Aishwarya Ramesh

Hiding bad teeth behind a mask? Dabur wants you to think again

The new ad for Dabur's Meswak toothpaste is a play on the different things that people 'hide' - especially behind a mask.

Wallet? Check.

Phone? Got it.

Keys? Yep.

Mask? Hang on...

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the 'essential' items we need while going out. The mask is now an essential accessory, without which, we can't leave our house.

While wearing a mask correctly, a person's mouth, lips and nose are covered. Dabur's latest ad for Meswak toothpaste focuses on this fact to urge viewers not to ignore dental hygiene because the mask conceals it from the outside world.

The ad was spotted as a YouTube pre-roll commercial and is almost an entire minute long. Shot with 'stop motion' picture style visuals and a quirky voiceover, we can't help notice how this is a visible departure from Dabur Meswak's past messaging - which focussed on natural goodness and caring for the person's teeth and gums.

The latest campaign was conceptualised and created by McCann Worldgroup and they mention that they saw traction shifting to digital during the lockdown, especially among people living in top 10 cities which is Meswak’s key audience.

“We wanted to get the younger people interested in the brand too. The objective was to get people’s attention towards Meswak, given that during these times - oral care was lower down the priority in people’s monthly grocery list. There would be lesser chance that people would re-evaluate their toothpaste during a pandemic,” says Ashish Chakravarthy, executive director and head of creative, McCann Worldgroup.

He explains that during the lockdown people have been exposed to all kinds of interesting content, it was important that we do something which is relevant with times; instead of building a narrative which the usual category code down.

“We realised that the practice of wearing masks is not going to go away anytime soon - that’s when the idea of ‘masking your oral problems’ emerged. The idea ‘masking your oral problems’ connects the contemporary life with brand play in a relevant manner for people,” he mentions. He adds that the platform chosen was digital because our key audience has been active on digital, and also we wanted to target the younger audience to try Meswak.

Chakravarthy feels that this is a time for brand to be agile, and oral care category is no exception. “In times of social distancing and ‘mask on face’ we needed to change brand’s narrative at a time when everything is first seen from a point of view of interest & entertainment,” he says.

The mask has become a quintessential 'corona' accessory and one cannot deny its pervasiveness in advertising messages. In April, Ogilvy conceptualised and created a campaign that featured the top cricketers from Team India, to encourage viewers to wear even home-made masks in public.

The government made mask wearing in public spaces mandatory, and since then, various companies across categories have stepped forward to introduce masks as a part of their product line and as individual products, in a bid to meet the rising demand. This includes brands like Wildcraft, PeeSafe, CEAT, Godrej, Nykaa and Adidas.

In recent times, Center Fresh's campaign also went 'behind the mask' in its messaging. As a part of this new campaign consumers were advised to pop a piece of gum in before heading out for the day.

Also Read: Perfetti seeks 'behind the mask' market for Center fresh gum, mint

In the films, conceptualised by Creativeland Asia, its shown that the two ‘most important’ things to carry while stepping out are - a face mask and Center fresh Mint, along with mobile phone, sunglasses and, of course, a (hand) sanitiser.

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