Aishwarya Ramesh
Advertising

HUL gives garments some TLC

Your special day is incomplete without a special outfit. On ordinary days, these special garments can be found neatly tucked away in the corners of cupboards, until the right occasion comes along. Once the right occasion presents itself, a trip to the dry-cleaners feels inevitable. That's where HUL steps in, offering a new fabric cleaning solution — Love & Care. The newest brand from HUL's stables is a liquid detergent specially formulated to care for garments such as silk sarees, woolen sweaters and cotton dresses. The brand was created in association with designer Manish Malhotra and is available in three variants — Shining Silks, Fine Cottons and Soft Woolens.

Commenting on the launch of the campaign in a blog post found on HUL's website, Priya Nair, executive director, Home Care, Hindustan Unilever Limited, says, “As India and Indians are becoming more affluent, their wardrobes are changing and a variety of fabrics such as premium embroidered cottons, silks, and crepes are an increasing part of their wardrobes. We have created expert solutions to address the need to care for these special fabrics — be it for fine cottons, silk or woolens.”

The campaign is running across various media channels such as print, OOH, television and digital. On the digital medium, the ads can be spotted across feeds and stories of popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram. The brand has also collaborated with influencers — Masoom Minawala, an independent blogger and OTT platform actress Barkha Singh.

According to Mythili Chandrasekar, a consumer behaviour and brand strategy enthusiast, this is a way for HUL to move a detergent out of the laundry room, into a more glamorous wardrobe setting. “As a collector of sarees, and someone who handwashes them, it is quite appealing to me personally! A home lover will probably extend its usage to other things such as soft furnishings. A millennial might even use the products to wash their lingerie,” she says.

She opines that it combines connoisseurship with an understanding of the product a consumer is buying. “The insight is nice, when you go such a long way to get the right fabric from the right place, wouldn’t you go the same lengths to wash it? With any product that consumers buy these days, they’d like to know what’s in it, where it’s from, how it’s made, and so on. I think it taps into that insight very nicely,” she says.

Mythili Chandrasekar
Mythili Chandrasekar

She mentions over a call that on the face of it, one would imagine that these garments normally go off to the dry cleaners, “I’m guessing they must’ve found out that there are homes in which, the wearers wash these clothes themselves. On the surface, the bottles look very modern and upscale looking and it captures the feeling of buying an expensive product,” she states.

Rishabha Nayyar, national strategy lead at 82.5 Communications, a creative agency from the Ogilvy Group, finds the campaign interesting and mentions, “It comes from the insight that we all have our special clothes that are made of a particular fabric or by a particular designer and we're forever trying to find new ways to look after them. Normally this would involve a special lehenga or a dupatta which you wear occasionally and you don't allow your maid to wash it. They are focussing on a gap that already exists in the market. This product plugs the gap between wanting to give clothes for dry cleaning and wanting to pamper them and wash them yourself — there's definitely opportunity there,” he says.

Rishabha Nayyar
Rishabha Nayyar

He says that when influencers and celebrities work together for a campaign they complement each other. “Manish Malhotra is far bigger than the other influencers in this campaign and he helps place the product in the fashion category,” says Nayyar.

Nayyar also points out, “From an advertising point of view it is best to lead in with Manish Malhotra and that is what they have done. That’s where cut through becomes the most important and impact is created. When it comes to the conversations about the special garments and how they can be cared for and maintained that's when influencers can lead the way.”

As far as the product itself is concerned, Nayyar feels that HUL needs to invest in it and build it over a period of time. “There is a need but people aren’t actively looking for solutions to this problem and it is still a latent problem in that sense," he says.

He points out that the brand can create interest around the product with the help of content rather than advertising because of the nature of the product and the problem it solves. “Imagine going to a Manish Malhotra showroom and picking up a dress and the store employees recommend this product to wash and maintain the dress with. This product might have reasonably limited appeal since it is starting off at the premium end of the market. Therefore, sustained investment and investments that lead the way to start conversations around the product is the need of the hour. The places where consumers will buy clothes could also be an important consumer touch point,” he concludes.