Abid Hussain Barlaskar

Raymond extends ‘The Complete Man’ image to new ethnic wear range

The brand just launched Raymond Ceremonial, which includes bandhgalas, sherwanis, kurtas and tuxedos, an ethnic-in-nature variety meant for ‘occasions’.

Think 'Raymond, The Complete Man', and the image of a handsome model dressed in formals (essentially a suit) pops up in your mind, almost instantly. Well, that’s about to change. The brand has just announced the launch of the Raymond Ceremonial collection, a new range which covers bandhgalas, sherwanis, kurtas and tuxedos, an ethnic-in-nature variety meant for ‘occasions’. While there is no arguing against the truth that ‘ethnic’ is not something brand Raymond is known for, the larger and more interesting picture is about the communication around the move.

The brand, backed by the folks at GREY Mumbai, has utilised the move to add a new dimension to ‘The Complete Man’ image. No longer limited to the ‘western-wear’ image, or the ‘suit’ image that has been built over 25+ years of advertising, the new or “evolved” ‘Complete Man’ now also encompasses the more ethnic-inclined ‘Ceremonial’ line.

While there are four TVCs introducing the range, there is a central film that ties them to the original brand image. The film is also accompanied by the traditional ‘Raymond, The Complete Man’ VO at the end.

There might be a host of hows and whys around the move, but there are a couple of key questions - Why the shift? And, since it is ethnic in nature, did Raymond miss the ‘festive season’ bus?

Also Read: Raymond: The Complete, 'New-Age' Man

Raymond‘s positioning of The Complete Man took shape in 1992 and as Mrinmoy Mukherjee (former CMO - Lifestyle Business, Raymond) put it in an interview, it emerged during the ‘angry young man era’. ‘The Complete Man’ was the handiwork of Rajiv Agarwal of Nexus Equity, the agency that took care of Raymond before it moved to RK Swamy BBDO in 2002.

In 2019, the brief from Raymond was to shift from a mens’ formal western-wear brand to a menswear identity in total, and to make Raymond a younger brand.

Speaking about the campaign, Nishant Saurabh, senior VP and branch head, GREY Mumbai says, “As a brand, Raymond is supposed to be the frontrunner in case of anything which is associated with western formals. It is the general sentiment that people associate around the brand. The move is a part of Raymond’s plan to associate with any sort of occasion-wear – celebrations, work, play.”

Nishant Saurabh
Nishant Saurabh

The brand set out to expand to occasion/ceremonial-wear, beyond formals. While making the shift, the new inclusion also had to retain the same Raymond identity. “We had to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to bring alive ‘The Complete Man’ from the lens of Indian traditional wear. We had to find that which allows me to talk about the nuances of the ‘complete man’, the one who has certain values and codes, and puts others before himself,” Saurabh says.

He mentions that it had to be done with care especially because with this, brand Raymond would be placed in scenarios where it has never been seen before. “The family-like celebratory mood combined with traditional wear hasn’t been seen on Raymond. So, how do I marry the best of both so that it does not look like an aberration but evolution? The ‘complete man’ had to maintain his implicit nature,” he explains.

Speaking about the launch timing, Saurabh maintains that it was a conscious decision to not launch the offering during the pre-Diwali-festive-season. “We didn’t want to look like a festive-wear brand but as a ceremonial-wear brand. In this case, ceremonies do not necessarily mean festivities. Most advertising of traditional-wear happens during the pre-Diwali phase, we are trying to build ourselves beyond that. There are a lot of celebrations that follow Diwali and hence this phase. Had we launched before Diwali, there was a possibility of the brand being considered a 'festivals' sort of a brand. It was a conscious decision to try and associate with celebrations and ceremonies and not just the festive season.”

The campaign also aims to change consumer perception about Raymond. “Raymond has also been associated as a brand slightly inclined towards mature consumers. It is now being directed towards the 30-35 year-olds in cities, who also have the propensity to spend and pick and choose between brands. We are also trying to delink the brand from the idea that it’s a brand for older consumers. This reflects in the choice of colours, designs and styles highlighted in the ad films, something that a younger generation would aspire to own and wear,” Saurabh signs off.

CREDIT LIST: Client: Raymond Limited

Ensemble: Raymond Design Studio

GREY Group India:

Creative: Vivek Bhambhani, Mangesh Kavale, Mehul Prajapati, Sandipan Bhattacharyya

Planning: Arun Raman

Client Servicing: Anand Ashar, Zaid Sayed, Yash Jain

Films (GREY WORKS): Samir Chadha

Director: Abhishek Kapoor

Producer: Annie Sukheswala, Akshay DondeProduction House: See-On

PR: Sonal Mehta

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