Shreyas Kulkarni

Why touch the switch when you can say, "Alexa, switch on Wipro lights"?

As India embraces contactless habits, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting makes a case for smart lighting.

When you return home, the first thing you do is to reach for the switchboard to turn on the lights or the fan. It’s a reflex action so you don’t pay attention to it.

From doorknobs and floors to elevator buttons and switches, we’re obsessed with how sanitised they are lately. Germs, viruses and bacteria can settle on these surfaces and then spread to us if we touch them. Sanitisation has become sacrosanct.

We, however, can’t help but touch switches despite the awareness. Habits are hard to change. But, what if you don’t have to touch the switches because you can just turn the lights on, or off by using only your voice?

Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting has released a new ad about its touch-free lights, where we see a doctor and father (played by Sachin Khedekar) say, “Alexa, switch on Wipro lights” and the ‘smart’ lights are on. So, no need to touch the switches, which we all, including the doctor in the ad, do when we return home.

Sanjay Gupta, senior VP and business head, consumer lighting and switches, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, told afaqs! that it (Wipro) wouldn’t have released the ad in normal times, but today, we live in `abnormal’ times. He said that these days, “… We’re really scared of touching anything” and here’s a product which is very relevant now because we could control the light using voice and mobile app (an earlier ad showcased the use of an app to control Wipro lights).

Sanjay Gupta
Sanjay Gupta

Gupta says that his company decided to go for a doctor in the ad because it wanted to thank the healthcare community for the work it has been doing over the past 6-7 months. “… it’s a tribute and thanks.”

Referring to the smart lights, he said, “Earlier, we were talking about convenience. Now, we are talking about its safety aspect.”

Unfortunately, most Indian homes are unfamiliar with smart lighting. So it’s a challenge for Wipro, who’ve had to educate consumers. “Currently, the penetration of smart lighting is very low. But, people are becoming aware of it,” says Gupta.

We wondered if the contactless aspect of smart lights pits the brand against surface disinfectant brands. Gupta’s response, “Yes, you can say that.”

On the core target audience, he revealed, “They’re in the age group of 30-40 and understand technology.” Speaking about sales, he said that 90 per cent of Wipro sales come from e-commerce and metros… “Bengaluru is our largest market, followed by Hyderabad. Then it is Mumbai and Pune. Surprisingly, we’ve been getting very good response from cities like Ludhiana, Kanpur, Lucknow and Indore…”

“The overall trail rate has been much better than what we thought and now we’ve been selling the product for two years… What we’re selling is more than we thought we would,” Gupta says.

Nikhil Narayanan, creative director, Ogilvy, told us that the brief from Wipro was, “One less touch is better."

Nikhil Narayanan
Nikhil Narayanan

Doctors are on the top of the list of frontline workers at risk. Ogilvy decided to work around a doctor. Said Narayanan, “The character we’ve used to portray is extremely considerate about people around him. Subliminally, we have tried to plug in the message that he’s a single father and single fathers are rare in Indian advertising.”

“He knows he’s late and doesn’t want to wake anybody up… You can see him instinctively reach out for the light when he realises, `I’ve come from outside and I shouldn’t be touching this.’ That’s when our product makes its entry.”

After taking a bath, he doesn’t want to disturb anybody. He’s seen looking around the kitchen cabinet for some snacks. His daughter is like him. She’s also concerned about his well-being, waited for him and she does the second interaction… “They only have each other,” says Narayanan.

Giving his take on the ad was Santosh Padhi, co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot Dentsu.

Santosh Padhi
Santosh Padhi

It’s a simple film, well-produced and with good casting. I loved the blend of new-age product/feature being well weaved in an emotional story. I loved the way the daughter is being portrayed here. Overall, it's a nice film.

I would have loved to see a normal father-daughter story, rather than a doctor, who is being overused these days… Doctor after doctor ad appearing on the screen one after another… In fact, the story would have been equally powerful if it was a father from another profession as we all are health-conscious.

Spelling out the brand name before the light when they are instructing Alexa looked forced. I would have preferred to show the brand name visually on the light...

Satbir Singh, founder and chief creative officer, Thinkstr told us:

Satbir Singh
Satbir Singh

It’s a cute little film, very topical and keeps my attention. I feel a couple of seconds on the product would’ve helped. Just a bulb/complete assembly/what about the switch/starting price, perhaps some more information would swing the deal faster.


Agency: Brand David, Bengaluru

Production House: Hungry Films

Director: Mahesh Gharat

Producer: Dharam Valia, Vijay Sawant

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