Aishwarya Ramesh

Voltas Beko releases India's first dishwasher ad, shot in lockdown

The ad by Wunderman Thompson is shot entirely in lockdown, and talks about relieving people of household duties with the help of dishwashers.

Housework is the new reality of the Coronavirus pandemic. It includes the chore that was previously largely relegated to maids – dishwashing. Voltbek Home Appliances Private Limited, a JV between the Indian AC brand Voltas and European consumer durables company Arçelik, has launched a new digital video commercial (DVC). Its intention is to showcase a new range of dishwashers, and how they can be used during lockdown.

The video, conceptualised by Wunderman Thompson, showcases another reality of lockdown – a group of friends on a video call, ranting about their professional workload, husbands and housework.

Technology helped produce this film and bring it together while still being under lockdown. It was shot on the actors’ own phones, with the director calling the shots over a video call.

Jayant Balan, SVP and CEO, Voltas Beko, says that due to the lockdown in several parts of the country, there were some obvious logistical and social distancing restrictions. It meant that the video had to be shot individually at every actor’s house, with extreme guidance from the director bringing this whole thing to fruition.

Balan explains that due to COVID-19 restrictions, there has been additional burden of domestic chores, and it put a lot of pressure on families, especially when most members are busy working-from-home and managing additional responsibilities. "The pandemic forced the world to stay home. So in this ad, we focused on our target audience – the urban Indian mom," he added.

Jayant Balan
Jayant Balan

"We wanted to create a piece of relevant content portraying how families are adjusting to the ‘new normal’ by delegating the time-consuming household chores to modern technology, like dishwashers. Considering the scenario, we wanted to present a solution to this major problem faced by most families in a humorous manner," says Balan.

The film is based on a consumer insight – as consumers, we tend to trust our friends and loved ones when it comes to finding solutions to everyday problems. In the video, the friends are seen discussing lockdown concerns that include how to wash dishes in the easiest possible way. It's a question that households across the country seem to be asking, as they try to strike a balance between work and home.

Balan says that the insight is based on the fact that young mothers depend on other young mothers for advice about everything. "During lockdown and unlock restrictions thereafter, these conversations are happening over video calls. Hence, the need to have authenticity dictated the format and duration of the film."

He also explains that while there is an increasing focus on going digital, touch and feel will continue to be an important factor in decision-making when it comes to consumer durables. "The offline experience will stay. Our organised trade partners and retailers are already operational, although in a limited manner," Balan says, while talking about the marketing challenges of the lockdown.

For customers who are still unsure of visiting the stores, Balan claims that they have sufficient product information, in the form of product demo videos, feature specifications, etc., on the website and digital platforms. "We have also made this information accessible to our audience through our media partners. You will also see us digitally enabling the after-sales service initiatives through online content," he says.

He adds that the company is also looking forward to working with media houses to drive engagement programs. This could include identifying homes that need dishwashers, and coming up with solutions to solve that problem. "There are multiple ways in which we are trying to relook at marketing in the post-COVID era, which is primarily driven by digital," Balan elucidates.

The next part of the plan, he says, is that once it is safe to resume, Voltas Beko will continue rolling out various marketing campaigns at the local and national level, while ensuring all guidelines of social distancing are being followed effectively.

Balan is of the opinion that social distancing is bound to remain as the new norm, in the post-lockdown world, because of which there will be a considerable shift in marketing budgets. "With reduced commute time, more people have the time to consume content and do intensive research online for consumer durables. Digital spends will go up as more people end up searching, and making purchases, online," he concludes.

Speaking about the campaign, Prasenjit Basu, marketing head, Voltas Beko, said, “We have witnessed a significant spike in demand for both our table top and full-size dishwashers in the last two months. Some of the features, like the dirt sensor, aqua intense and corner intense technology, can effectively wash heavily soiled utensils, catering to the cooking and food habits of the Indian consumers.”

The film is currently running on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook handles of Voltas Beko. Here are some vintage ads from the past that illustrate how dishwashers have always been sold and marketed to women working in the kitchen.

Vintage ad of Hotpoint dishwashers
1953 print ad for dishwasher
1950 dishwasher ad
1950 Mallory dishwasher ad
1968 Christmas ad for dishwashers

Agency credits:

· Creative Agency: Wunderman Thompson, Delhi

· Managing Partner & Sr. VP: Joy Chauhan

· CCO: Senthil Kumar

· Creative Team: Siddharth Prasad, Malini Patnaik

· Servicing Lead: Charu Bhatnagar

· Account Management: Rahul K Singh, Drishti Ganguly

· Planning: Pinaki Bhattacharya, Nikhil Thakkar

· Production House: Small Fry

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