Sanjeev Kotnala: Is there a deeper consumer understanding in the new Dabur TVC?

14 Jan,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


It was sheer coincidence that I found this four-minute AV on the internet.  Soon I caught it in its mini version on Television Street. Not surprised that it did not make the viral cut of featuring in Facebook.  In ‘Brave and Beautiful’, Vatika took a step forward in making a statement. I am not privy to information if like Tata Tea it will be beyond marketing communication and if this is a step to join a social cause? Having worked on the brand in early 2000, I know how big a shift this is. I remembered the problem-solution scripts. I remembered most of the time spent referring to the secret VHS with reference shots of hair swirl.


I was very poetically taken through a voyeuristic journey into the emotions and fears of a cancer survivor. I was told ‘some people don’t need hair to be beautiful’.  In that moment of pure emotion I more than believed them. I had a window seat into the quick process of her regaining confidence without her weapon, her hair. I admired her.


The marketer in me admired the brand for its stance. The common man in me felt it could have stopped at the family recognition. Taking it to the office environment was too much of a giant leap. The reactions it took it to unreal platform. I am not alone in fearing that soon she will have all kali bindi and there, right there the flow got twisted robbing it of its beauty.


Now, let us be honest. In our social framework, hair for a woman has a lot more meaning than just an accessory. We all know of such unspoken fear. In some way when women see bald women how ever confident and courageous, however supporting the surrounding be, the first reaction is of alarm. So, when a known hair brand like Dabur takes such a step, it get noticed and talked about.


When the ad comes in, I have observed ladies unconsciously playing with their hair, reassuring themselves.  And that made my belief in Martin Lindstorm studies that more stronger. Leave smoking and be at peace with yourself, see a sign of smoking kills, Do not smoke and the urge violently jump’s up. So, a question raised its head, is this social cause a real fake. Have the decision-makers taken this call and this script after considering how it REALLY MAKES A WOMAN FEEL. And it worked brilliantly in this role.  Is there an understanding that rest of us are not privy to?


The ‘BRAVE AD BEAUTIFUL’ in one stroke has uplifted the brand. The concept is not new. We all have seen such stop start gestures from brands. Very few brands could walk the line for long. It becomes tougher when the brand creates a polarity between the message ad the product inherent benefit. Hopefully Vatika is completely aware of this one-way street.  Consumers do not tolerates fakes. Out there in this new world, a set of prying disbelieving hawks constantly scrutinise brand deviation from this chosen stance.


Or is this the case of top down directive where the mother brand is trying to find one key for its entire brand folio? A social cause walk. To portray brands and in that range the company brand a catalyst. It’s a tough role to create and tougher to maintain. Easier said then done.


Like benefit of doubt to the batsman (NO DRS), I wait for the next move from VATIKA.


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