Benita Chacko

"Unlike regular diaper ads, we wanted to make the mother the hero": Nobel Hygiene's Kartik Johari on Snuggy ad

The VP - marketing and commerce, Nobel Hygeine says the existing ads in the category put additional pressure on the mom to be the ideal provider.

As we see a woman commanding a snake boat in Kerala’s backwaters urging the oarsmen to row faster, the least we are expecting this to be is a baby diaper ad. In a category that shows cute babies, concerned mothers and feather-soft diapers in their communications, a humourous take on a mother returning home on a snake boat to change her baby’s diaper is new and instantly attention-grabbing.

The ad for Snuggy Gold Pant-Style Diapers, Nobel Hygiene’s new flagship product, is a part of the brand’s relaunch after it was acquired from Godrej group in 2018. It is a quirky take on one of key product features- The Susu Meter or the wetness indicator strip - which runs along the diaper and changes from yellow to blue to indicate when it is time for a change.

Kartik Johari
Kartik Johari

Kartik Johari, VP - marketing and commerce, Nobel Hygiene, says the existing communications in the baby diapers category puts additional pressure on the mom to be the ideal provider. Through this ad the brand wanted to make the mother the hero of the communication.

“A woman's life in India is hard enough, and it just compounds as a mother. The existing communications are not doing the mother any favours. It's all in the same zone of a very clean house, no dirty counters, baby’s skin, etc. No one talks about how the product is genuinely helping the mother. We believe that this innovation with the indicator provides direct value to a mother's life. So we decided to create a communication that heroes it and also the mother,” he says.

Through the ad, the first from the brand, intends to establish an alternate narrative that a mother's life is not always wrapped around the baby.

“Clearly the mother had some other task and she's on her way back home. As the old adage says you need a village to raise a child. There are other caretakers also in the home. A mother faces undue stress today because of the pressure created in society that a mother is the only one responsible for taking care of the child. We didn’t want to put more pressure onto the mom saying this is the visual to live by or this is the life that your baby should have,” he adds.

Nobel Hygiene produces another diaper brand named Teddyy that already has the wetness indicator feature. But it lacked awareness.

“The feature has been a standard part of all our products for the past decade. We were the first to have bought it uniformly across the category, a decade ago. We feel it adds the most value to a mother’s life. But we realised that mothers are not aware of it. So we decided to make this feature the hero,” he says.

"Unlike regular diaper ads, we wanted to make the mother the hero": Nobel Hygiene's Kartik Johari on Snuggy ad

Launched in 1987 by renowned film producer R ‘GoodKnight’ Mohan, Snuggy Diapers was the country’s first Indian baby diaper brand. It was later acquired by the Godrej group, and eventually by Nobel Hygiene on June 30, 2018. Due to its link to Kerala, the film has been shot in the state. Apart from Hindi, the only other language it is available in is Malayalam. The brand will also be running a campaign featuring more than 25 Kerala-based influencers on its digital platforms.

“We wanted the ethos of the entire creative to be firmly based in Kerala and what could be more apt than the iconic boat races. Where else to relaunch an iconic Keralite brand than Kerala itself.

For now, the ad is only targeting the Kerala market. We will also be taking the ad to a few more states. Consequently, it will be dubbed in those regional languages later,” he explains.

The challenges of creating the ad keeps the brand away from creating original ads for the other languages.

“The more languages that we want to shoot natively in, the more days we have to dedicate to just getting that one thing right. It's much easier when you have a normal set within four walls. There can be alternate actors coming in immediately to get multiple edits. But these options are not available on a boat,” he says.

Since its acquisition by Nobel Hygiene in 2018, Snuggy has grown nearly 10x its historical value. The brand presently has two variants – Premium and Regular – in both pant and tape- styles. But with the third ‘Snuggy Gold Pant-Style Diapers’, the ultra premium variant, the brand has attempted a relaunch. It will also be advertising on television from April onwards.

In the Rs 9000-crore baby diaper market in the country, Snuggy holds around one per cent market share. The market is largely ruled by P&G’s Pampers and Japanese company Unicharm’s Mamy Poko. It is available across the country and is available through both online and offline channels.

Johari says it's an extremely turbulent time to be in the baby diaper market.

“Especially after the pandemic, everyone has woken up to the realisation that a diaper is an essential product. So other brand owners have suddenly awoken to this entire new possibility that if we have baby products, we should definitely make and sell diapers,” he says.

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