Abid Hussain Barlaskar
Advertising

ITC’s new ad for Savlon ‘Spray&Wipe’ cleaner dumbs down the disinfection routine

The Savlon surface cleaner cum disinfectant is named ‘Spray & Wipe’ which is pretty much how every product in the ‘squeeze spray cleaner’ segment is used.

FMCG major ITC just lobbed its latest home hygiene product into the COVID conscious market. Launched under the Savlon brand name, Spray&Wipe cleans and disinfects at the same time. At first, the ‘squeeze spray bottle’ format doesn’t seem different from the usual house cleaners like Colin, Lizol or Mr. Muscle. But this one ‘disinfects’ too.

As a Covid era trend, most home cleaning products today come with an additional proposition of disinfection. Launched in July, Godrej’s Protekt multipurpose cleaner also doubled up as a disinfectant. Apart from its core antiseptic liquid, the Savlon line currently includes, masks, surface disinfectant sprays, the Hexa Soap bar, germ protection wipes, handwash and pen sanitiser spray.

A consumer satisfied with the outcome of any of the Savlon products would be happy to try the rest. Savlon has mapped out the hygiene product portfolio and is ensuring that it has a product for all the hygiene uses. What stands out about the latest Savlon Spray & Wipe launch are the product name and the communication built around it.

The product is named ‘Spray & Wipe’ which is pretty much the way every product in the ‘squeeze spray cleaner’ segment is used. Also, the ad film from the brand’s launch campaign ‘Left Se Spray, Right Se Wipe’ in a way ritualises the usage – spray with the left hand, wipe with the right. Also, instead of the VFX visuals of the product obliterating icky microbials, the ‘wipes’ in the ad clean up ‘ziddi’ kitchen ‘daag’. The ‘kills 99.99% germs’ marker is absent too.

Spray & Wipe and rivals
Spray & Wipe and rivals

Unlike the category advertising code, it’s not the mother who’s doing the cleaning. Instead, it’s her young son – who volunteers to be the ‘Savlon Soldier’ in the fight against germs. The rest of the family, the husband and her younger son, are involved too.

However, the oversimplified demonstration in the film, highlights the ease of use of the product. It reminds of hair dye brand Godrej Expert’s ‘Bas Kato Gholo Lagalo’ ad films. Or even the decades old assurance that Maggi noodles gets ready in just two minutes.

But is it enough to make it stand out?

Brand and consumer expert Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy (former planner with Rediffusion Y&R, UTV Media, Zee, JWT) says that naming the product Spray&Wipe is a clever move and would make it visible. “Other brands have similar offerings but what ITC is trying to promote is he ease of use. They did it in the ads for their surface disinfectant spray too. The son and the father in that ad film volunteered to use the spray.”

Swamy points out that while the effectiveness could be a similar proposition across brands in the segment, ITC’s strategy to highlight the ease of use makes it noticeable. “The whole gamut of branding, communication, product labeling, etc., are in sync and are aimed at making things easier. The child protagonist using it means that it’s a no brainer.”

Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy
Sita Lakshmi Narayan Swamy

She further explains that the easy usage is particularly sticky because in the absence of maids, and domestic helps, duties in of household are being distributed within the family. Even if the household helps come in for the daily work, people take care of the disinfection themselves. “So, when it is something that you need to use by yourself, the easy-to-use factor becomes a very important criteria. Savlon is trying to get a step ahead of its rivals.”

From a communication standpoint, Lopamudra Roy, founder-CEO of Road Not Taken (a consumer research consultancy) says that the ad does its job of influencing behaviour, i.e., the clever use of existing semiotic codes drive home one behavioral change – disinfect surface. She suggests that it would do well to show surfaces beyond just the kitchen.

Roy mentions that the mother’s choosing the ‘command’ route rather than ‘educate’, rolls the ball from ‘knowing’ to ‘acting’. “In a space where education has mainly happened through awareness, or fear, a military mandate propels a greater call to action. The timing of launching a military attack on the enemy (Covid) couldn’t have been better.”

Lopamudra Roy
Lopamudra Roy

Use of existing semiotic codes of safety, i.e., using the defense props (sipahi, left right march, etc.) drill strong codes of security into one’s subconscious. “Safety is more important now than ever before. The reward – ‘Shabash Sipahi’ gets so many codes right. Pride of usage, safety, motivation through reward – all rolled into one. Also, involving the whole family and saluting the homemaker creates emotional resonance,” Roy adds.

Rashmi Berry
Rashmi Berry

Rashmi Berry, managing partner BrandStory Consult (a strategic brand advisory), says that the branding and communication facilitates ‘best fit’ consumer choices while emphasizing the dual benefit of cleaning plus disinfecting. “It clearly differentiates the brand both within the Savlon disinfectant portfolio as well as from Dettol’s more straight forward product line extension approach for Dettol Disinfectant Spray,” Berry signs off.