The brand team integrates LG's products into a long-form film, a father-daughter story. We spoke to Amit Gujral, CMO, LG India, about the effort.
Do you remember LG Electronics' Astronaut ad film released last year as part of the brand's 20 year anniversary celebrations? The heart-touching video showed a single mother going through her struggles in life to fulfil her daughter's dream of becoming an astronaut. The song in the film, "Ghar ke bas samaan nahi, yeh rishton ki poonji hai," depicted just how close the brand is to the audience's heart.
Once again the brand has launched a long-format film that coincides with LG's 21st anniversary in India where it further steps up efforts to design and manufacture innovative products and solutions that satisfy the specific requirements of consumers.
In 2018, the theme for LG is 'Celebrating the New'. The over four-and-a-half minute long video - LG Innovation Story - is a fresh take on every lifestyle dynamic of parent-child relationships in India and how one common thing in our lives passes from generation to generation. The brand attempts to capture this philosophy as a journey of "innovation" from one generation to another in the video.
Interestingly, every time we interview a marketer, we learn the same thing - modern day consumers, especially netizens, don't have patience i.e. attention spans are dwindling and they don't prefer to watch long-format creatives/ ad films unless they actually want to see the ad. In such a scenario we were curious to find out just what gave the brand the confidence to go ahead with a long-format film.
"LG's 20th-anniversary ad film went on to become India's most watched video in its category with more than 104 million views. This resulted in its trending at the No.1 spot on the YouTube leaderboard as well. This was testimony to how people receive and relate to relevant content despite it being 3.54 minutes long. Such a success was certainly a motivation to reach out to people one more time with a story which they can relate to. Thus, for the 21st anniversary of LG, we came up with the new video under our theme of the year - #CelebratingtheNew," says Amit Gujral, head corporate marketing, LG Electronics India.
"It's one of our brand stories which relates to how 'Innovation for a better life' and 'Learning from You', as our brand themes, are depicted in the video," Gujral adds.
The format of a touching family tale (estranged relationships in a family and people coming together for a product in some way) is quite passé. Still, the brand chose to have a narrative that depicts the story of a father and his teenage daughter where the former innocently surrenders to his daughter to overcome a challenge from his youth, since the objective was to establish an emotional relationship. Flagship models of the brand are strategically positioned throughout the story - the father is watching a programme on an LG Smart TV, but the daughter switches to a mathematics lesson with a voice command; the mother hands a glass of water to her husband from an LG Water Purifier and similarly, an LG Insta View refrigerator is also integrated in the most natural way for showcasing daily usage. There is even an LG laptop and air purifier thrown into the mix.
"We have selected flagship technology products which fit into the story; the aim was not to force fit them, but to have products which gel with the story, as in a real-life scenario," informs Gujral.
The campaign was launched on digital and social platforms. In addition to this, LG plans to explore all the media vehicles which are important to deliver experiential and emotional consumer connects.
Banking upon the extensive reach that the brand has across the country, LG is being very bullish and targeting 10 per cent (approx.) overall growth in 2018.
"Our marketing communication strategy is in-line with what current-age consumers are looking up to. The three pillars of marketing shall be - Experiential, Emotional and Digital. We have initiated a unique experiential programme called - 'Free Home Demo'. To experience our premium range of products, customers can get the products installed in their homes for a period of 5-7 days free of cost and basis their experience, they can purchase the product. This unique initiative has been very successful and we are expanding it further," informs Gujral.
Conceptualised and created by HS Ad (the creative team comprising of Ambar Sharan Lal - GM Servicing, Rakesh Kumar - Sr. creative director, Rajat Mukherjee - national creative director, and Arabinda Khearu - creative supervisor), the ad has been produced by Listening Post.
Talking about the challenges and whether it was tough for the agency to show the products so quickly during the video, Mukherjee says, "There is always this tussle between products and the story. Too much of product takes away from 'organic storytelling'; too little, however, makes it a very generic story with less brand connect. Both, the agency and the client, were very clear right from the start that the products should not interfere in the storytelling, but be a part of the narrative. The overall feeling should be overwhelming at the end of the film with an emotional rub-off on brand LG."
Striking a chord?
We asked the experts if the subtle branding, in a brand film like this, is a smart move or has the brand made a brave choice.
According to Tamanna Virmani, AVP and senior creative director - ADK Fortune, LG has always been perceived as the 'Foreign Indian' brand and its advertising has been warm and friendly. Celebrating 21 years with an emotional father-daughter story and plugging in the products seamlessly is a smart strategic move as we Indians love emotional stories and that's what this film offers and that too, in abundance.
She, however, maintains, "The story is emotional, but not out-of-the-box. Though the story has mass appeal, it neither makes one nostalgic nor leaves behind a powerful message. The celebratory message of 21 years got lost somewhere."
Ronita Mitra, former senior vice president and head of brand, media, digital and consumer insights at Vodafone, who recently launched a strategic marketing consultancy firm, Brand Eagle, feels that the storyline of the film is engaging and memorable which 'will cut across audiences as these values are universal in their relevance'. However, she also believes that being a brand film, the objective of the film needs to be an 'expression of what the brand stands for' and that is not very clear.
"Since this is a master brand film, the attempt is to communicate the values and identity of brand LG at a broader level. In that sense, it is communicating that LG is a part of close relationships and stands for innovation while the role LG has played in creating successful outcomes out of these relationships, is weak. And so is its claim of innovation. The products are visible throughout the communication; it's the linkage and integration with the values, however, that is not communicated powerfully enough," she says.