Ananya Pathak

Dabur tweaks toothpaste category norms in new spot

Dabur moves on from 'Fights 7 dental problems' copy of Red toothpaste.

The toothpaste segment, for long monotonous with its communication strategy of 'use our product' and 'recommended by doctors', now seems to be drifting away from it. A recent Sensodyne campaign got us thinking. Fueling our thoughts is Dabur India's new film - #ChabaateyRahoIndia, for Red toothpaste.

The minute-long ad released last week has been scripted, produced and directed in-house by Gurugram based creative agency Thinkstr.

The poetic narration of the ad film opens with 'Khane aur chabane ka maza majboot daanto se hi aata hai' and goes on to speak of various food items such as 'Banaras ki jalebi' and 'Kolkata ke puchke', mentions using teeth to tear open a packet of chips, to open a cold drink bottle, to bite off extra pieces of thread when hooking a button, and to chew on a sugarcane, ditching the stereotyped 'fights seven dental problems' copy.

Harkawal Singh, marketing head-Oral Care, Dabur India, tells us that the brand aims to connect with consumers on an emotional front apart from its traditional communication of efficacy and benefits. “We wanted to talk about a slice of life, rather than just the product - which most of the brands in the category do.”

Dabur tweaks toothpaste category norms in new spot

He says, “Today, the digital medium allows you to do a lot of storytelling. This was a constraint in the traditional medium. We wanted to utilise the same, highlighting the moments good oral hygiene can bring to your life.”

Speaking about the ideation of the campaign, Satbir Singh, founder and chief creative officer, Thinkstr, says, “Toothpaste advertising, typically has been around cavities or fresh breath. While these are important reasons to brush your teeth twice daily, these are also pretty well known and we had an opportunity to tell a different story.”

Satbir Singh
Satbir Singh

He goes on to add, “Every day, we use our teeth for a variety of reasons other than eating (some of them are not advisable). We thought of ‘chabaane wale’ instances that all of us have experienced at some point: the Banarasi jalebi' that sends a blast of heavenly deliciousness the moment you bite into it, the hurriedly-chewed puchka, the stubborn bottle cap that you dislodge with your teeth as you couldn’t find the opener, or the central role the dupatta (being bitten shyly) plays during a romantic outing.”

Execution-wise, he mentions that the team designed it to look real and everyday. It was shot in candid-style in Varanasi and Kolkata. “The voiceover, poetic and lighthearted film captures the unique ‘Bhartiyaness’," Singh points out.

The digital campaign aims to reach out to the younger lot - around 25 years and below who may not be the decision makers in the household products category today, but will soon be. Singh explains, "This generation is not into pure transactional interaction with the brand. They prefer brands that resonate well with their thoughts. And therefore, we opted for emotional storytelling this time.”

Resulting from similar thoughts was the aforementioned Sensodyne campaign - #ForTheLoveOf, in which the brand ditched the 'white coat doctor' and 'sensitivity', pivoting to colorful food shots. In none of the four, almost-minute long films released as a part of the campaign, could one spot an ounce of pain or discomfort.

Expert comments.

Shubhojit Sengupta, executive creative director, Enormous Brands, mentions that the film certainly makes a conscious departure from its earlier communications where it's most likely a mother who delivers the brand message. But, he says he did not find anything strikingly fresh about the new narrative.

Shubhojit Sengupta, ECD, Enormous
Shubhojit Sengupta, ECD, Enormous

“Having a long narration combined with different moments of life has been used multiple times so far. It does have some moments that you can actually relate to. But, that's as far as you go with it.”

Commenting on the execution, he says it could have been much better, especially the cinematography. “Though, it's nice to see this sort of departure from a formulaic ad structure.”

What works for Aalap Desai, senior creative director, Dentsu Webchutney, is the writing and the nuances. “They are perfect for the target audience and makes for a narrative that appeals to them,” he says.

Aalap Desai, senior creative director, Dentsu Webchutney
Aalap Desai, senior creative director, Dentsu Webchutney

He finds the music nice and the insights sweet. “They lead you into the proposition and the tagline in a way that it’ll be memorable for the audience it’s catering to.”