A look at the long-format film crafted by Brandmovers India.
"Have you got the desire to achieve a lifestyle of freedom, luxury, rewards, and professional recognition? Do you dream of having your own successful business?" - Well, who doesn't!
This and much more is what you will read on Swedish cosmetics giant Oriflame's website. The company has been in the market for about fifty years now. They entered the Indian market in 1996 as a direct seller and operate on a multi-level marketing model.
But we are not going to discuss the company's sprawling business in over sixty countries; instead, what caught our eyes was the brand's latest digital film featuring the recently appointed brand ambassador, Kalki Koechlin. The film which goes with the hashtag, '#beautifulchange' has been conceptualised by Brandmovers India and the video urges viewers to bring about a 'beautiful change' around them no matter how big or small it might be. This film is the brand's second outing into the digital space with the first one being 'Super Woman' which was released earlier this year on the occasion of Women's Day.
In times when Facebook India and South Asia's erstwhile managing director Umang Bedi, is saying that "Bite-sized content is the way to go", what could have possibly been the idea behind crafting a video that stretches close to seven minutes? We got in touch with Adrijaa Sanyal, creative director, Brandmovers India, to understand how she planned to engage audiences with this long video when the attention span of viewers is decreasing at an increasing rate. She explains, "The only creative constant in this world are stories. Mediums have changed and times are different, but a good story never goes unheard. The thing is, we never thought of this film as 'interesting content', so to speak, but as a story that had to be told. Luckily for us, we had Kalki (Koechlin) on board and we knew that it couldn't get any better. Like I said, a good story never goes unheard and we had a great one to tell."
Speaking about the challenges faced while developing a digital film for a direct seller brand like Oriflame, Sanyal says, "It was more interesting than challenging to create something for Oriflame. Contrary to how it would've been for any other cosmetic brand, here the focus was not entirely on products but a lifestyle that the brand has to offer. Our objective was to create a character that personified the brand and inspired consumers to find that person within themselves - that was our only challenge. So yes, as challenging as it may or may not have been, it certainly was a storyteller's dream."
Oriflame has not been a major player in ad land and rightly so because it operates in networks and does not need the ad route to reach its market. Other market players like 'Avon' have also maintained an arm's length from mainstream advertising.
All gloss and no substance?
In the film which lasts for about seven minutes, Oriflame products make a single blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance. Interestingly, the first comment on the brand's YouTube page is from a person enquiring about the process through which he/ she can get the products delivered. Despite being in the Indian market for over 20 years, many are still unaware about the manner in which the company operates. And just like that a question comes to mind - In times when disposable income is enjoying a higher proportion of an individual's salary and when there remains a great deal of the Indian population outside the purview of a direct sale company's customer list; can a brand afford to bypass the 'informative ad' and directly land on the concept-heavy ad?
Vibha Desai, director, Vibha Desai Consulting, tells us that the video will leave new users "cold". She explains, "There is a pretty strong Oriflame community where women sell products through friends and relatives and with this ad it seems that their strategy is to reinforce the existing channels of distribution and not to go in for new ones. A major problem with this ad is that it doesn't really link itself to the brand. They have not weaved Oriflame into it at all."
Not impressed with the oft-repeated theme, Desai declares Koechlin's performance to be the "only good thing about this ad". She adds, "Despite being visually pleasing, it is a clichéd rendition of a reasonably well-acted film. It is a bit too long and it neither portrays any heavy drama nor is it a breakthrough ad. I think they should have wrapped it up in one and a half minutes. It's not worth seven minutes. No one today has this much time online or offline on any medium of advertising. Even the scriptwriting is not up to the mark. "
On the other hand, Mayuresh Dubhashi, executive creative director, GREY group India, is all praise for the film. He says, "It's a good-looking piece of content. There's emotion at the core which works well with Indian audiences. It will help the brand in the long term particularly when the communication idea isn't there just for cosmetic reasons (no pun intended)!"
Rahul Mathew, national creative director, DDBMudra Group, is not too pleased with the storyline. He explains, "The storyline is a little predictable. You expect Kalki (Koechlin) to teach the little girl and then you're just waiting impatiently to be proven right. They've used some right ingredients. Koechlin has been associated with some strong women-oriented content; it's just that they didn't manage to come up with something that'll be greedily devoured by the consumers. It's not the length of the content or the lack of it that matters; what matters is how engaging it is."
Speaking about the marketing side of affairs, he elaborates, "Today the consumer isn't looking to ads to learn more about products, especially for beauty products. What communication can do is create intrigue or a strong emotion for them to associate with. So I wouldn't question the approach. What I would question, however, is the strength of the emotion. It has to be strong enough for me to want to learn more about the brand and its products."
Agency : Brandmovers India
Managing director and Chief Creative Officer: Suvajyoti Ghosh
Creative Director: Adrijaa Sanyal
Script and screenplay: Adrijaa Sanyal
Social Media: Gauri Shirur, Dyuti Banerjee, Sreya Bose