Ananya Pathak

"Didn't want to do another lockdown-based ad & fall in 'me too' category": Dabur's Harkawal Singh, on new film

With another ad in the bag, we spoke to Dabur India's marketing head, oral care, about what worries the brand in these unprecedented times.

“Is lockdown ke dauran agar kuch khula hai to vo hain hamara muh, aur work from home toh hamare daant kar rahe hain” – this is how the latest Dabur Red ad film opens. The 80-second-long film is Dabur India’s attempt to ride on the current mood and ‘hunger swings’ of many who're homebound due to the lockdown. Released earlier last week, the film builds on the brand's #ChabaateyRahoIndia campaign. It has been conceptualised by Thinkstr, a Gurugram-based independent creative agency.

On the idea behind the film, Harkawal Singh, marketing head – oral care, Dabur India, says, “We didn't just want to do another lockdown-based ad and fall in the ‘me too’ category. Instead, when we thought about it, we had a clear message to give – ‘we’re there with you’. The film is our attempt to bring smiles on the faces of our audience by being relatable and highlighting a slice of our day-to-day lives.”

Harkawal Singh
Harkawal Singh

Singh confirms that the film was shot indoors on mobile phones and handycams by the actors and their family members. “The actors featured are not Dabur employees. Although most of the clips shown have been shot at home, some (shots) have also been taken from our stock,” he mentions.

When asked about the brief given to the agency for the film, he says, “It was simple.”

“The amount of messaging that the consumer is receiving in these times is tremendous. In such a situation, we wanted to stand out with our messaging. We wanted to build on the part and parcels of life, while building a connection between it and our brand. So, the brief was simple – ‘a fresh message’,” he elaborates.

We also asked Singh about what worries the brand in these trying times. “There’s no worry as such,” he says, adding, “These are times when we resonate well with our audience. Consumers prefer more natural and ayurvedic products. This helps us further connect with them.”

He says the brand is ensuring smooth distribution to retailers. “There are a lot of obstacles, for sure. We’ve to coordinate with nodal offices, tie up with more e-commerce platforms, find more salesmen, and reach out to retailers in every corner. We are finding more ways to reach our consumer at the last mile, since most of our products fall under the ‘essentials’ category,” he shares.

What will be the brand's focus when the lockdown is lifted? Singh says the demand for new products is emerging, and that the lockdown has led to a change in consumer behaviour. “Our communication and offering will undergo a change. A lot of backend work is happening on those lines. What we say, how we say, will change. There also will be a lot of complementary products introduced in the times to come,” he tells us.

Apart from the Dabur Red film, the company has also released communication for its other sub-brands, including Dabur Amla – a film that salutes women at the frontline of COVID-19 fight, and Dabur Pudin Hara. Interestingly, the Pudin Hara ad builds on a previous film by the brand, released last year – #PudinHaraBanke.

The brand will be promoting all new communication digitally.