Can the new Dabur ‘LAL’ TVC recreate the same Nirma magic of yesteryears?

An example of the paradigm shift from ATTENTION to ATTRACTION economy

Recently I happened to watch Dabur Lal Toothpaste TVC.

It was a treat to watch but it also made me think of what might have inspired the idea.

This latest campaign that sells Amitabh Bachchan…Oh apologies…let me correct myself…Dabur ‘lal’ has lately roped in the great megastar Mr Amitabh Bachchan to endorse the red toothpaste. Beautifully choreographed, it is a recreation of the star’s erstwhile “Eir bir phatte” musical video, in an endeavour to make it fun and entertaining, while conveying the brand’s intended message.

Now, Dabur ‘lal’, which is well established in the rural markets, is trying to seize the urban ones as well or the place and the trust owned by Patanjali, so to speak?

Speaking of establishment, isn’t reinforcement the epic way to place the brand name in consumers’ psychology? 

Remember, back in the 80s, Nirma created a TV commercial in which the brand Nirma was repeated 14 times, on DoorDarshan, to become a household name and Nirma as a brand rose from nowhere to become a household name in the detergent market beating many multinational competitors in their sales.

Today, after so many years, this Dabur TVC hops on to the bandwagon of jingles, music, and the rationale of repetition that was once pioneered by Nirma.

While I understand there are countless brands for every market sector and product segment, could you still forget ‘lal’ and ‘Dabur’ that are involuntarily heard in the most rhythmic and musical routine some 25 and 12 times respectively?  We all would acknowledge with an absolute ