"Nicotex looks like regular chewing gum; consumers tend to chew it like that..."

By Abid Hussain Barlaskar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Published : May 30, 2018 05:24 AM
...says Anshul Mishra, category director, Cipla, about her new ad for Nicotex, that is heavy on 'product demo' to the point of instructing people exactly 'how' to chew it.

"Sahi Dosage, Sahi Tareeka, Sahi Result," that's the message for viewers in the latest commercial for Nicotex, a range of nicotine chewing gum by pharmaceutical company Cipla. The product is aimed at helping smokers quit the habit. The 21-second long TV commercial closes with the brand's tagline, a reassuring "Nicotex, it works."

Nicotex has released a host of ads over the years. Its TVC #UquitIQuit from around three years ago shows a couple of friends engrossed in a cricket match on TV. When one of them lights a cigarette, the other dares him to give up smoking if he himself, ditches his love for fried snacks. Thus, #UquitIQuit.

Another TVC from around a year ago shows two old buddies meeting up at a school reunion. They remember how one introduced the other to smoking years ago. As it turned out, the one that introduced the other to the habit had quit with help from Nicotex. He goes on to recommend the nicotine gum to his buddy who's tired of just promising his wife that he'll quit smoking. But unlike these ad films, the latest one aims to 'educate' the viewers about the 'correct' way of using the product. Taking the correct 'dosage' of what is not another ' chewing gum.'

Speaking to afaqs! Anshul Mishra, category director, Cipla Health Ltd. discusses the motive and the plan behind choosing this particular format for the ad film.

Anshul Mishra Anshul Mishra

Mishra says, "The ads for Nicotex are rooted in insights that we gather from our consumers we are targeting. In this case, it is the smokers. We found out from internal consumer surveys that there are two strong beliefs in smokers who plan to quit; firstly, most Indian smokers consider themselves heavy smokers, even if they smoke seven, ten or fifteen cigarettes a day. Thus, they choose a stronger dosage of the product thinking a stronger dose would help them quit faster. Secondly, Nicotex also looks like regular gum and consumers tend to chew it like chewing gum. It is very important to choose the right dosage. Nicotex is available in two dosages, 2mg and 4mg. The 2mg dose is sufficient for the ones who smoke 7-15 cigarettes but is counter to the normally held belief of choosing the heavier dose. Again, chewing it like regular chewing gum causes uneasiness. Since the consumer base is growing, it is critical for us to educate the consumer. The ad is centred on the right way of consuming the product."

Speaking about the media planning for Nicotex's ad and choosing a TVC as a medium for delivering the message to the target consumer, Mishra says, "A consumer might be exposed to a bunch of ads during a break. A consumer, who is looking for a particular product, tends to notice the particular product ad from the bunch. I think it's really about being present where the main consumer is; whether it is the channel or the placement of the ad etc. A consumer who intends to quit tends to notice our ad more than the one who doesn't. And there are always viewers who might not want to quit and do not notice the product. But there will always be some who will imbibe it and might give the product a thought the next time they step out."

Mishra also tells afaqs! about Nicotex's new ad campaign 'Ek cigarette kam.' "We are sending a message that it can be done. It is about taking baby steps towards quitting smoking. We just released the 'Ek cigarette kam' anthem and there is more to come. World No Tobacco Day is on May 31, which is right around the corner and it is the right time for the campaign," Mishra says.

Anuraag Khandelwal Anuraag Khandelwal

Speaking about using the age-old style of exhibiting the product and its features in an ad, Anuraag Khandelwal - executive creative director and creative head of Soho Square, the agency that crafted the ad, says, "Irrespective of the era, the problem defines the solve. Incorrect usage or dosage directly impacts the efficacy of Nicotex. The message is technical, so we kept the delivery simple."

While speaking about challenges in preparing the ad film, Khandelwal says, "The key challenge was to keep the message uncomplicated. I mean it is very easy to go down a rabbit hole of information trying to say everything. Instead, only what is important was retained. For this piece, we decided to keep it in its simplest and most relatable form."

afaqs! spoke to industry experts for their take on the Nicotex commercial.

Viren Razdan Viren Razdan

Praful Akali Praful Akali

"It's a very tough category and this seems like an 'extra-mild version' infomercial," says Viren Razdan, managing director, Brand-Nomics, a strategy consulting company.

"In the past, hard campaigns have run prompting/ challenging smokers to quit the habit, so perhaps this soft commercial is for people with the intent of quitting (though, as any smoker will tell you, half are perpetually in that mode). I am sure this campaign would have other forms of activation; sampling to generate trials and get familiar with the product. On its own, it's a sweet, harmless infomercial," Razdan says.

Praful Akali, founder and MD, Medulla Communications, an agency that specialises in healthcare communication, is of the opinion that there are more cost-effective ways to deliver a message to consumers who are already using the product.

Akali says, "The ad seems to be focused on educating consumers on the right way to use the product. Understand that this is a category issue, but there are certainly more cost-effective ways than a TVC to educate consumers that are already using the brand, like packaging, website, retargeting etc. Even if the objective was to teach consumers how to use the product correctly, it could be done in a more engaging and memorable way. I know that Nicorette from J&J, globally tells their consumers to Chew-Park-Chew which is at least easier to understand and remember."

"I know that consumers are looking for a solution to quit smoking and not just a nicotine gum. Accordingly, there is so much to educate consumers on - when to quit, how to plan for a quit attempt, how to select the right smoking cessation product, how to control urges, how to manage withdrawal symptoms etc. - and using the product correctly is just one small part of that. Creating a platform for consumers that supports them right through the quit-journey is a good option," Akali concludes.

For feedback/comments, please write to newsteam@afaqs.com

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