Ad Makers See Boom-time In ‘Nine Months’

Updated: May 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Pregnancy sells. Sounds rude Perhaps yes, because those who have gone through a pregnancy would agree that it is not the most comfortable of states to be in. But you would also agree that that’s the time when you get the most attention from everyone around you.

But what if you choose to cash in on the attention you get when you’re pregnant Ask Hollywood actress Demi Moore and Indian model Aditi Gowatrikar, whose swollen abdomens helped two famous magazines sell numerous copies more. Of late, chic maternity wear has become the hottest selling item in up-market department stores. And couch potatoes will tell you that pregnancy is increasingly finding its commercial value in advertisements. Don’t believe us Check out the new ads for Kinley and LG plasma air-conditioners, airing currently on your television sets. Or take a trip to the nearest Ebony outlet.

So, how viable a commercial proposition is pregnancy Says Santosh Desai, executive vice-president, McCann-Erickson India, “Pregnancy presents a very strong humane statement. From an advertising point of view, it does make sense to use pregnant women these days as the health concerns of consumers have gone up.”

The vulnerability of a pregnant woman is great and universally understood. This is why the state offers a viable way of presenting the image of a product that purports to care. It does definitely present a powerful viable image of the product, Mr Desai explains.

Take a look at the Kinley ad, which has captured the imagination of many. Explains a Coca-Cola India official, “We have been projecting Kinley as a brand with ‘100 per cent trust’. So, in the ad, we basically tried to convey the message that even a small boy of just four or five years understands what is good for his pregnant mother, and what can be trusted for his mother, who needs utmost care.”

Health definitely is an issue of concern, and a pregnant woman symbolises the extreme of that concern, for she carries another life within her, and what affects her adversely affects two lives. So, it’s not just the mother, but the unborn child, whose care is equally important, explains the official.

Ganesh Mahalingam, general manager, Marketing, LG Electronics, agrees with this explanation. “The punch line for the ad of our plasma range of air-conditioners is ‘germ free air for life’. What we have tried to portray is that this air-conditioner provides air that is good for the unborn child and if it is good for the child, then it is good for everyone else, too, including the mother.”

Explaining further why a pregnant woman was chosen, Mr Mahalingam says, “Since our air-conditioners are built around the health platform, we wanted to find out to whom is pure air most critical. For this, we conducted a focus group discussion in three cities. Most of the participants were young achievers in the age group of 25-40 years. We wanted to figure out the most critical juncture of their lives. The answer was parenthood. Hence, you get to see a young husband, caring for his pregnant wife in a ‘germ free environment’.”

Mr Mahalingam points out that advertisements like these have an emotional appeal that help in building an enduring relationship with the brand. “It’s clutter breaking advertising,” he says.

It’s not only ads that are focussing on pregnant women. The retail garments sector is also looking at those important nine months in a woman’s life. Ebony Retail Holdings Ltd recently introduced a concept called ‘Maternity To Motherhood’, which offers items ranging from apparel for expectant mothers to infant accessories such as feeding bottles, pacifiers and gum soothers. Says managing director B S Narula, “The market for pregnant women is a very niche and evolved market in the West. In India, this market is very latent, but holds tremendous potential. There are about 20 million women pregnant every year in India, and we see a great market potential for products for expectant mothers.” Introducing more books on motherhood and parenting, starting a ‘Mothers-To-be-Club’, which will have special activities for expectant mothers, are also on the anvil.