't find the piece to be either persuasive or able to either induce behaviour change or deliver on any new news in terms of product/usage. As for the cinematic treatment, the overacting by the characters could have been managed in a better way.

Have news to share? Write to us