Ananya Pathak

Hamdard's blood purifier Safi changes narrative to 'inner beauty'

The over six decades old blood purifying syrup - Safi, is back after a year with a new ad - ‘Sachai Andar, Achchai Bahar’. We spoke to the brand's CMO about the campaign.

Blood purifying syrup Safi, from the house of Hamdard Laboratories, is over 60 years old. Ever since its launch, the Unani medicine (a system of alternative medicine that addresses prevention and treatment of disease) has claimed to be an effective remedy for boils, pimples and other skin eruptions. As per the brand, Safi purifies the blood from within by giving the liver, thyroid and the rest of the body the support needed, and eliminates toxins that usually cause acne and blemishes.

Perceived as a medicine for young women with dull, lifeless skin, or those troubled by acne, pimples and rashes, the brand expanded its audience in 2013 by tapping into the male segment of the population as well. Along with positioning the syrup as an effective medicine for both men and women, Safi has, in all its communication, highlighted its ingredients – ‘the 28 essential herbs’ that help one achieve clear skin in 21 days.

Now, more than a year since its last campaign ('Taste Karoge Hate, Face Hoga Great'), the brand is back with a new ad - ‘Sachai Andar, Achchai Bahar’.

With this, the brand seems to be hinging on a new narrative - 'inner beauty', while still leveraging on the functional benefits of the product.

Over a call, Suman Varma, chief marketing officer, Hamdard Laboratories (Medicine Division), told afaqs! that the campaign aims to remind the audience of the product’s promise – real is always right (for the body). “Safi is not a beauty product, but a medicine,” she says.

It is an OTC (over-the-counter) product, i.e., a medicine that can be sold directly to a consumer without a prescription from a healthcare professional, as opposed to prescription drugs, which may be supplied only to those consumers who possess a valid prescription.

Suman Varma
Suman Varma

Varma mentions that the idea behind the campaign was to bring out the product’s truth in the tagline. “The ingredients of Safi give it the power to cleanse your blood, which results in clear skin. Unlike other beauty products, which are mainly for external use only, Safi helps in digestion, keeps a check on your weight and keeps you healthy from the inside. That is what we are communicating through the ad.”

Crafted by Pranav Harihar Sharma, creative consultant, Hamdard Laboratories, the film features men and women from different walks of life who have made a mark, despite all odds. The list includes: Anny Divya, the world’s youngest woman commander to fly Boeing 777; Ashweeta Shetty, from being a ’beedi’ roller to a TEDx speaker; Afshan Ashiq, the captain of J&K women’s football team; Mira Erda, the youngest Formula 4 girl driver in India; Gladstone Peter, a one-man band; Angad Dariyani, the maker of India’s first 3D printer; Chandeep Singh, the world record holder for fastest 100m para skating; and Sanober Pardiwala, India’s first stuntwoman.

Sharma believes this was the right time to move on from the brand’s long associated tagline ‘Ragon mein Khoobsoorti’, and go for a new brand positioning. “Given the current scenario, survival is the top priority of the audience. The new tagline of the product focuses on this aspect – ‘if you’re healthy on the inside, you’ll glow on the outside.”

Pranav Harihar Sharma
Pranav Harihar Sharma

Speaking about the execution, he adds, “For ages, Safi has talked about how the product works. This time, we wanted to go beyond that and, hence, the concept of ‘masks’. We’ve attempted to marry the product cause with philosophy. In addition, we’ve given equal screen space to both men and women to focus on the brand’s enlarged target audience.”

The brand’s target audience is the 18-35 age bracket. “Young people are so cautious of how they look (and present) these days,” Varma points out. She says that Safi is no longer a closeted drink for young boys.

Hamdard's blood purifier Safi changes narrative to 'inner beauty'

Varma tells us Safi can be consumed all 365 days of the year. There is no perfect time for it, but the consumption increases during peak summer months and monsoons. That, she mentions, is one of the reasons the product is sold more in northern parts of the country.

"Safi is no longer a closeted drink for young boys."
Suman Varma

“Summers set in sooner in North India, and last longer. That makes north a very strong market for us,” she shares. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and parts of Gujarat are a good market for the brand.

“South is bit of an issue. Up to Bengaluru, however, we see good consumption. As we go down, the market is a bit of a task,” Varma points out.

Hamdard's blood purifier Safi changes narrative to 'inner beauty'

For the integrated marketing campaign, the company will leverage PSOM radio and digital mediums to maximise reach. Hamdard Laboratories has also partnered with Radio Mirchi to bring out stories of men and women, who are breaking stereotypes to make a mark for themselves.

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