Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Rin Versus Tide

Rin in-the-face

By Harish Bijoor

Is all of Indian advertising getting progressively more and more simple? Are brands getting back to the good old basics?

Colgate is talking the language of white teeth once again. Discarding everything else and very directly, re-discovering the tabletop model of the teeth as well and talking endlessly on the subject of germs hidden in-between teeth, which only Colgate reaches out to.

Nirma is talking dirt-busting capability with its eminently well-created Nirma jingle TV commercial that has dirt freezing in its tracks, quite afraid of the stentorian jingle of Nirma done with pizzazz and pomp. Nirma reinvents for itself its USP and the jingle. Both together.

And now Rin has gone back to a creative piece that re-discovers the joy, the pain and the trauma of comparative advertising.

Good formats and the good old ways seem to never tire in their efficiency scores.

The competitor’s brand to many is a four-letter word. In the case of Rin, it really is a four letter word as well: Tide. The current piece of Rin advertising, which has the brand name Tide repeated many times over, is certainly new, refreshing, in-the-eye and very-very straight.

There are many ways of looking at this creative. Here are just two quick Jekyll and Hyde set of thoughts of mine.

1. This is a very confident piece of advertising. It takes the time-tested route of direct product delivery and capability comparisons. Just as long as your data is independent and reliable, go ahead and do this sort of thing. If Rin had pixilated the brand name and done this, it would seem a trifle under-confident. What works with the consumer is confidence. Go out there and say it confidently if you have your facts right. Regain confidence for your brand and shake the competitors brand confidence index. Make people sit up and question with their eyes. Name the brand outright! Be bold! Take the battle out into the bastion of the competitor’s brand.

2. Hey! This is old hat. This kind of comparative advertising used to work in the good old days when consumers sat up and made purchase decisions basis product attributes and product delivery norms in terms of solutions. Good scent and whiteness are rather both generic to the category. How much ever anyone shouts in messaging such as this, consumers are going to be yawning and saying what next. Consumers hate this kind of relapse into age-old advertising formats that have the same old message of the sixties with the creative ability and excellence of production standards of the 2000’s staring back at them. Wake up and smell the change.

What do I believe in?

I do believe this is a confident piece of advertising. It’s a good one that will have consumers sitting up and take note of a very boring category that has been around since the days of Sunlight and Det. Consumers are voyeuristic in their habits. They will sit up and will want to enjoy the fight. In the boring detergents category, they will surely expect a Tide re-buff ad hitting the airwaves. Later than sooner.

In this summer of detergent-discontent, consumers will watch the fun as it unfolds and will do just what they want. They will take their favorite brand back home for more reasons than product attribute and product delivery reasons alone. They will pick the brand basis the scent of the brand. Basis the language of the brand. Tide Naturals has much to sell in its brand name itself on this count. And the bulk of consumers will buy basis the price of the brand as well. Price, sadly to the chagrin of the marketer and advertiser alike, remains the biggest lowest common denominator nudge point for brand purchase in 'parri passu' categories such as detergents today in India.
The Rin ad is good for the category at large as consumers sit up and watch the fight unfold on their television sets, in the courts, and indeed in the marketplace and homes of the millions of consumers who use these brands.

The current piece of Rin advertising is very clear in its visual language of comparison. There are shots of the competitive brands in the shopping baskets of both the women waiting for their kids. There is the all give-away shot of the boys emerging from the bus, one with the whitest of whites and the other with the creamiest of the creams. And finally there is the comparative half screen of both the brands with Rin winning over Tide. Rin understands the importance of price in this category and brings that in as well, as the round-figure of Rs.25 shouts vocally and visually.

What’s ahead then?

The Rin ad will be pulled off the screens. The fight will move off-screen. Rin would have got its bang for the buck already in terms of brand awareness scores in the initial burst of advertising before pullout. Many will criticize the genre of advertising as being nasty and a bit too nifty. Rebuff ads will follow. And much else will happen. The fun has just begun.
The author is a brand-strategy specialist & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Rin Versus Tide