Shalimar Paints leaps onto cause-wagon with new ads. Do they work – or is the brand trying too hard?
The latest edition to the list of brands jumping onto the cause-led bandwagon is that of the industrial and decorative painting solutions brand - Shalimar Paints. Featuring a model with Vitiligo, a Muslim girl playing Holi and the colourful LGBT flag in its latest campaign - 'Har Rang Khoobsurat' - the brand aims to raise awareness about these issues. The creatives for the campaign have been conceptualised by tiqui-taka, an advertising and marketing agency from Mumbai.
Minal Srivastava, vice president, strategy, growth and marketing, Shalimar Paints, over a telephonic conversation about the campaign, tells afaqs!, "As a brand, we did not want to stick to selling a product solely based on its description. We aim to create an impact on society and build conversations around such interesting and compelling topics. The creatives are based on topical issues and since we are targeting comparatively smaller cities, along with metros, we see it as an opportunity to craft conversations around the unspoken."
Sharing insights on the ideation of the campaign, Srivastava says, "During our previous on-ground initiatives, we saw great response from the community and realised that taboos are still existent in society. The colour of one's skin, the LGBT community, Muslims and widows playing Holi, are not very safe topics to discuss. But we wanted to let go of the safety line and have a loud and clear message on the face of it."
One could consider the creative featuring the model with Vitiligo as an advertisement by a beauty brand. Gillette Venus, in an earlier campaign - 'My Skin. My Way.' - featured a similar model conveying the message that one was in charge of how their own Skin feels.
Interestingly, the creative built around the Holi festival reminds us of Surf Excel's ad - #RangLaayeSang.
Commenting on the comparisons, Srivastava says, "Beauty brands should have picked up such issues, but I don't see them working on it. We saw it as an opportunity to craft conversations and grabbed it. The idea behind the creative around Holi was to feature a widow and a Muslim."
Sharing the brief given by the brand for the campaign, Jigar Fernandes, founder, tiqui-taka, says, "It wasn't a very traditional briefing. The brand was looking at telling the bigger truth rather than showing colours as a commodity. We wanted to celebrate the colours that no one else was focusing on. It is a simple campaign of giving out a message that every colour is beautiful."
Founded in 1902, Shalimar Paints has in the recent past stayed low key on the advertising front. Srivastava says that the brand has been focusing more on doing social work, like painting slums and working in hospitals for the blinds, rather than advertising. She says, "We do not do celebrity endorsement for our campaigns. And when we advertise, we try not to stick only to our product's quality and description. In most of our campaigns, we have tried to highlight our values. One can take for example our ad 'Rang Desh Ka'(2017)."
Headquartered in Gurgaon, the paint brand sees competition from Asian Paints, Berger, Mysore Paints, Kansai Nerolac, Dulux, Snowcem, Jenson & Nicholson etc.
Scheduled to run in a few selected cities, the latest campaign has been released on radio, outdoor and digital platforms.
Ramanuj Shastry, former chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi and co-founder and director at Infectious Advertising feels the tagline - 'Har Rang Khoobsurat' - is interesting. He says, "For me, the campaign ticked all the right boxes, but left me cold. It seems like an anxious attempt to stay current and not miss the 'inclusivity' bus."
"Regardless of the category, the hunt for 'purpose' seems to be the flavour of the season, pandering to cause-marketing, in some cases more evident than others," says Viren Razdan, MD, Brand-Nomics, a strategy consulting company.
He adds, "Whether the purpose adopted becomes a philosophy or just a marketing campaign, is the real question. Brands are attempting to strike a deeper meaningful conversation... but is the relationship with the cause true or shallow? Time will tell. Purpose is much deeper than a play of words; superficiality eventually shows its true colours."