Sensory promise to shrug off stress

Of late, advertising narratives built around selling products such as soaps have gone beyond highlighting product features to adding value — functional as well as symbolic. This is of no surprise in a highly competitive category that leaves little or no scope of differentiation. A new campaign of ITC’s personal care brand Fiama similarly promises value for money from shower gels and gel bathing bars which include a sensory experience that can shrug off stress or anger.

The “Dil ko de lift” campaign has two television commercials (TVC) that show the uninhibited joys of bathing and bathroom singing. In one ad a mother expresses her disgust at a schoolteacher’s repeated complaints about her son, while in the other a working woman reacts to her boss’s angry phone call. Both sing parodies of Hindi movie songs as they enjoy a shower with the “mood-lifting” products.

Other than a few premium brands that hold distinct promises, the category is largely low in differentiation, says Ayesha Ghosh, general manager of Taproot Dentsu, the creative agency behind this campaign. Shower gels were pegged as the driver of growth in the premium segment, she adds. “The brief from the client was to generate consideration and relevance with a high-impact creative, among premium consumers. Fortunately for us, Fiama is pretty differentiated in its product offering. It was clear that the sensory experience would be the source of the creative idea.”

Pallavi Chakravarti, executive creative director, Taproot, argues advertising for bathing products is seldom about the bathing experience, adding that “the campaign brings alive the two things a refreshing shower can definitely do for you: lift your spirits and work wonders for your skin”. She says, “The light-hearted execution, relatable daily peeves that the ads address and the sense of optimism that they leave one with, are the things we hope will resonate with consumers.”

Sameer Satpathy, chief executive, personal care products business, ITC Limited, says, “Fiama with its new communication ‘Dil ko de lift’ encourages everyone to look at the brighter side of life. The campaign distinctly positions Fiama as a brand that celebrates positivity and is scientifically designed to not just lift the mood but also give gentle and effective skin care with the innovative conditioning gel.”

India’s beauty, cosmetic and grooming market is estimated to be worth about Rs 442.5 billion. ITC is relatively new to the personal care business, as it entered the category just over a decade ago. Newer companies such as Patanjali Ayurved have also ventured into personal care, even as companies such as Hindustan Unilever, Procter and Gamble and Godrej continue to dominate the market.


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