You might recall Surf Excel Pakistan's iconic #MadadEkIbadat campaign from 2016 which was followed by #AbLagRahiDiwali launched in India the same year. Through these brand films, Surf Excel, detergent brand from Hindustan Unilever (HUL), highlighted the thought of sharing festivities with the lesser privileged, thus taking forward its 'Daag Achhe Hain' (stains are good)' proposition. In 2017, Arun Iyer's team at Lowe Lintas Mumbai created a similar campaign for the brand titled #NekiEkIbadat.
Once again, Surf Excel is back with a brand film that strikes the emotional chord. Titled #RangLaayeSang (colours bring togetherness), the film has been conceptualised and created by Lowe Lintas. Absolute Productions have produced the film.
By using 'colour' as a medium for oneness, the #RangLaayeSang campaign beautifully captures how the colours of Holi can be a force for good. It seamlessly brings to life Surf Excel's decade-long 'Dirt is Good' philosophy - 'Agar kuch accha karne mein daag lag jaaye, toh daag acche hain'.
"Holi is one of our biggest festivals, celebrated with much fanfare across the country. However, amid the fun and revelry, one can often forget the true spirit of the festival. We felt that Surf Excel had an opportunity to highlight the true essence of Holi and encourage the spirit of togetherness," says Priya Nair, executive director, Home Care, Hindustan Unilever.
The #RangLaayeSang campaign couldn't have come at a more opportune time. It may just bring people closer and ease some of the communal tension, especially on social media, triggered after the Pulwama terror attack, following which India launched Surgical Strike 2.0. The campaign is live across TV, digital and outdoor media. On February 27, #RangLaayeSang was released on YouTube and has garnered over 4 million views since.
"We wanted to share a message that reflected the true spirit of Holi - 'Oneness'. During the festival, colour often acts as a medium to bring people together, thus melting differences. With this insight we could seamlessly marry the brand philosophy of 'Daag acche hai" with a larger thought of 'RangLaayeSang'," says Carlos Pereira, regional creative officer, Lowe Lintas.
The only similarity with Surf Excel's latest communication and its previous campaigns is that dirt/stains play an integral role in the acts of the child, which is what makes it unique. Each piece, however, captures a different set of emotions or values; thus, landing a broader message that is meaningful to a particular festival.
According to Pereira, the team wanted a storyline where the purpose of the child acquiring colour/stains was unexpected as well as delightful. "Along with the brand team, we collectively decided that this story had it. We then etched it further to add more nuances and charm to make it memorable," he explains.
And while shooting with children is quite challenging, Pereira finds it exciting too. "I believe both the kids have done a fantastic job, as has the director, Vasan Bala, who always seems to capture their honest emotion beautifully," Pereira says.
Over to the experts
Surf Excel has always attempted to draw peoples' emotional affection towards the brand. In all the scenarios shown in the ads, kids are helping someone who is in need and making their festive celebrations complete. The purpose of the #RangLaayeSang campaign is to further build on that, rather than compete with anyone.
We asked the experts if by making kids a part of the narrative whether the brand succeeded in building an emotional connect. And if the brand is attempting to be more meaningful rather than functional.
According to Ullas Chopra, national creative director, Triton Communications, it makes sense for Surf Excel to continue its almost iconic thought of 'Daag Acche Hain'. It creates an affinity for the brand beyond the usual product attribute-centric advertising. He also believes that the brand's size and status allow it to make a bigger statement on society.
He says, "Surf Excel has, in the past, made statements about enabling others. It's an emotional space of the 'good Samaritan' and clearly has a connection. That kids do these acts makes it even more heartfelt, innocent and less contrived."
Rahul Jauhari, joint president and chief creative officer, Rediffusion India & Everest Brand Solutions, finds the message quite heart-warming and the ad very well executed.
He says, "At a time where every statement seems to have a motive, this kind of a message is best delivered through children. A child's innocence trumps everything. There is a real world outside of the TV studios where real people live and I do think they will like the message."
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