Deepashree Banerjee

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

The film markets a product that combines oats and chocolate.

With the millennials verbalising themselves through emojis and animation being just as popular today as it was decades ago, the collaboration between the ad industry and the limitless world of animation is one of great merit. The recently launched animated film by Britannia NutriChoice only strengthens these ties.

Conceptualised by J Walter Thompson Bangalore, this Hollywood-esque, trailer-like digital film features the romantic meet cute and coupling of the two characters - 'oats' and 'chocolate' - to launch its new variety Oats Chocolate and Almond Cookies.

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

Britannia NutriChoice launches a new trailer-like digital film titled #WhenOatsMetChocolate

It seems like lots of brands and agencies are turning to animation to drive home the product/ services sentiment and we at afaqs! decided to dig a little deeper to get more insight into this trend.

Interestingly, a FICCI-KPMG report dated last year showcases that the animation and VFX industry in India has been growing at a speedy pace. The estimated size of this industry was expected to be around Rs 6,000 crore in 2016, with a growth of 16.4 per cent during the year. Out of this, the animation industry in the country was estimated to be Rs 1,500 crore, growing at a steady growth rate of 9 per cent.

Advertising, along with television and films, is said to be one of the biggest contributors to the growth of the animation industry as the three of them together account for 85 per cent of the total animation services turnover in India. With digital advertising coming into the picture, it is seeing a lot more contribution to the animation service pie.

According to recent reports, the animation and VFX industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.2 per cent over 2017-21 to reach a size of INR 131.7 billion.

Ali Harris Shere, VP-Marketing, Britannia Industries Ltd. tells us that NutriChoice has been working on developing this product concept for quite some time now and both have undergone a fair amount of changes on the basis of the consumer researches the brand conducted

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

Ali Harris Shere

"In all the concept and product research that we conducted on this product, one thing stood out - every respondent was very curious about the coming together of these two disparate ingredients viz. Oats and Chocolate. We decided to play this up in an interesting and engaging manner, especially on digital. While TV was assigned to do the job of awareness creation, we earmarked digital as the medium that creates curiosity for this unusual combination through content that is genuinely unique and engaging," Shere says.

Shere believes this 'trailer', created by JWT, is clutter-breaking and has some wonderful attention hooks that will make you want to watch the full video and, in the end, it will make you smile.

"This trailer will be followed with more such interesting and engaging content, building on the characters of Oats and Chocolate," he further shares.

With regards to the TG, Shere explains that typically, the NutriChoice consumer is well aware of the need to start/ stay healthy, but is unable to stay the course because adopting health is not very easy. "They are always on the look-out for something that will make health more appealing for them to adapt," he adds.

"There are two key barriers that any health brand consistently tries to break - Adoption into Category and Retention within Category. The Oats Cookies range tries to break both these barriers with the unique proposition of health and taste. They offer the promise of health through Oats that's designed to drive adoption of the category and aims to retain a majority of the entrants by the appeal of the tasty ingredients like Chocolate, in this case," Shere continues.

However, some challenges continue to plague the animation and VFX industry. Most prominent of these being that animation in India is still perceived as a kid's category, unlike in the US, where adults constitute a major audience for animated content.

But, how does a brand inject freshness and relevance to a format that has been in the industry for a fair period now? And on the other hand, the 'guy meets girl and falls in love' could easily be the most clichéd plot of any Hindi movie or ad.

We got in touch with Priya Shivakumar, senior vice president and executive creative director, J Walter Thompson Bangalore, to understand why the agency opted for the animated format. Here's what she had to say:-

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

Priya Shivakumar

"We had these two wildly different ingredients coming together to create a tasty, yet healthy snack. It was the recipe for a classic love story like the ones where we see two vividly differing personalities fall in love with each other. For us, it was the 'When Harry Met Sally' of biscuits."

With regards to zeroing on the idea of using animation in the first place, Shivakumar explains, "Oats was created as the health-conscious character while Chocolate was depicted as the fun, vibrant and drool-worthy personality. Animation was something that was vital to the execution of the idea as opposed to getting something done easily and hence, it was the perfect tool to use to bring this story alive."

"Because we wanted to tell this love story in a way that was fresh for a brand promotion video we thought that a style, such as that of a movie trailer, was a cool way to do it. The style let us tell our story and make our point in a fun manner," she continues.

"The fact that the internet loves trailers, just made it all the better for us," Shivakumar adds.

Traditionally, campaigns for every FMCG product would primarily depend on determining the right marketing blend of the 4 P's - Product, Price, Place, and Promotion - that would mainly influence the target audience's purchase decisions. Today, however, consumers are making buying decisions differently and with this, strategies aimed at impacting this process need to evolve too.

Shivakumar states that the product primarily aims at providing a healthy snack solution to its TG through its wide and varied portfolio. "28+ All Adults, Working men and women and homemakers. They live hectic, action-packed lives. They realise the importance of health and that they need to do something. They keep making attempts at leading a healthier lifestyle by way of joining gyms or following diets, but more often than not, lapse out of it in a short period of time," is her opinion.

