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Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
A.Sandeep Editors Desk
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Would a family of bats and owls convince you to buy Powerol?
In this issue of first cut,we cover a uniquely new positioning compaign for Mahindra’s UPS product, powerol
In a country where the peak shortage of electricity hovers near 12.9% (Central Electricity Authority), secondary power supply has become an indispensable part of our lives. The inverter market in India posts a growth of 10-15% annually, with revenues touching 4 million per annum last year (PwC data); and still, nearly 45% of the market remains unorganised.

Clearly, this isn’t the only reason to inspire Mahindra, which has been making waves in India in the SUV segment with its XUV 500, Xylo and Scorpio models, to enter the uninterrupted power supply (UPS) segment. In fact, some would already know that Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has been selling engines and diesel gensets since 2001 under the brand name Mahindra Powerol. But living up to the mark in an already cluttered inverter market has posed a real challenge to Mahindra since July 2009 – when it entered the UPS industry – in terms of creating brand awareness as well as differentiating the product offering from its competitors. To that extent, the latest TVC two-part campaign series from Powerol intends to change that equation.

The first TVC of the series opens up with a family hanging upside down like bats in their house, with their eyes lighting up like the night creatures whenever the electricity fails. Apparently, because they behave like bats, their daily schedule doesn’t get affected even when the power goes off. A VO says, “Kitna acha hota agar hum chamgaadar hote; andhere me bhi dekh paate (it would have been so good, had we really been bats and could have seen in the darkness like them). The entire family suddenly falls to the ground with the grand entry of an inverter (Powerol, if you may) into their house and the lights coming back on, completing the visual drama, with the VO asking you to behave like humans and buy the Powerol inverter. For added effect, portraits of bat-like family ancestors hanging in the living room suddenly get vaporized due to the Powerol’s presence.

The second TVC of the series is made quite similarly, but features the family behaving as owls rather than bats; with the cinematography conveying the same philosophy as the first TVC.

Evidently, while both TVCs are unique, quite successful in brand recall too, they’re still not spot on in bringing out the differentiating qualities of a Powerol inverter (say, when compared to other leading inverters). Sanjeev Goyle, Senior Vice President, Marketing & AppliTrac, Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra in conversation with 4Ps B&M, says, “The core thought was to depict how human beings start adapting to darkness and behaving like nocturnal animals till they are reminded about their existence as human beings.” Shailesh Gupte, VP, Interface Communications, the agency that executed the shoot, additionally reveals some of the moments that were physically demanding on the actors, “In the bat film, the cast had to actually hang upside down for their shoot. And the problem was that no one could be left upside down repeatedly for more than 10 to 12 seconds as it used to cause quite a rush of blood. Yet, the whole shoot was quite funny and challenging.”

Presumably, finalizing the cast for both the TVCs created a havoc for the agency. To maintain visual theatrics and imaginative characterisation, the agency went on a massive hunt for people with big eyes. “We even approached strangers to audition for the TVC, if they had large eyes... The shoot actually ran into the late hours making us truly nocturnal. It was hilarious looking at the cast in their makeups and seeing them behaving like bats and owls,” reveals Gupte. Even though the TVCs might seem targeted at the retail household segment, with the range that the company has unveiled – from 250VA to 5kVA – it’s clear that the Powerol target market also includes small commercial units.

Yes, the ads are irascibly amusing. And yes, the ads also ensure that the Powerol brand – which you might not have heard of till now – will be recalled quite comfortably. But how well will the ads be able to bring out the USP in the UPS is still to be seen.

Anirudh Raheja           
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