Pooja Ahuja Nagpal
Dec 07, 2012

‘You have to hit certain benchmarks for advertising to be effective’

Anil Jayaraj, CMO, Pidilitie Industries, tells Pooja Ahuja Nagpal the method behind the magic of Fevicol’s advertising, and the special bond with agency partner Ogilvy & Mather

‘You have to hit certain benchmarks for advertising to be effective’

Fevicol is synonymous with adhesives; it has become a generic name now. How big is the contribution of advertising towards this?

Not only Fevicol, but for other brands like Fevi kwik and M-Seal, advertising has played a very significant role in establishing the brands in a category which generally tends to be non-branded. Across the world, very few categories have and very few countries would have brands in the segment of super glue or wood adhesives. So, advertising has played a tremendous role in what’s happened in India and our focus has been in terms of creating break through advertising with our partners O&M in this category.

Since your first TVC in 1988, Fevicol has come a long way. How has the brand managed to engage its TG over the years?

Our first campaign ‘Dum lagaa ke haishaa’ had a nice distinct earthy humour and a high degree of functionality. What we have done since then by virtue of a series of break through creatives is to move further and further away and established ourselves as synonymous with the category. In the last few years, for Fevicol, we have actually not shown glue being applied; it is implicit and integral to the script, and that is what has made it very endearing. The TVCs revolve around day to day human situations. It’s been the same approach with M-Seal and Fevi kwik also. We have rarely gone into the details of how the product is or how it needs to be applied etc. and that has helped us create categories and establish significantly strong market positions. Rarely do people go to a store and ask for wood adhesive, they would normally ask for Fevicol. That is the success of what we have done.

Humour has been a constant in Fevicol commercials. What was the insight behind this; has there been a conscious approach to stay with humour?

I would say humour is one of those integral elements of our advertising, but the core of our philosophy is that whatever advertising we do needs to connect with consumers, it needs to have a strong connect with the brand, and it should be enjoyable. If you can achieve those three objectives, then it becomes quite easy to create memorable campaigns and that is what we have done. Our focus has been to link the humour with the brands’ core propositions and not have just stand-alone humour.

What is the approach to working with an agency? What explains the famous Ogilvy-Fevicol relationship? How has it evolved?

This is an unbelievably unique relationship and is quite unparalled. And what that means is that O&M has equal if not more ownership towards the brand. We do not have to tell the agency, “Look - this is what we have to do.” Many times, the briefs are co-created, the creatives are co-created, and the agency takes responsibility for not only delivering communication that is above average every time but it is also meant to be outstanding. This is the benchmark they hold themselves to and that is a very privileged position for a client to be in. It is also a matter of great prestige for us that we are one of the privileged clients of O&M, just as for O&M India to have Pidilite Industries as a client is great.

Who is Fevicol’s TG today? What are the major mediums used by the brand to reach out to this TG?

For a brand like M-seal or Fevicol, there are two set of core target groups.  One is the plumbers or carpenters: as they use the products and it is very important that they continue to recommend and use the products. But we also target homeowners because when work is happening at a home you do want them to be positively inclined and push for the use of our products. This is our primary target. Our secondary target audience includes the trade; dealers who deal in our products. We use a combination of ATL (above the line), BTL (below the line) and dealer related activities across all our businesses.

How has the TG evolved? How have you responded to the change?

There is a fair degree of change happening. As the country has become wealthier and the GDP has grown, people have become more aware about aesthetics and hence ‘look and feel’ has taken on great importance. Previously it was all about functionality; now it is functionality combined with good design. Earlier, if you had to get something done in the house you had to call a carpenter. Today, you have interior designers and architects. Therefore, now for Fevicol we target carpenters, interior designers, architects, contractors and more. This is not only in big cities like Mumbai but also in smaller towns where people do engage the services of interior designers.
There has not been a significant change in the creative side of things because our creatives cut across socio economic classes of people and geographies. What we have done is incorporate change in the media mix. From our interaction with architects and interior designers, we understand what they like, what they watch, what interests them and then create our media mix accordingly. In addition, our activation programmes and contact programmes now include specific cells for them.

In your marketing spends, is a larger portion allocated to certain brands as compared to the other sub-brands?

We do not deliberately focus or defocus on certain brands. It is based upon what we want to achieve for that brand in that particular segment. The focus is more on should we advertise or not advertise - on that we are relatively clear. There a set of brands that we advertise (Fevicol, Fevi kwik, M-Seal, Dr.FIXIT- Raincoat, Newcoat and LW+, Rangeela) and a set we do not advertise. For the brands that we do not advertise, it may be because we believe advertising will not make a difference there; or, more importantly, financially it may not be viable for us to advertise. We believe that you have to hit certain benchmarks for advertising to be effective; there is no point in putting small amounts of money and not achieving your reach or frequency objectives. Hence, for these brands we may rely on strong activation programmes.

What percentage of the marketing budget is allocated across the various mediums? What has been the digital strategy for the brands?

We do not share numbers, but I can say we are not very big on print and outdoor. A significant majority of our spends are on TV as far as ATL communication goes, but we are now consciously and actively investing in the digital medium. For Fevi kwik, we have an active presence on Facebook and Twitter. Feviart is a website where we promote art and craft. We are also in the process of testing e-commerce solutions for brands like Motomax.

Activation (retail and school) as well as POS branding is a key medium for most of your brands. What is your strategy for this medium?

A lot of our businesses and brands have been built on the back of activation. That is because activation targets heavy users like a mason or carpenter and it’s very important to be constantly in touch with them, make them aware of the developments in technology that have happened to the products, and inform them about newer and better products. The objective of ATL is to provide an umbrella around the brand, which provides basic product benefits, but it is activation that actually goes to the heart of it. Another reason why we focus on activation is that this country is not a DIY (do it yourself) country; in other countries so you can just explain to the consumer and rely on the fact that he will go ahead and use it. But in our case, the consumer is actually paying but somebody else will come and do the job. Therefore, you have to communicate what is relevant to each of the audiences.

What was the thinking behind going C2C in a category that is heavy on trade consumption?

Apart from being used by carpenters, we also saw a household consumption possibility and that is the reason why we started advertising. Even for the carpenter category, it is very important to build credibility among the consumers and homeowners. Therefore, we focussed on both ends of it. The consumer communication is also quite critical for us because it would mean that the consumer would insist on Fevicol. You have the aspect of household usage but there is also the carpentry usage.

With the cache of brands under the belt, are there any plans from Pidilite to launch an umbrella campaign anytime soon? 

No and the reason is that each of our brands has a very specific proposition. If you look at Fevi kwik, it is instant bonding, while for Fevicol it is long lasting adhesion. For M-seal, it is sealing and preventing leaks. It is very difficult to see everything being put under one umbrella because while you would get efficiencies in terms of media, you might lose the effectiveness in terms of communication. That is the philosophy; each brand should stand for itself and be profitable in its own way.

Fevicol is the no. 1 white adhesive brand in Asia while competitors like Movicol have shut shop. What is the take on competition?  

The focus for us is not on competition, because if you are a strong market share player like us and participating in a growing market, the real trick is in how you expand the market. So if the market is estimated to grow are 6 to 7 per cent, are there things you can do which will help the market to grow by 20 per cent? If you do that and you are the largest player, that will benefit you. Actually, we do not really target competition as that energy is better spent on expanding the market and expanding consumption.



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