Ananya Pathak

Sanitary pad brand promises speed, a la Lifebuoy

The New Delhi-based sanitary pad brand — Paree, from the house of Soothe Healthcare, has highlighted the “three-second absorption” feature in its first TVC. We spoke to Sahil Dharia, founder and managing director of Soothe Healthcare.

Soothe Healthcare, manufacturers of Paree sanitary pads, released its first-ever TV campaign — '1-2-3, I'm wetness free'. The ad, first among three, was released earlier last week. Though the 20-second ad looks pretty basic, it caught our attention beacuse of its 'three-second proposition' — much like the Lifebuoy's 'Bunty, tera sabun slow hai kya' campaign.

The other brands in the category, including Whisper, Stayfree, Sofy and Carefree, have, over the years, communicated the hygiene, long lasting protection, fit, and wider and comfortable product feature, but none have actually put a clock on the absorption time.

Speaking about the campaign, Sahil Dharia, founder and managing director of Soothe Healthcare, says, “The whole conversation around periods has been shrouded in taboo and has been very one sided. It’s something we don't talk about. We, from day one, wanted to establish Paree as a progressive brand and break the clutter. The intent of the TVC is the same — to have clutter-breaking communication. That’s why, we have changed the context of the category to talk about heavy flow.”

Sahil Dharia, founder and MD of Soothe Healthcare, manufacturers of Paree
Sahil Dharia, founder and MD of Soothe Healthcare, manufacturers of Paree

Talking about the three-second proposition, he points out that today we live in times where you want your Uber at your door within seconds, the elevator at your service as soon as you press the button, and the microwave to speed up. “That's the caricature of the customer we’re addressing. And keeping that in mind we have created this product that absorbs in a mere three-seconds. It actually absorbs in two, but just to be safe we have added an extra second,” Dharia says candidly.

The three-year-old New Delhi-based brand sees women between 25-35 years as its core target audience.

Was the brand apprehensive about anything before the launch of its first campaign? “We found the 'girl in white pants' to be a very regressive proposition. To take a bold position and establish ourselves as a progressive brand, we involved ourselves in a lot of discussion and argument. ‘Why don't you do what everybody is doing?’ — was the main question we had to answer. Also, since this is our first marketing initiative, we had to back the product with innovation, hence the ‘three-seconds'. We did extensive trials and tests to prove that. Finally, we chose to not show the blue liquid. Menstrual discharge is not blue. We wanted to move away from that too,” Dharia shares.

The campaign has been conceptualised by Thinkstr, the Gurgaon-based marketing and advertising agency. Satbir Singh, founder and chief creative officer, Thinkstr, tells us that the insight stated in the brief was — heavy flow moments are the most discomfiting for women during menstruation. “We wanted to communicate based on this insight. The fast absorption feature of the sanitary pad was a great match with this and hence '1-2-3, I'm wetness free’.”

Satbir Singh, founder and CCO, Thinkstr
Satbir Singh, founder and CCO, Thinkstr

In the past, the brand has released an educational film — endorsed by Saina Nehwal who is associated with the brand in the capacity of an investor.

The other two TVCs will be released in the coming months.

Industry speaks.

Jagdish Acharya, founder and creative head, Cut The Crap, feels that the ad sticks to a classic problem-solution-satisfaction format. “While a cliché in current times, this kind of narrative still works for a well-established brand reinforcing its promise.”

Jagdish Acharya, founder- creative head, Cut The Crap
Jagdish Acharya, founder- creative head, Cut The Crap

He opines that the speed proposition by itself doesn’t sound like a new idea but its quantification to three-seconds does. “However that’s where this ad is likely to run into issues. Both with ASCI as well as with viewers as there is no credible support offered, just the usual product window. Why did no one make such a promise before? Probably because it’s untenable.”

Speaking of only the ad and its idea, he says the three-seconds is quite a promise and should have been explored with a clutter breaking narrative, not a formulaic execution.

Navin Kansal, chief creative officer, 21N78E Creative Labs
Navin Kansal, chief creative officer, 21N78E Creative Labs

Navin Kansal, chief creative officer, 21N78E Creative Labs, says, “The setting of the film seems to be a quintessential new-age start-up where people clock in the hours and are expected to be "on their toes" more often than not. It's classic problem-solution territory with the trope of being put in a potentially embarrassing situation, but the narrative is more contemporary.”

Commenting on the speed preposition of the ad, he adds, “While there are real life instances of some women using more than one sanitary pad at one go to counter the effects of heavy flow, it's interesting that the brand has chosen to go one step ahead and use speed as a proposition rather than the heaviness of the flow itself. Perhaps it's a sign of the times where road warriors and busy executives can ill-afford to let their guard down and have to get on "with it" without much ado.”

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