One of the current controversies in the world of Indian cricket is if MS Dhoni, former captain of the Indian cricket team, is as good as he used to be. His critics clearly want him out, while his supporters (including yours truly) are fervent in their support for him. They are quick to point out that he is the best wicket-keeper in the world and wish to know if his replacement would be even half as good.
This is the problem — comparisons are odious, but people will constantly do it. How good is the Indian cricket team’s batting when compared to the era of the ‘fab four’ is a question that is often tabled. I know discussions on cricket, however interesting, generate more heat than light, so I won’t traverse down that treacherous path.
But as a teacher and a student of advertising, let me indulge in some comparison — of Fevikwik’s recent campaigns with some of its earlier ones.
Who hasn’t heard of, or not chuckled at, Fevicol’s advertising? The brand is clearly a leader in its category and has been happily placed in such a dominant spot that its opposition is hardly visible or recalled. I, for one, don’t know who its competition is.
One has heard too that it is a dream client that other agencies would give an arm and a leg to have a relationship with. The advertising created for it over the years by Ogilvy and Mather has won acclaims and awards over the years. While there are several that you must have seen, here’s one that you will certainly remember.
Fevikwik in the past
But let me focus on Fevikwik, a brand from the makers of Fevicol that too has a tradition of creating really interesting advertising. The two models it starred performed spectacularly to what were essentially simple scripts. It was a generic promotion with a catchy line — ‘Chutki Me Chipkaye’, which basically means, ‘sticks at the snap of a finger’.
In this particular commercial, an anglicised hero (whom most people of my generation would remember from his role in the Ericsson ad and its famous caption of ‘one black coffee’) is trying to fish, quite unsuccessfully. He seems to have the best of equipment and is very finicky about the ambient noise. He scowls darkly at the disturbances around him, blaming his lack of success on the environment, like some of us do!
A rustic Indian chaiwala with his give-away accent and crude implements, comes and lands a good haul of fish — thanks to Fevikwik that he strategically used on his stick to the utter amazement of our anglicised angler!
No brand, however successful, can afford to live in the past, as consumers are a moving target. Newer, younger consumers keep entering the market every day. To keep up with changing tastes, the brand released two ads with the tagline ‘Khushiyon Ke Chand Pal’ which translates to ‘a few moments of happiness’.
The first commercial features a young boy who asks for karela (or bitter gourd), a much-hated vegetable among children. His mother remains frozen in a state of shock, and then realises that his love for karela came about because she stuck his favourite car that had broken, with Fevikwik. What better way to show your appreciation than by doing something unexpected for your mom?
The second commercial features a daughter-in-law sweating it out on the treadmill when suddenly, she is offered mausambi juice by her mother-in-law. The reason? The daughter-in-law had fixed her mother-in-law’s pooja bell. While it is an effort for her to get the juice, she still brings it as a gesture of gratitude.
As I mentioned earlier, all of us tend to compare the past with the present. Students of advertising tend to compare current advertising with the brand’s past award-winning ones.
So how do these new ones compare with the old?
As far as ads go, they are cute and will certainly get noticed. But do they hold their own against the family of Fevicol ads? I am not sure. But I seriously think brands should set benchmarks for themselves. How do the ads compare with the others in the category? Are they the best? And in the case of a brand like Fevicol which has limited competition, one must certainly compare it with the past.
So how does your brand’s advertising compare with the competition?