Shreyas Kulkarni

Xiaomi's ad for its new Mi trimmer features three of its employees and an Old Spicesque voice-over

Over four minutes long, the ad is a sign of how far DIY men's grooming has come.

Men's grooming took a big hit in the last four months. With salons shut, we saw our hair reach our ears and tingle our noses while beards grew unkempt like an uncared for lawn; it wasn't a pleasant experience. Despite the obvious situation, you didn't feel nice showing up with a face like that on those everyday Zoom calls with your boss.

Salons may have reopened now with all the necessary precautions, but many remain hesitant to visit them due to fear of the infection. It is because of this fear, the DIY men's grooming scene saw perhaps its biggest growth ever during the lockdown. Men, who aren't used to cutting hair or shaving their beards, took to online DIY grooming videos and soon ordered trimmers and shavers and blades and whatnot online to bolster their grooming regime.

As per Assocham, the Indian male grooming industry was at Rs 16, 800 crores in 2018 and was expected to touch Rs 35, 000 crores in the next three years; a sign of this once quiet segment's acceleration.

Yesterday (August 06, 2020), Xiaomi released the launch video for its Mi Beard Trimmer 1C that says it will bring your salon at home. After all, a well-kept beard is one of the most vital aspects of a man's grooming regime and considering the present situation, doing it at home is something many will prefer. What caught our eye, however, was the execution of the four-minute plus launch video.

For starters, the video featured three Xiaomi employees. Turns out, it's not the first time for the brand because the three guys in it are part of the 'Mi Beard Gang' who also featured in the 2019 launch video of the Mi Beard Trimmer. It works in Xiaomi's favour considering how social media-friendly Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi India MD is; he too appeared in the 2019 video.

Another aspect that caught our eye or, in this case, ear, was the voice-over at the start because it reminded us of the voice-over of Old Spice ads. Intrigued? Check.

Adding to these aspects, observe the first guy explain his methods of grooming, it is him grooming himself; the nod to DIY grooming taking root in our everyday lives. And of course, the three members of the Mi Beard Gang and their different personas:

Pallav Chikara, events, og and ip, Mi Brand: The one who favours, "mathematically precise instruments".

Abhishek Rana, offline sales: Representative of the, ".. Uber fashionable European Looks."

Akul Madhok, Product Marketing, Redmi Brand: "The most stylish, funky monkeys of them all."

Sumit Sonal, brand lead, Mi, Xiaomi India told us, "With grooming trends gaining considerable popularity among men in urban and semi-urban segments, the men’s grooming industry has witnessed a solid growth trajectory specially in the last quarter. Also interestingly, for our consumers, grooming isn't just about style, its a part of our their personalities. Keeping in mind our consumers’ evolving needs, our new product campaign showcases the new innovative Mi Beard Trimmer 1C. We hope Mi fans have as much fun watching the video as much as we had while making it."

Ananda Ray
Ananda Ray

Ananda Ray, creative head, Rediffusion, felt the film by Xiaomi is an interesting and brave attempt to promote the Mi Bread Trimmer 1C. He said, "A for Effort, in my mind, did not translate to A for Execution."

For him, the sets and costumes were interesting and eclectic and the employees who performed managed reasonably well. "However, the VO clearly had to do the heavy lifting It tried to infuse comedic drama to mostly dry writing; the lack of visual humour to complement the voice further let down the film."

He then told us that after a while, the voice, loud and without pause, felt like a drone you wish to switch off. Further, in all this talk, the core idea of the film - that we can be both customer and groomer - as well as the initial visual surprise of the 'double role' get buried and don't make a lasting impact.

The length doesn't help, either. As one segment closes, you are ready for the film to end and not hear yet another spiel about yet another set of features.

"This felt like a film that was derived from many disparate ideas, eventually doing justice to none, unfortunately," summed up the creative he

Prakhar Deogirikar
Prakhar Deogirikar

For Prakhar Deogirikar, creative head, What's Your Problem, "A video that runs for 4.5 minutes needs to have something really special. Unfortunately, this one did not. That said, I liked the attempt. It’s mildly funny, well-produced and decently written. The fact that they’ve used their own employees is a nice touch."

He then added, "I feel they set out to recreate some of the ‘old spice’ magic." And probably succeeded to some small extent. At least for the audience, they seem to be targeting. Just wish it was a little shorter!

Anupama Ramaswamy
Anupama Ramaswamy

Anupama Ramaswamy, NCD, Dentsu Impact, told us, "I find the execution pretty modern and new age. We are living with constraints and they seem to have made the most of the resources while still looking cool and premium. Having said that seems a bit long and boring."

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