Shreyas Kulkarni

Will you wear shoes made out of wool?

Well, that's what Neeman's wants you to do. And to get you to do that, it has got comic Vir Das in its digital ad.

Neeman’s is a shoe company. And in India, where there are countless brands in the segment already, it can be tough to differentiate yourself from the others. People might even end up confusing you for someone else.

But, this brand has ensured it’s able to stand apart. It aims to bring you shoes made of Australian Merino wool, a product most Indian shoe buyers may not be aware of or have even considered.

And to add another level of difference, for its digital ad, Neeman’s brought on board stand-up comic Vir Das. The ad which is a two and a half minute long is quite interesting. Das goes along his talking about the shoes while mentioning some interesting witty statements and some sharp innuendos; a clear differentiator from the run-of-the-mill shoe ads.

For starters, Vir Das taking the mickey out of dull shoe ads and sets the tone and pace for the ad. Had it been like the ads Das parodied, it would have gone against him and the product?

Will you wear shoes made out of wool?

Another interesting aspect of the ad was when a sock bandit (a guy masquerading as a sock) attacks him. Never seen before and does the trick. Why? Well, since Neeman’s shoes are made of Australian Merino wool which is warm and cool, you can wear it without socks as well. And let’s face it, India’s hot summer does often have many shoes to reek of bad odour.

And lastly, there’s mention of the shoe being environment-friendly. What’s interesting about this part of the ad is because it takes a potshot at those armchair activists who feed off social media and live vicariously through the brand.

The ad is about promoting wool or Australian Merino wool, in this case, as the go-to choice. On the Neeman’s website, it mentions, “Wool gets a bad rep for being itchy, heavy and uncomfortable – but the Merino Wool that goes into our shoes is soft as silk and fine as a feather. This ultra-fine wool is ridiculously soft, so our shoes feel more like a second skin. You might even forget you’re wearing shoes at all.”

And it also says, “Our Merino Wool shoes are built to survive even in extreme weather conditions. The lightweight and breathable material can keep the wearer cool during hot weather and warm during the Winter season.”

While seeing the ad, we, for a moment, recalled Sapan Verma of East India Comedy fame who featured in an ICICI Bank. Unfortunately, we saw Verma the brand ambassador and not the stand-up comic we were so accustomed to and the ad didn’t seem to pack enough punch.

It seems stand-up comics who’re also influencers are becoming or have become the go-to choice for many brands. After all, their online following goes in the millions and their connection with the audience often helps push consumer behaviour.