Published : July 03, 2006
It's a fact
that itching is a common problem, especially during the summer and the monsoon when you sweat so much. However, most people are too embarrassed to admit to an itch.
The message that many anti-fungal creams conveyed in their advertising communication contributed to reaffirm this embarrassment. Itch Guard was no different. The anti-fungal cream was portrayed as a serious remedy to a serious problem, whereas the need now is to bring the product into a daily use pattern. Rajesh Sonawne, creative director, Mudra, Ahmedabad, the agency which handles the brand, says, "When you portray a simple problem in a dramatically exaggerated form, people tend to think that they do not have such a serious problem."
That is why Itch Guard decided to change the way it communicated with its consumers. It brought humour into its communication, making the problem look simpler. Sonawne, along with Rupesh Kashyap, creative group head (copy,) has scripted the ad.
Last year, the brand launched a television commercial ('Haath'), which had humour in it, but the new TVC launched by Paras Pharmaceutical, which owns the Itch Guard brand, goes a step further.
Says Sonawne of Mudra, "Our objective is to transform Itch Guard from an OTC (over the counter) product to a lifestyle brand."
"This is the second phase of communication for the brand. In the first phase, the communication successfully delivered the benefits of the brand with the problem-solution approach. The second phase will help increase the brand recall with its humour."
The new TVC shows a security chief inspecting his gang of security personnel in his uniform, only instead of his pants, he is wearing a towel. Cut to the next shot: A man dressed in formals till his waist and a towel wrapped below walks amidst a crowd, talking on his phone. In the third shot, a group of men hanging from a running local train sport towels instead of pants. In the fourth shot, a guy goes on a date wearing a towel. All through a soft song plays in the background: "Jaane de, jaane de, mausam ko jaane de, hawa aane de. Dekhti hai duniya to dekhne de, hawa aane de."
The next shot shows a rather irritated animated man running (and sweating at the same time) in pants and the voiceover, referring to the towel-clad men in the previous scenes, says, "Kaash aap aisa kar paate." The explanation follows in the form of the voiceover, "Active zindagi, yeh mausam, aur tang kapde… to paseene waali khujli hona aam baat hain. Aise mein lagaiye Itch Guard."
Cut to the next shot: An engineer, atop a building, throws his towel away, suggesting that, now, he can wear a pant and still be comfortable.
What's with the colourful towels in the ad? "Tight clothing in humid and hot weather makes one feel uncomfortable and sweaty. The insight from our research was that after coming back home, people like to wrap a towel around themselves and feel free from the discomfort of trousers. So, we wanted to bring the 'wish I could wear a towel outside' feeling through the ad," explains Sonawne.
"We have adapted to Western styles of clothing in the hot and humid climate of India. This causes a lot of sweat and itching problems. Anti-itching creams were not used widely by people because the common misconception is that they are for more severe problems. We wanted to break that belief," says Devendra Patel, managing director, Paras Pharmaceutical.
Mudra was given the task of positioning Itch Guard as a lifestyle product and not a medicine. "We wanted to move away from the usual problem-solution style of ads, but, at the same time, we wanted to abstain from making it dramatic," explains Sonawne.
The ad has been directed by Indrajit Nattoji of Blink Pictures. The locations, such as the Gateway of India, were decided strategically by the agency to give the ad a historic feel. "The TVC has been given a sepia tone to add to that feel. We wanted the towels to stand out and the background to be subtle. We used grandness to show something very normal and day to day," says Nattoji. Even the song, 'Hawa aane de', is sung in typical SD Burman style. "Moreover, the men clad in towels are made to look like revolutionaries in the ad and the background colour and locations give it a 1940s look," elaborates Sonawne.
"We didn't want it to sound outright funny. Rather, we wished to include subtle humour. So, we came up with the mismatch between the lyrics, the song, the sound and the videos," adds Rupesh Kashyap, group head-copy, Mudra, Ahmedabad, who has worked on this campaign along with Sonawne. According to him, had the song been sung in a typical 'tapori' style, as they had thought of initially, it would not have worked well.
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