Aishwarya Ramesh

Sebamed's Shashi Ranjan on ad campaign with Ratna Pathak and marketing to Indian consumers

Sebamed’s country head Shashi Ranjan speaks about how the campaign was conceptualised and how it came together.

Sebamed’s latest ad campaign takes a leaf out of courtroom drama, with judge Ratna Pathak Shah looking rather unimpressed. The convict? Shampoos that promise results based on a certain set of ‘terms and conditions’. The ad campaign is aimed at shampoo brands that promise to solve a set of hair issues, but claim their product efficacy is subkect to terms and conditions.

Not too long ago, Sebamed made a splash when it entered the consumer market with its first ad campaign. At the time, Konark Gaur (who now works at Marico) helmed the marketing function and in partnership with The Womb communications, they went on to create a campaign that named and shamed their rivals – namely soap brands like Dove, Lux, etc.

We caught up with Shashi Ranjan, country head of Sebamed India who informs us that right now, the Indian personal care segment is ripe for disruption. “Hair care is one of the most important aspects of beauty for both men and women. However, this category has taken customers for a ride for quite some time. We wanted customers to be able to unravel the truth and make informed choices and this was the brief to the agency,” he says. The Womb Communications was the agency that created this campaign too.

The ad also visibly breaks away from the ‘codes’ that most shampoo ads have – featuring a model with long shiny hair instead featuring a man in an asterisk costume (asterisk being the reference to fine print that ads often carry) defending the claims that the shampoo brands make.

He added that Ratna Pathak is an actress who is bound to be taken seriously by the viewers and the courtroom setup was to reinforce the notion of the brand being truthful. The campaign is live across ATL channels and print and digital mediums of communication as well.

Ranjan mentions that the body has fairly set standards – temperature average is 98.4, the average blood pressure is 120 by 80 and similarly, the skin (which is the body’s largest organ) has an average pH of 5.5 – but consumers are not aware of this factor and its fairly new in the field of skincare.

Sebamed as a brand started its journey in India almost five years ago and largely, the brand’s specific products were prescribed to patients by dermatologists and doctors. “Currently, 80-85 per cent of our business comes from non-pharmaceutical front. We will continue to invest our media monies in increasing brand awareness,” he says.

Ranjan mentions that a few years back, hygiene and beauty used to be mutually exclusive but that’s no longer the case. “The pandemic has reinforced the need for both to coexist. That intersection of beauty and hygiene is what we intend to focus on going forward,” he says.

He reveals that globally there are 65 different skin types and 44 skin types exist in India. “Having a global perspective from my career in the past certainly helps understanding and appreciating the cultural changes that the country is going through,” he says.

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