Godrej's home insecticide brand HIT has released a new digital video featuring comedy artist Suresh Menon. The three-minute long video is essentially a quirky stand-up comedy video encouraging viewers to kill mosquitoes instead of time!
"The idea was to build reach for the content and drive conversations on World Malaria Day," shares Kapil Dev Pillai, head - marketing, Godrej Consumer Products, India. He adds, "Through Facebook, we planned to reach 25 per cent of our TG (five million reaches) on that single day and on Twitter we leveraged influencers to drive conversations and reach four million plus on that day." The video was released on the brand's social media pages on April 24.
The video, which targets the urban crowd between the age group of 22-45, has been crafted and conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather. George Kovoor, group creative director, Ogilvy Mumbai, states, "The brief was simple: to leverage World Malaria Day and send out a serious message in a manner that stands out and is memorable. Comedy is one of the most popular genres of content on the internet so the choice was fairly simple. We wanted to create a piece of content that was both entertaining and informative."
While the stand-up comedy route isn't a new advertising phenomenon, the cocktail of a mosquito repellent brand utilising this medium to initiate brand-talk is certainly not an organic fit. Pillai elaborates, "Home insecticides is not a high involvement category. People generally don't like talking about mosquitoes and diseases caused by them. Hence, building conversations and salience in this category is the real challenge."
He adds, "With organic reach on social platforms reducing day-by-day, brands need ideas that can build intrigue. We, therefore, created this quirky piece of content leveraging the behavioural insight of how some people are obsessed with social media and are aimlessly killing their time."
Interestingly though, the brand logo is prominently placed at the top of the video; the reference to the product is woven into the fag end of the comedy act. We wonder, in times when dwindling attention spans of viewers is a major point of concern for marketers and advertisers alike, wouldn't this then be a risky proposition, since many viewers may not make it to the end of the three-minute-long video and miss the brand-talk?
"We didn't want it to look and sound like an ad, so it was 99 per cent entertaining and 1 per cent product plug," is how Kovoor puts it. A thought resonated by Pillai: "The brand-talk towards the end was a deliberate move. We believe the content is strong and funny enough to make people watch till the end. We did not want to make it overtly branded content and hence, kept the product integration only at the end."
Kovoor confesses that the most challenging part behind developing this video was "to keep a straight face through the shoot."
In the recent past, several brands have taken to stand-up comedy acts to advertise their brands. Be it liquor brand Heineken turning a live comedy jig into its ad film or the payment gateway app, lazyPay, getting multiple comic-artistes on board to mock the great Indian OTP. Even Bollywood actor Alok Nath was recently seen promoting the adult diaper brand, Friends, by putting up a stage performance for an audience. While the erstwhile videos got a lukewarm response from adland's experts, we couldn't help but wonder if the new 'HIT-video' rises above the clutter or is it just an addition to it.
"Saurabh Uboweja who is the international brand expert and chief executive officer, Brands of Desire, a New Delhi-based international brand consultancy firm, believes that the issue here is not with the stand-up comic act as a format or the idea of doing a public interest campaign, "...the script itself is beaten down to death with predictable notes throughout," he adds.
Uboweja, however, acknowledges the video's honesty in projecting itself as a public service announcement. He says, "Since this has been positioned as an 'Issued in public interest' campaign, as a content marketing manoeuvre rather than a video-based ad, any further placement of the brand would imply otherwise."
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