Anirban Roy Choudhury

When P&G got YouTuber Lilly Singh to endorse Pantene online

Titled #TelKoTelLagao, the campaign looks to replace good ol' hair oil.

If you are one of the 12 million YouTube subscribers to 'Superwoman' Lilly Singh's channel, then you must be aware of her '5 ways your parents drive you insane' and 'Lilly's Mom vs Lilly' videos. Her hilarious videos have over billion views collectively and one of those viewers must be the brand manager at Procter & Gamble (P&G).

When P&G got YouTuber Lilly Singh to endorse Pantene online
Lilly Singh's video for Pantene

The fast-moving consumer goods brand, for its product 'Pantene Pro-V oil replacement', got fussy Lilly cribbing about the hassling task of oiling her hair. At the same time, her mother (also Lilly in different garb) calls her lazy and says it's a very simple task in which she needs to waste a t-shirt, carry an air freshener, not lean against walls, make sure nothing sticks to her hair and, most importantly, not go out of the house the whole day as it might kill a probable marriage proposal.

Next shot: she grabs her hair and pulls at it like any other hair product ambassador and introduces the new Pantene product - Pantene Pro-V oil replacement. In a typical Lilly vs Lilly's Mom scenario, YouTube's famous 'Superwoman' makes oiling look like the worst thing a girl has to undergo for great hair. The Lilly vs Lilly's Mom video ends with the YouTuber saying 'Tel ko Tel lagao'.

When P&G got YouTuber Lilly Singh to endorse Pantene online
The same product is endorsed by Priyanka Chopra on TV

What is Pantene Pro-V oil replacement? It's a cream and not oil. Lilly claims this product reduces the hassle of oiling and makes hair 2-3 times stronger. But it's Pantene; what happened to Priyanka Chopra? What is 'Superwoman' doing in 'Mary Kom's' territory?

Last December, the 'Quantico' star was seen with Lilly Singh in one of her online videos. The video showcases Chopra and Singh conversing over drinks at a bar where the former is upset and whining about a break-up while the latter plays 'wing-man' as they hit on guys. However unbelievable the content of the video might be, it got over seven million views and a year later the duo are endorsing the same brand. We were informed by the brand, however, that Priyanka Chopra remains the global brand ambassador of Pantene whereas Lilly Singh has been roped in for this particular product only.

The 62-second-long film is primarily conceptualised for digital and has already fetched 1.4 million YouTube views on 'ThePanteneIndia', the brand's official YouTube channel for India.

While watching the film, apart from Lilly's comedic routine, the other thing that will get your attention is the "Order now on Nykaa" popup that features at the end of the video and is also voiced by the YouTuber. Nykaa is an e-commerce platform founded by banker-turned-beauty entrepreneur, Falguni Nayar. The site sells fashion products online and two varieties of the Pantene Pro-V oil replacement are now listed - the 80ml package priced at Rs 85 and 150ml for Rs 150.

What made a brand appoint two brand ambassadors? Why did they decide to rope in a digital sensation to do the glossy hair-pulling shots despite having a youth icon like Priyanka Chopra on board? Is this a sign of changing times? Has the brand managed to successfully communicate their message through comedy or is it just another 'Superwoman' video? We asked our experts all these questions and here's what they say:-

Nikita Khandelwal, senior manager brand strategy and development, World Wide Open (a Mumbai based digital agency from the stables of Reliance Entertainment)

When P&G got YouTuber Lilly Singh to endorse Pantene online

Nikita KhandelwalI think it's a very smart move by the brand to have them both as it's clear that Lilly is an online sensation and is capable of generating worthy conversations, given her digital equity. I noted some of the comments while watching the ad that read that viewers were on Pantene's page/ channel only for Lilly and that they love her etc. This just goes on to prove that the brand made an apt choice of casting her for online audiences who were made aware of their new product via 'Brand Lilly'. On the other hand, Priyanka Chopra, being a global star, is looked upon by millions and how she looks and what she does is aspirational for many girls. And to this audience, if the Pantene product is good enough for Priyanka, it is good enough for them. Given the mass reach of TV and Priyanka's fan following, there are enough eyeballs for the brand's new product.

We live in the digital world and here influencers are the showrunners. Bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, Twitterati et al have more power than ever before. Interaction with them for their followers is a daily occurrence and these online celebrities are often more accessible to the audiences than other mainstream celebs. With the boom of social media, the first place we go to find out reviews of a product etc. is online and hence, it makes sense to already have social media spokespeople raving about your brand/ product.

Note that the product is not a shampoo or oil. It is a 'leave-in' cream that's being positioned as a replacement for regular 'tel'. The belief that hair oil application is good for women is a very traditional Indian truism. This is a 'hybrid', niche, premium type of product message. Does the choice of ambassador work?

Considering the product serves as a replacement for oiling, it tactfully brings out the hassles of oiling hair with a funny spin. Above that, it taps into Lilly's talent and what she's best known for, to market the product. Even if the concept was built to leverage Lilly's strengths, the concept and Lilly's humour seems like a good marriage for the desired effect on audiences.

Satbir Singh, founder and chief creative officer, Thinkstr

When P&G got YouTuber Lilly Singh to endorse Pantene online

Satbir SinghLilly Singh is an online sensation with a massive YouTube following of some 12 million. Forbes ranks her as the top entertainer influencer. I've seen most of her videos thanks to my teenage daughter who also has her book, by the way. She probably knows more about her than she does Priyanka.

When you consider all this, you figure she is a great choice for connecting with the younger, always-online audience. More so for a new-ish product which may be a behaviour-changing product for traditional audiences. And I think they've nailed it with the mother-daughter creative as well.

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