Deepashree Banerjee

From demonstrating strong, lustrous hair to celebrating mother-daughter bond...

When we think of Clinic Plus's product communication, TV actress, Sakshi Tanwar along with her on-screen daughter is the first thing comes to mind. Clinic Plus’ new commercial, isn’t far off from the brand's conventional storyline — a message from mother to daughter.

Conceptualised and created in association with Ogilvy India, the campaign #MeriBetiStrong tries to capture subtle nuances of the mother-daughter bond. The last brand film titled ‘Badho Mazboothi Se’ was released in 2017.

In a press note, the HUL Company Spokesperson shares, "“Badho Mazbooti Se” was the first step that the brand took in this direction of making the girl child strong. This year, along with the #MeriBetiStrong campaign we’ve taken the conversation forward even with our core campaign on TV “Tum Strong Ho”.

The brand hereby tries 'to reach out to every mother of a pre-teen girl who wants to ensure that she gives her daughter the right foundation so she can realise her potential'.

Clinic Plus has been talking about hair strength for close to 7 years now. "We’ve now moved the narrative to raising strong girls, but the manifestation is not physical strength. As a hair care brand that provides strength to your hair from root to tip, we believe through mothers, we can provide the strong foundation to every girl today for brighter future," says the spokesperson.

When a mother braids her daughter's hair, it's pure bonding time between the two. Secrets are exchanged. Permissions are obtained. Gossip is shared.

 Suresh L
Suresh L

According to independent brand consultant, Suresh L, the film hinges on an insight that is both commonplace and fascinating.

“As the film unravelled, every bit of it seemed perfect. The casting, the script, the background music, the slice-of-life peeks that the camera offered us as it took us into various households from different strata of society — all of it was exquisite. With bated breath, I waited for the brand reveal. A beverage? A hair oil? A soap? Slightly far-fetched, but a sanitary napkin? What is it that every mother raises her daughter on that is infused with her love and is meant to add to the girl’s confidence? I reached the #MeriBetiStrong sign off. And then came the reveal – Clinic Plus. I reached for my hair too, but only to scratch and think. Really? A shampoo?” he sounded perplexed.

Decoding it further, he says, “If the emotions so splendidly displayed in the film didn't connect with the brand, it’s for the simple reason that in real life, I can't see shampoos having an emotional connect with their users. The film has won plaudits from no less than Mr. Bachchan who seems to have had a personal connect with the emotions on screen. I'm sure many parents would attest to this, but again, a shampoo is an add-on to this story than a catalyst.”

Although the film is entertaining and appealing and is sure to rake up the numbers as it goes viral, he's not certain whether it will work the same magic for brand sales.

A change in mood?

One of the striking deviations that the film makes from the regular Clinic Plus campaigns is the absence of bright lights and cheerful backgrounds, be it home, an annual day event or the vibrant outdoors.

The mood throughout the recent commercial appears sombre and the lighting, soft and dull in most frames.

“The houses, the people and more importantly their hair, are shown to be regular, even ordinary, perhaps to show the difference between the dreams that the mother cherishes for her daughter and the stark reality of the present,” Suresh takes a guess.

From a rather macroscopic point of view, he throws light on something more interesting, “The #MeriBetiStrong hashtag and sign off converges with the recent campaigns for the empowerment of the girl child, including the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign by the government. But, it has to be said that the cause stays subtle even as the film stays sophisticated.”

The question that remains is why did Clinic Plus, after decades of demonstrating strong, lustrous hair and after years of focussing on the mother-daughter relationship move on to something this different?

Is it the pressure to keep up with changing times? Or did the brand see this as a natural progression to the communication that was being created over the years?

Karthik Srinivasan
Karthik Srinivasan

Communications consultant, Karthik Srinivasan, thinks that the timing is perhaps what works in the brand's favour here. Planned just before Daughter's Day (September 22), the ad film released on September 19.

Srinivasan feels that Clinic Plus seems to be trying a single pan-Indian narrative because they have translated 'majbooti' as 'Strong' (part of the 'Meri Beti Strong' slogan that's also the hashtag).

However, he points out, the probability of this coming across as a Parachute Hair Oil ad is very high as the product announcement happens in the last shot.

“This is accentuated by the fact that hair oil brands too, talk about the same message — 'strength'. Added to that is the point that most shampoo brands don't show the shampoo-ing routine anymore at all and merely stop with showing strong, dark wavy hair. This was the template for the ads featuring Sakshi Tanwar too. Not a single shot of the shampoo-ing (with lather) makes them very similar to hair oil ad films,” he signs off.


Campaign by OGILVY MUMBAI - CLINIC PLUS #MeriBetiStrong

Client: Hindustan Unilever

Brand: Clinic Plus

Agency: Ogilvy India

CCO Worldwide: Piyush Pandey

CCO South & S.E.A: Sonal Dabral

CCOs West: Kainaz Karmakar, Harshad Rajadhyaksha, Sukesh Nayak

ECD and Copywriter: Anurag Agnihotri

Creative Team: Anurag Agnihotri, Shahrukh Irani, Saurabh Kulkarni

Chief Client Officer: Hephzibah Pathak

Account Management: VR Rajesh, Vineet Singh, Ankur Gupta, Toshita Agarwal, Tamanna Shah

Brand Planning: Prem Narayan, Russell John

Production House: Good Morning Films

Director: Shashanka Chaturvedi

Music: Ashu

Executive Producer: Vikram Kalra

Producer: Robin D'Cruz

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