Clean, healthy fun

Updated: Feb 2 2006, 05:30am hrs
Over the past fortnight, the advertising scene has been packed with action. From Lux tempting your sweet tooth to TOI asking you to feel the news, the intensity is palpable even in categories that are not considered hot. Celebrities are clearly the flavour of the season with Viveik Oberoi, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Ajay Devgan and John Abraham slugging it out for mindshare.

Parle Digestive Marie (Everest)

What do you do when you enter a market that is crowded, where consumer involvement is low and there is little scope for product differentiation Wallow in self pity. Or probably take up the challenge head on. The task for Parle Digestive Marie was to woo consumers who are well aware of the benefits of high-vitamin, low-cal foods. That meant it had to entertain rather than educate. The new ad scores less on creativity but is definitely high on curiosity building.

In the ad, officials of Anti- Marie Bureau catch hold of men selling or eating sadharan Marie. The leader of the squadKajol in all-leatheradvises culprits to embrace Parle Digestive Marie. The ad ends on the Anti-Marie Bureau declaring, Parle Digestive Marie. Yahi hai sahi Marie.

The teaser campaignthat hit the media quite some time backdid a lot to make viewers wait for the next cut. And with Kajol as the protagonist, the crowd had to take notice. Chances are that the ad will evoke some negative reactions from competing brandsit shows packs of other brands being crushed and thrown away.

By looking down on people who patronise other brands, the strategy clearly is to position Parle Digestive Marie as a class apart. An effective strategy as a launch campaign, but the brand will have to try much harder to live up to future consumer expectations.

Lux Chocolate (JWT)

In the Rs 48,000-crore FMCG market, soap is perhaps the category where consumers are most fickle. But what is HLL doing with its Rs 720-crore brand Celebrating 75 years of profitable existence or pushing sales in sheer desperation Well, the ad for the new chocolate variant comes as a shocker. It shows Kareena Kapoor dripping in chocolate, promoting an uncharacteristic variant in Lux Chocolate Seduction. From Leela Chitnis to SRK in a bath tub to untrammeled seduction, seems like the brand is bent on turning the core of its existence inside out.

With the market share stagnating at 15% over the last two-three years, Lux is probably at its wits end. One thing is for sure. These two ads have managed to create a lot of buzz around the brand. And if the buzz gets translated into sales, whats the harm

Hero Honda Pleasure (FCB-Ulka)

A recent headline in a newspaper really caught my attention. It said purses getting fatter than wallets. Probably it meant that the Indian woman has finally arrived. Backed with financial power and new-found confidence, they have emerged as a potential target group. From apparel to automobiles, marketers are more than willing to cater to their whims and desires.

Exploiting this opportunity, Hero Honda has launched Pleasure, a 100-cc scooter for women. The ad features young women playing all kinds of pranks. And to justify their acts they raise a self-explanatory question: Why should men have all the fun Talk to a few girls and you will come to know why this particular question is the focus of this ad. Despite all the talk of equality, our society still imposes a lot of restrictions on women. In a way, this ad is a representation of all those repressed dreams and the yearning to go out and have a blast. The scooter acts as the facilitator. Never mind if it sounds a little far-fetched.

The author is faculty, MICA