My favourite campaign is Fevicol: Brand strategy advisor Prabhakar Mundkur

The reason the Fevicol campaign is so successful is because it uses parody, hyperbole and juxtaposition all together
What is your favourite  campaign? 

My favourite campaign is Fevicol. It is a 60-year-old brand that was quiet and almost invisible until the Ogilvy campaign made it so famous. Adhesives is a difficult category because you think of adhesives only when you need them. You don’t think of them every day like you do with a toothpaste or a soap or your morning cup of tea. That makes the task for advertising all the more difficult. It is therefore the degree of difficulty with the breakthrough creative that makes Fevicol a really great cut through and memorable campaign. 

On what parameters did you base your decision?

First, it is a campaign that has stood the test of time. It has an idea that is campaignable in the long term. And it inspires an infinite number of pull-outs although the fisherman film is one of my favourites. I think it is quite a generic product that got transformed into a brand. Also adhesives are not a top-of-mind category, so to raise the awareness of such a product and category is a Herculean task. Not to mention the fact that the advertising makes it come through as the most unassailable adhesive. I think when advertising makes you feel that this is the numero uno brand in a category, then advertising has succeeded. 

What do you think was the key idea the campaign was trying to drive home?

The key idea was the incredible power of the glue and that was demonstrated using vivid metaphors. Another classical ploy in advertising is to use hyperbole which the campaign did effectively. This combined with humour made it a powerful and memorable campaign. 

Did this campaign inspire any of your work? What are your takeaways from the campaign?

My takeaway is that the classical tools of advertising are irrefutable. When used properly they can create great campaigns. An advertising idea is either a vivid demonstration of what the brand does, or a vivid metaphor of what the brand stands for. Just like grammar, advertising has its own figures of speech. Using this, advertising can take a variety of shapes. 1. Personification (make a brand come to life). 2. Parody (humour) 3. Juxtapositon (comparing: black vs white, big vs small) 4. Hyperbole (exaggeration) 5. A moment of captured reality. Ideas that fail are usually called slice-of-life in the advertising business. 

The reason the Fevicol campaign is so successful is because it uses parody, hyperbole and juxtaposition all together. That is an extremely powerful combination. In what they call the Fish Catcher film on YouTube, which I prefer to call The Angler, juxtaposition is expressed by the gentleman angler versus the priest who is a casual angler. It is a parody because the gentleman angler has waited for hours without success. The casual angler beats him with the simple use of Fevicol. And it is a hyperbole because using Fevicol to catch fish is real exaggeration. You can’t exaggerate any more 
than that. 

Did the humour, juxtaposition and the hyperbole threaten to overshadow the brand at any point?

I think that in the case of Fevicol it is not so much the story but product that is the hero. Of course you remember the story. But remembering the story in the context of the product is what is important -- that's what the researcher often refers to as brand linkage. A lot of stuff that masquerades as content these days may make you remember the story but doesn’t help you remember the product. I think it is a bit of a shame. 

What else could have been done to make the campaign better?

I don’t think you can make a great campaign better. It’s like saying how can you make the Mona Lisa better. Or Beethoven’s fifth symphony better. Unfortunately, researchers are constantly involved in this kind of rubbish -- of how to make it better. It’s a pity! Creativity is not linear.

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