TBWA\India and Dixcy Scott have come together to create an outlandish, yet relatable ad campaign, about body language.
When it comes to advertising for men’s underwear - the Indian ad world has followed a fairly set code. We’d see physically fit men with oil rolling off their abs while a member of the opposite sex looks on lustfully. Rarely does a brand actually talk about factors such as comfort, breathability of the fabric, or the life of the garment itself. Similar to the deodorant segment, these companies have used sex to sell their products for the longest time.
Dixcy Scott’s latest ad campaign - made by TBWA\ India is an attempt to break away from that mould. Three ads feature three men in everyday stressful situations. In one situation, a young man is talking to his coach before an important football game.
Another ad features a young man meeting his future father-in-law to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. In the third ad, we see a man trying to convince a prospective employer to hire him for a job.
In all of these settings, the men are visibly uncomfortable, and in steps in the ‘star’ of the show - the body language translator. Played by Rahul Dev, he is cool, confident as he steps in to the situation, clad only in his underwear - in a bid to play translator of the person's body language in that situation.
Shekhar Tewari, chief category and operations officer (CCOO) at Modenik Lifestyle and Parixit Bhattacharya, managing partner, creative - TBWA\India joined us for a virtual chat to talk about their campaign. Modenik Lifestyle is the company that was formed with the merger of Dixcy Textiles and Gokaldas Intimatewear - the parent company of women's intimate wear brand Enamor.
Tewari begins the discussion by laying the foundation about Dixcy as a brand. It has been around for almost 40 years and in the past, it has largely relied on celebrity endorsements to create an impression in consumers minds and drive the product offering home.
“We’ve used celebrity endorsers such as Salman Khan to create demand and visibility. The category codes of advertising in our segment typically entail hardcore bravado and machismo, and somehow the underwear miraculously helps the hero achieve something or get the girl or get attention from women in general. We wanted to differentiate our brand and create a fresh narrative in this category,” explains Tewari.
Tewari adds that it became important to create tangible differentiation in the category since at one point, the different companies in the category were attempting to outshout each other and that created the need for them to stand out.
"In the last decade or so, men have evolved, but the advertising codes in the category have not evolved to keep up with them."Shekhar Tewari, Modenik Lifestyle
“In the last decade or so, men have evolved, but the advertising codes in the category have not evolved to keep up with them,” says Tewari. He explains that men have gone way beyond the hunter/gatherer mindset and that now, they are expected to be sensitive and empathetic - an equal partner in their romantic relationships.
“Innerwear is one of those things that affects body language and if you’re uncomfortable, it will end up showing, physically. That was what the ad tries to convey,” he explains.
"Innerwear is one of those things that affects body language and if you’re uncomfortable, it will end up showing, physically."Shekhar Tewari, Modenik Lifestyle
Bhattacharya chimes into the conversation, mentioning that the modern day man has a host of new roles, responsibilities and aspirations. “The point about comfort is a big one. If your inner wear isn’t comfortable, if it doesn’t fit well, then you will not be comfortable in that situation. We wanted to drive home a point that was charming and a little cheeky - that’s when the idea of a body language translator.”
"We wanted to drive home a point about comfort that was charming and a little cheeky - that’s when the idea of a body language translator."Parixit Bhattacharya, TBWA\India
Bhattacharya explains that at the end of the brainstorming session - they had hit upon one pertinent insight. "If a person's innerwear doesn't fit well, their body language will say it before they can verbally say it out loud. That's how we decided the direction we wanted to take the ads in. We were also particular that they have to be relatable. We see ourselves making many more ads with the body language translator as a recurring character," smiles Bhattacharya.
Tewari tells us that the team was cautious about the idea of showing a man - clad only in his underwear - but at the same time, they wanted to show a middle aged person who is a liaison between the young man and the older authority figure in the room.
He adds that it was intentional that the situations are everyday, relatable situations that a person might be going through. “If you look at our TG - we want to appeal to the man that is going through a transitional phase in his life. Think about it. A new job, a new career, a new wedding - all of these are life changing steps in a person’s life,” he explains.
"The TG we want to appeal to, is the man that is going through a transitional phase in his life."Shekhar Tewari, Modenik Lifestyle
He adds that nowadays, men also have a very different set of expectations that they have to live up to in terms of how they present themselves. This includes expectations on grooming (facial hair), fashion etc - which have all, in turn, led to the growth of the men's personal care segment in India.
When asked how COVID affected the company’s business, he replies that the inner wear segment is one of the few that wasn’t affected by the pandemic. “Formal wear, formal shoes, ethnic wear (for weddings etc) all took a hit during the pandemic, but our segment was not affected much. Whether a person is working from home or working from an office, when they wake up in the morning and they take a shower, they need to wear their underwear - it's the most basic part of dressing up for both casual and corporate attire,” explains Tewari.
He adds that thanks to the pandemic, the company saw an uptick in casual wear, lounge wear and other similar clothes that allowed a person to be comfortable whilst working from home.