Bail Kohlu… Kohlu ka Bail Kaun?

12 May,2021


By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaThe ad by BL Agro Industries’ mustard oil brand, Bail Kolhu is interesting – due to its somewhat unique approach.  I have never seen ads from the brand, and I am not sure if they were regular advertisers on social media and TV.


This TVC/DVC featuring Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Pankaj Tripathi- the three much-loved and hated characters from Gangs of Wasseypur is trying too hard, too much too soon. They belong to the core markets of the brand. They are known to have struggled with a late entry into Bollywood, finally succeeding against all odds. The fit seems perfect.


The three actors are damn good, and they deliver on expected lines.  As depicted in the film and what people know, their life stories resonate with the audience and seem an apt fit for what the brand wants to communicate. They are known more for their craft more than being stars. People find them grounded and relatable in real life- something that the brand wants the audience to believe about it. In some press release, I read these values are – Perseverance, Purity and Dependability.


The ad is simple. The celebrity brand ambassador reflects on his life, and short clips of their interviewed story make the point.  There is an unmistaken undercurrent of struggle before success. Additionally, the ad moves into the expected lines of showing the relentless pursuit of their dream and not leaving it mid-way. There it empathises on a determined-focussed approach and never letting it go. This is then transferred on to brand as it recounts to have followed a similar life pattern.


It seems a good move when the brand is trying to expand and is engaging in creating the business delivery channels. However, when it comes to the consumer, this alone may not suffice. I believe that they will most likely take it further with the three ambassadors and product feature and/or benefit-led communication. If it is there, the brand will be better advised to bring them when the iron of buzz and discussion is hot. Otherwise, this disruptive sounding initial communication may just disrupt their plans.



There is a lack of brand name integration in the film other than Manoj Bajpai reference to Kohlu ke Bail. At the end of the commercial, the bridge-line ‘Mehnat ke zanoon se kamyabi ke sakoon tak hamari pehchan ka safar bhi kuch eisha hi raha’ ( our journey towards gaining the identity has been similar, from passionate efforts to the comfort of success) that tries to wrap up the stories and link them to the brand is good but may not do the job.


The brand association remains weak. It hinges on the unique sounding brand name- something that the film has really not exploited enough-the complete picture of mustard oil making the traditional way.


The multi-star single film is different. It looks as if the film were initiated as three independent films but then stitched together for a shorter version. Something the brand should avoid as it clutters and sends a confusing message. It could work better as individual stories than overlapping ones.  The first test should be if the film communicates the right message clearly and cleverly in the least number of exposures.


At the same time, compliment the team behind it who wrote and directed the ad- and the client who was sure what they wanted from the ad. There is enough buzz and talk about the ad and mostly positive.


I hope this is just the beginning and not the end of the campaign. The brand will have to move fast and invest in moving from awareness and action at the trade level to interest and effort at the consumer level. The brand may need some tangibles to make the shift; maybe the brand could do with some second opinions and advice.


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