In today's digital era, incorporating a strong digital marketing strategy in the overall marketing mix offers many clear advantages to brands. Moreover, it allows the brands to gain consumer insights and increase ROI. According to Shivakumar, the trailer-style made perfect sense from both, the brand's as well as the TG's perspectives.

"The NutriChoice consumer spends a significant time on the digital medium today. He/ she consumes news, content, entertainment, and sports on various digital platforms. He/ she is digitally savvy. He catches up on his entertainment and world news needs primarily through the digital medium. Therefore, reaching out to this consumer necessitated creating content that doesn't just reach him but also engages him and holds his attention," Shivakumar concludes.

We asked our experts to give us their opinions of the ad and if they thought it was a hit or a miss...

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

Suresh Eriyat

About the execution, Suresh Eriyat, founder-director of Eeksaurus, an ad film production house, opines, “Mostly, such brands prefer films with high-speed, live-action product shots that they call ‘appetising’, which lacks in giving the product any unique identity when compared to all others in the category who are also deploying a similar medium to reach out.

“Having said that, I really wish the creative behind this film had some substance other than having such trashy content to drive communication forward,” he adds.

Eriyat also shares that according to him, the limited 2D animation with such live-action oriented dialogues is a bad combination. “When animated greats like 'Dumb Ways to Die', produced in 2012, have failed to influence our creativity in 2018 to boost better-animated content in our country, I wonder why we even attempt such,” he continues.

“When the product is revealed in the end, it has no significant connect with the form or function of whatever happened throughout the film. I feel as if the characters were in costumes rather than animated, like how the Vodafone Zoozoos were done; that may have been a bit more interesting. This story can work for an ice-cream or a chocolate commercial... I actually felt it could be leading to a new variant of chocolate or Nutri-bar, but when they revealed the cookies in the end, it was really surprising and, of course, disappointing,” he points out.

Eriyat also notes, “The dialogues were too much of a mouthful, taking away from the central communication. I wonder how a brand that has deployed animation very maturely in the past agreed to this sort of diluted communication.”

Nonetheless, Eriyat feels he would still urge more creatives to explore the animation route as it can benefit product stories and brand-recall a lot more, in some instances, as compared to the live-action medium, but only if used wisely.

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

Anish Varghese

A closer look and the trailer, as an approach, is pretty conventional and in a sense, run-of-the-mill, feels Anish Varghese, NCD Isobar India.

"However, in today's age of snacky digital content consumption, this can be seen as an 'instant' creative piece that is appealing to promote a new product. The 60-second audio-video visual canvas could have been made more worthy of the medium," Varghese elaborates.

With the further developments in animation and VFX technologies; television commercials in India are not staying behind and are utilising it to deliver the message and advertise to maximum capacity.

While financial service brands are ahead in the use of animation in ad campaigns, there have also been some FMCG brands, such as Frooti, which came out with their ad campaign 'The Frooti Life' nearly three years ago. Kid's brands such as Kellogg's Chocos are also accustomed to using animation for their advertisements.

Outside of the FMCG segment, ZooZoos, for instance, are back and how! The ZooZoos took the nation by storm when they were launched in 2009 by Vodafone during IPL Season 2; the white creatures with ballooned bodies and egg heads made a riveting comeback in IPL 11. The ZooZoos, conceptualised by ad agency Ogilvy and Mather, are now 10 years old.

So while Britannia's NutriChoice ad may garner some attention because of its unique trailer-like format, as animated ads go in the segment, it could, possibly, get lost in the crowd.

Campaign Credits:

Creative Agency: J Walter Thompson Bangalore

Chief Creative Officer: Senthil Kumar

Executive Creative Director: Priya Shivakumar

Executive Business Director: Tiraz Balaporia

Creative Directors: Pradeep Ravindran, Ashwin Lingan

Copywriter: Saagarika Shenoy

Art Directors: Akshay Bhat, Sarath Mekkat, Shashank Dutta

Account Management: Sandeep Mathummal, Anand Madhan, Prashant Lakhotia

Production house: Rocket Science Animations

Director: Vivekananda Roy Ghatak

Animators: Shikhar Vyas, Hage Nobin

Music Director: Roy Menezes

Britannia Industries Limited

Vice President - Marketing: Ali Shere Harris

Category Manager: Nidhi Saraf

Group Product Manager: Anupam Nair

Product Manager: Sumita Rajan

A quick look at some of the most successful commercials leveraging animation techniques in the recent past:

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

With the third #TheFrootiLife campaign this year, the brand, owned by Parle Agro, the largest Indian beverage manufacturer has introduced two commercials created with a mix of live action and stop motion animation featuring Alia Bhatt and Tollywood superstar Allu Arjun

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

The PNB Housing campaign features 3D animated animal characters facing issues with the places they reside and looking for a better home

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

OnePlus 5 Soft Gold Limited Edition ad is an animated delight for viewers, Indianised in all aspects

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

Oreo launched animated 'Open up' global ad campaign in 2016 and the 30 second ad was accompanied by a song performed by Grammy-nominated recording artist Adam Lambert in the US version. The ad was reportedly run in more than 50 countries with vocals, lyrics and languages adapted by territory

Britannia's latest digital ad mimics an animated movie trailer

The tagline 'Red Bull gives you Wings' has been conveyed in the ad using animated characters thereby attracting attention

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