India is an achievement-oriented country where failure is considered a taboo: HUL's Priya Nair

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : December 06, 2017
Nair, Executive Director, Home Care, HUL, spoke to afaqs! about Surf Excel's new campaign #HaarKoHarao.

If one considers the line 'Daag Achhe Hain' the recall would more than likely lead to Surf Excel. The washing powder brand is back with a new TVC under the same theme, 'Daag Achhe Hain - #HaarKoHarao'. The ad has been conceptualised by Lowe Lintas Mumbai, directed by Vinil Mathew and produced by Breathless Films.

The ad begins with a coach addressing a kid's cricket team about yet another loss and out of frustration and disappointment, he wants to quit. Hearing this, one of the children goes to the centre of the ground and starts destroying the pitch by rubbing his clothes all over the chalk lines, hosing it down with water and struggling to use the large roller. In the process, he soils his uniform completely. Seeing his behaviour escalate, the coach rushes to him asking him what he's doing, to which the child responds that he's frustrated too, since they lost the match.

The twist in the ad as is that the coach tries to convince the child that it's not the last match so he shouldn't get so upset and the child asks that if that were true, then why was the coach quitting. The child continues to say that if they lost that day, they could still win the next. This leaves the coach speechless for a few seconds before he puts his coaching cap back on and asks the little boy to come in for practice at 5.30am the next day.

Priya Nair Priya Nair

Arun Iyer Arun Iyer

Carlos Pereira Carlos Pereira

Talking about the ad, Priya Nair, executive director, Home Care, Hindustan Unilever, says, "India is an achievement-oriented country where failure is considered a taboo. The brand wants to start conversations around failure with the eventual aim of changing the perspective on failure to it being a learning experience. The campaign refreshes and takes its 'Dirt is Good' philosophy forward by telling parents that if kids get dirty while learning to defeat failure, then dirt is good."

The brand had uploaded the one and a half minute-long digital film on YouTube on November 30 and started advertising on TV with a shorter duration film (45 seconds) from December 01. The campaign is being promoted through print, outdoor and radio ads as well.

Arun Iyer, chairman and chief creative officer, Lowe Lintas, says, "We thought the best way to defeat failure and all stigma surrounding it, is to embrace the learning that comes out of it. Which is how the thought, 'Har ko Harao', was conceived. The message we wanted to give is that if kids do fail, it is not the end of the world, but rather, the start of a journey to finding themselves."

Carlos Pereira, executive creative director, Lowe Lintas, adds, "Kids aren't always conditioned to perceive failure in the negative way adults do. Rather than being afraid of it, they take learnings from failure that are often missed. Their approach towards dealing with failure is truly worth learning from."

We asked our experts for their take on the idea and execution of the ad. This is what they had to say:

Robby Mathew Robby Mathew

Anish Varghese Anish Varghese

Robby Mathew, chief creative officer, FCB Interface, says, "As such, I like the idea. In the ad, there is optimism and positivity which is good, versus themes like my child will come first; my child will do this or that; beat the other guy; it is not in that space so personally, I like this ad. To me there was a little confusion that there are two properties to remember. Earlier you had only 'Daag Achhe Hain' and that was it. Now 'HaarKoHarao' is also a coinage to another coinage, so which is the one to be remembered? It is not like the latter has replaced the main tagline, but now it is sitting there right along with 'Daag Achhe Hain'."

Mathew finds this ad good, but compared to other ads under the 'Daag Achhe Hain' theme, he says, "My favourite ad was the PuddleWar TVC. It is very typically right, when a child falls, the elder will punish the wall or the door and the elder brother in that TVC does the same for his sister and acts like an adult."

Anish Varghese, national creative director, Isobar, says, "They always try to convey the message via kids; here too they've done the same. Execution must have been better, like their Diwali ad. They could have tried a little more of an emotional angle; people love to see those emotional stories under the theme of the 'Daag Achhe Hain' campaign (like the Diwali and Ramzan ads).


Agency - Lowe Lintas, Mumbai


Arun Iyer - Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
Carlos Pereira - Executive Creative Director
Zeth AP - Group Creative Director
Sanjay Ramanathan - Creative Director
Ketan Karande - Creative

Account management

Raj Gupta - Chief Executive Officer
Shantanu Sapre - Executive Director
Pooja Mehta - Vice President
Bhakti More - Brand Services Director
Shraddha Upadhyay - Senior Brand Services Manager


Subramanyeswar S - Chief Strategy Officer
Saji Abraham - Executive Director
Abhijith Shetty - Sr. Brand Planning Director


Renuka Koul - Sr. Agency Producer
Director: Vinil Mathew
Production house: Breathless Films

A look at some of the old ads by Surf Excel from the past:

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First Published : December 06, 2017


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