Aishwarya Ramesh

What exactly is Anil Kapoor doing in this Ariel ad?

TV ads featuring the Bollywood actor and print ads with chef Sanjeev Kapoor reiterating Ariel's efficacy as a stain removal agent.

Ariel's new ad has Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor ruing food stains from Indian cuisine on his clothes. It also features a zoomed in view of the stains and a graphic breakdown of how Ariel can remove (the said) stubborn stains from the clothes.

The ad begs the question - what exactly is Kapoor doing? What is his role in this ad film, other than that of a food connoisseur?

It seems unclear, but his role appears to be to get the conversation going. The ad is a hard-sell of Ariel's core product proposition, and the product being advertised for is Ariel's detergent powder.

We see no women in the ad, other than a model in glasses and a lab coat. There are no references to Ariel's iconic ‘Share the Load’ campaign, which championed for gender equality and equal distribution of household chores.

In the field of celebrity endorsement, Kapoor is not the only celebrity that Ariel has been working with. The brand has also been taking out print ads in English newspapers across India, including Times of India, and Hindustan Times. The print ads prominently feature celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, endorsing the product.

What exactly is Anil Kapoor doing in this Ariel ad?

A few years ago, Ariel had also done a series of ads with Sanjeev Kapoor for the liquid detergent variant of products.

The print ads, and the ones featuring Anil Kapoor, are running side-by-side. The emphasis seems to be on the efficacy of the detergent, rather than to portray the brand as a champion of gender equality and to stand for the cause of equal distribution of household chores.

Since India's nationwide lockdown began, Ariel has also been using social media, such as Instagram and TikTok, to create new iterations of its ‘Share the Load’ campaign on the platform.


Aap bhi karo family ke saath ##ArielShareTheLoad @ariel.india 😁

♬ Ariel Share The Load - Pranay Rijia

Vishal Nicholas, senior VP and head – planning, Dentsu India, doesn’t agree that Ariel has retired the ‘Share the Load’ message yet with either of these communication. “There should be many aces up any brand’s sleeve, and it is up to the brand custodians to know when to play the right card,” he says.

Vishal Nicholas
Vishal Nicholas

Nicholas explains that sometimes, people want their detergent brand to shine the light on gender equality. But sometimes, all people want from their detergent brand is to remove stains, especially when they’ve just spilled their favourite food on their clothes.

“I guess, this is a case of the latter. However, on closer inspection, it seems that the intent is to launch the new Ariel with the benefit of ‘stain removal in 1 wash only.’ 1 wash, being the operative benefit. Unfortunately, a viewer might not comb through the ad to discern the 1 wash benefit and it will be misconstrued as a generic stain removal ad,” he mentions.

When it comes to using the celebrity chef, Nicholas explains that it makes sense to do so as they are prone to the occupational hazards of spilled food/ingredient stains and a chef’s uniform is a good test of a detergent.

“A celeb chef like Sanjeev Kapoor probably makes it even more interesting, but the need of a celeb like Anil Kapoor is unclear. If he was known for being a foodie, it might have made sense. But, he is known for his discipline in fitness and diet over the last few years. So, it’s a little puzzling,” he says.

On using Sanjeev Kapoor versus using Anil Kapoor as a brand ambassador, Abhik Santara, founder of ^Atom network - a digital first agency, points out that the former is more of a niche celebrity who will be recognised by few. The latter is a more ‘massy’ actor who will be more widely recognised by virtue of the movies he has done.

Abhik Santara
Abhik Santara

Santara who has previously worked with JWT, Mullen Lowe Lintas, and Ogilvy Mumbai and Kolkata points out that Anil Kapoor as a celebrity brand endorser is one who is not being used by multiple brands. “They’re putting a spin on the tried and tested narrative of stain removal by entering the story of the stain in a different way – through Anil Kapoor’s love for food,” he explains.

He opines that it’s a good use of a male celeb who is new in this category, and draws parallels with Amitabh Bachchan’s ad for Ghadi detergent, which also takes place in a lab, with a scientist explaining the benefits of the detergent to the veteran actor.

“The way they’ve used the male celebrity here is interesting because normally in detergent ads, we see scientists/lab specialists speaking to the concerned housewife/working woman. It’s a subconscious effort to show a male protagonist in this ad. This could be their way of steering away from stereotypes of women doing the housework and by extension, washing clothes,” says Santara.

He explains that with this ad, Ariel is reiterating its product benefit, and that this is a rational and tactical way of selling a product - by reminding viewers of its advantages.

"This is a tried and tested narrative, it’s just that we're taking a new entry to the stain itself. You have to keep in mind that Indian food does stain clothes pretty badly (owing to ingredients like ghee, turmeric, etc.) and it’s hard to get off. So, they're not too far off the mark when they talk about ‘sarson ka saag’ and other similar Indian dishes," he concludes.


Studio: F9 post

Founder & Creative Head Animation: Nitesh Patil

Creative Director Animation: Abhijeet Shrotri

Studio Manager: Siddhesh Ramane

Line Producer: Amit Kareker

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