Aishwarya Ramesh
Advertising

"Fevicol, like OTT, has interesting stories to tell": Vivek Sharma, CMO, Pidilite

It's been 60 years since the 'mazboot jod' entered the lives of Indians. To mark the journey of the brand over six decades, Pidilite Industries' Fevicol has released a new long format ad film. The brand has consistently engaged the Indian viewers with relatable and humourous ads over the years.

The new film takes the audience on a journey of multiple generations through the story of a sofa. The spot opens in an earlier era, where we see a newly wedded couple heading home with a gifted sofa. As the story progresses, we see the sofa being handed over from one generation to another. The ad set to the Bihari dialect, is produced by Ogilvy.

At 90 seconds, the ad film is the longest-ever by Fevicol. It will be aired on leading GECs, digital platforms and will be supported by spots on radio and in cinemas. For the first time ever, a brand advertisement will be placed as content on OTT platforms like Hotstar, SonyLIV, Zee5 etc.

"Fevicol wants to be where the consumers are. We noticed over time that consumers are moving towards OTT because they find different and segmented content over there. We believe that Fevicol, like OTT, has good stories to tell," said Vivek Sharma, chief marketing officer at Pidilite Industries, on the sidelines of a press conference.

Vivek Sharma, CMO, Pidilite
Vivek Sharma, CMO, Pidilite

He believes that TV and OTT will always co-exist in India. "There are people who will watch TV, and those who will watch OTT content. Then there are people who will watch both. It is necessary for a brand like Fevicol to be present on both mediums. We don’t think it’s at the cost of the other, rather they will complement each other," Sharma says.

What were some of the marketing challenges when it comes to a brand like Fevicol, we ask. Sharma admits that the 60 year campaign has been especially challenging. "The task is tall - to convey a story of the brand's journey that started 60 years ago to the present. The challenge was to do that without making it a documentary type film or without trying to make it product-centric and yet convey the same emotions. We had to make sure that the story of the past six decades of the brand is told in the same fashion, with the same emotion," he says.

We asked him how many of his ads are meant to entertain versus to sell a product benefit. “First of all, an ad is supposed to do both - to make a place for the brand in the mind of the consumers in a differentiated fashion. What works for this Fevicol campaign is that it establishes the brand origin and it does so in an entertaining fashion.” He mentions that when it comes to Fevicol, the ads are generally a combination of conveying a product benefit and a product proposition.

During the press conference, Bharat Puri, MD, Pidilite Industries mentioned that the brand spent approximately Rs. 20 crore on this campaign. Commenting on the different mediums used by the brand to communicate the message, Sharma says, "TV remains the lead medium of communication as it has a reach that no medium can match, but digital is the next most important medium for us. We have to stop thinking in terms of mediums and start thinking in terms of messages.”

"We think of marketing in terms of messaging, not medium"
Vivek Sharma, CMO, Pidilite

Sharma told us that he personally would not use one medium over another - “We use print medium the least, since it has very little relevance to our target audience of contractors and carpenters. At Fevicol, we are thinking of marketing in terms of messaging and not about the medium.”

"We use print medium the least since it has very little relevance to our target audience of contractors and carpenters."
Vivek Sharma, CMO, Pidilite

As far as the creative process goes, Sharma mentioned that at times, Ogilvy comes up with its own ideas for ads. "Piyush is almost the marketing head of the company. It works both ways - sometimes we brief them, sometimes they come up with their own ideas," he tells us.

"Piyush is almost the marketing head of the company."
Vivek Sharma, CMO, Pidilite

With the digital medium, the brand is targeting a younger audience. "Anyone above 18 years, who would be my future consumer. After 21, they’ll start earning, have an income, and soon end up making furniture or recommending the brand to their parents or someone else in the house making a piece of furniture. We want to build the brand for future consumers and make their presence felt early in life,” says Sharma, explaining his TG.

“The marketing challenge is to increase the penetration of the brand and make sure that more and more carpenters, contractors and consumers are using it. Consumers, mostly school children, use it for arts and crafts. Carpenters or contractors use it to bind, laminate plywood or new surfaces these days like WPC or PVC.”

"The challenge is to increase the penetration of the brand and make sure that more and more carpenters, contractors and consumers are using it."
Vivek Sharma, CMO, Pidilite

We asked two veterans of the Indian ad world to review the effort. This is what they had to say -

KV Sridhar aka Pops, the founder and chief creative officer at HyperCollective appreciated the effort that went into creating the ad. “It’s executed to the standards of today’s film language. You have flashbacks and the modern day narrative.”

KV Sridhar 'Pops'
KV Sridhar 'Pops'

“It has the simplicity with which Fevicol’s advertising with the ‘mazboot jod’ slogan has eventually progressed. People started identifying the brand with 'mazbooti' and the everlasting bond. It reminds you of their earlier ads, whether it’s the girl with the moustache or the underwater furniture ad. They’ve not missed the language or the filming style. You can see the change over the 60 years depicted in the ad. The track is very good and it’s a well told story,” he explains.

"There’s rarely a bad ad from Fevicol and this is one of the good ones they’ve done."
KV Sridhar 'Pops'

We voiced our concerns about the length of the ad. Pops reiterated that he himself was the biggest critic of long form ads and he countered our question by saying, “the ad is actually three minutes short.”

“The sweet spot is 60-90 seconds, if you go beyond that, viewers might lose interest. But at the same time, if the content is good, and the story is interesting, you’re just watching a five minute ad, as compared to watching, say a 25-minute episode of a show or three hours of a boring film. If the content is boring, even 20 seconds feel long. It all boils down to the quality of content and justifying the treatment within the given time,” he points out.

"Some storytelling is timeless. If you watch this same ad ten years later, it will have the same effect."
KV Sridhar 'Pops'

He opines that showing the sofa as long lasting is Fevicol’s way of showing how Pidilite, as a company, has lasted over the years.

We asked him about ads in the OTT space and he says that some ads go beyond storytelling and that people would willingly pay to watch well-crafted ads. “There was a time when Indian audiences preferred watching ads on Doordarshan as opposed to the regular programming that they had to offer. Ads like Happydent go beyond content and storytelling and after a while, advertising stops being advertising and it becomes content.”

We also spoke to adman KS Chakravarthy, co-founder and chief creative officer of Tidal7 Brand & Digital. While he liked the ad, he mentioned that he felt its treatment was somewhat superficial.

KS Chakravarthy
KS Chakravarthy

Chakravarthy, or Chax as he's fondly called, tells us - “Fevicol has consistently built a certain equity. It’s a celebration of their longevity and durability and it continues on their theme of paying tribute to the carpenter. Fevicol has no role in this ad, furniture has a role. In India, we have a culture of reupholstering and reusing furniture. It’s an endearing insight and it’s a great way to extend the furniture’s life.”

When asked about the duration of the ad, he pointed out that the track used in the ad plays a role in engaging the audience – “Indians like listening to songs and stories, and the track used is nice. It won’t be an issue…”

Regarding Fevicol’s presence on OTT platforms, he signs off with one thought - “Unless the OTT platform pays Fevicol for its content, it’s not content, it’s still an ad.”

Credits:

Client: Fevicol Marketing team

Agency: Ogilvy, Mumbai

Creative Team: Piyush Pandey, Amitabh Agnihotri, Karunasagar Sridharan

Account Management: Vivek Verma, Pranay Merchant, Ankit Shastri, Vidhi Bhatia

Production House: Corcoise Films private limited

Director: Prasoon Pandey

Producer: Cyrus Pagdiwala