Aishwarya Ramesh

"There’s pressure to post on every social media trend, but we don't want to be pushy": Vijay Gwalani, Pidilite

Recently, Fevicol chose to respond to Harsh Goenka's 'Fevicol versus alcohol' comment on Twitter – and it paid off. A chat with Pidilite's marketer about the pressures and joys of moment marketing.

Wordle, Dalgona coffee, musician Yashraj Mukhate and more – these are some of the trends that have influenced moment marketing over the last few months. It's the latest tool in a marketer's arsenal in his battle to build a relationship with the consumers, while subtly reminding them about the brand and its offerings.

Moment marketing is here to stay – mostly on social media, but sometimes, in outdoor advertising too (think of the topical Amul girl hoardings). The latest one to catch our attention isn’t a pun on a trend. It’s Fevicol’s reply to a tweet by Harsh Goenka.

The current chairman of the RPG Group is well known for posting shareable content on Twitter. He took to the social media platform to ask how ‘bonds’ are formed.

Fevicol’s response ended up going viral. Parth Desai, senior manager – digital marketing at Pidilite Industries (Fevicol’s parent company), came up with the response to Goenka’s tweet in 10 minutes. And, the brand was appreciated on social media for the witty response.

Fevicol’s digital agency is Schbang and its mainline agency is Ogilvy. However, the team decided to spontaneously post the response after a few rounds of approvals. We’re told that Fevicol has a WhatsApp group in place to facilitate speedy approvals of the quick and snappy social media posts, enabling the team to post content in response to trends as quickly as possible.

Over a video call, Vijay Gwalani, head of corporate marketing at Pidilite (Desai reports to him), mentions that the brand likes to focus on casual light-hearted conversations on social media. Also, this isn’t the first time Goenka has mentioned Fevicol in his social media posts.

“This time, it was an interesting mention in the form of a question, and we thought it was interesting to reply in quintessential Fevicol style. Fevicol, as a brand, has always been about light-hearted humour and earthy Indian-ness. So, I’m sure he had a smile on his face,” he chuckles.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Vijay Gwalani</p></div>

Vijay Gwalani

"We’re very selective with the trends we partake in."

Gwalani goes on to explain that, as a brand, Fevicol is very selective about which social media trends to take part in. “Our brands aren’t part of consumers’ daily lives either. That’s why we don’t push five posts a day on social media, or even per week, for that matter. We’re very selective with the trends we partake in.”

“There’s a lot of pressure on brands and social media managers to post content on every trend that pops up. But we try to be selective and don’t want to be pushy, or unrequired. We’d rather choose our moments for going live after deliberation. We don’t want to miss out on opportunities that fit Fevicol, but we also don’t want to jump on to every trend that comes our way.”

"We’d rather not put out a creative, instead of being run-of-the-mill. We choose our moments and topics accordingly."

Gwalani emphasises that he doesn’t want the brand to become an eyesore, since some brands can be irritating when they try to hop on to a trend. “We’d rather not put out a creative, instead of being run-of-the-mill. We choose our moments and topics accordingly.”

He tells us that gone are the days when non-digital creatives had to be single-minded and planned months in advance with multiple levels of approvals. Creatives these days need to be topical and in the moment.

"Over a period of time, we’ve created a process in which we can roll out creatives in an hour."

“We wouldn’t want to be pushy and we want our content to get organically noticed. The process needs to be robust, yet nimble. Over a period of time, we’ve created a process in which we can roll out creatives in an hour. It wasn’t easy to reach this level, but social media has reached this level of speed and we need to adapt to it.”

The brand doesn’t partake in every trend that comes up on social media, but when it decides to, Gwalani tells us, it boils down to two main questions.

“One is if there is an opportunity for us to stand out and break the clutter, like we have in the past, and the second question is if it is relevant to Fevicol. We ask ourselves if there is an opportunity to pun on ‘bonding’, or ‘mazboot jod’, and if the answer to either of these questions is no, we don’t go ahead with it.”

It’s hard to have a conversation about marketing and Fevicol without talking about the role that Piyush Pandey and the Ogilvy team have played in building the brand.

“People have grown up watching Fevicol ads and Ogilvy has set that standard. There were ads that we ran for only one day during televised cricket matches and those are still remembered, 12 years later. That’s the stature of the man, who has created these ads,” says Gwalani.

However, he explains that the reality today is that television is very fragmented and social media allows the brand to talk to people, who have not grown up watching these ads.

“How can we still keep the tone of the old ads and still be relatable to the millennials and Gen Z? That is our biggest challenge. Keeping that in mind, there are some topics we steer clear of, such as religion, sex, putting someone down, etc.”

Fevicol doesn’t usually engage in social media banter much, but when it does, the same two questions are asked again. Rarely, it’s planned, like in the case of Goenka’s tweet.

“There was one time when we made a social media post referencing Google Maps, and Google Maps’ official handle replied to us and there was a back and forth banter. The banter garnered more attention than the post itself,” Gwalani recalls.

“Brands these days can actually behave like people – they need to have a personality. Fevicol has been able to establish that personality with our advertising in the past. Content that is relatable to all Indians, will be relatable across the spectrum of the audience, irrespective of whether the person is a contractor, or a homeowner. More than 60 per cent of the contractors who follow us, are also savvy digital users. So, we have the opportunity to reach out to them via digital media,” he signs off.

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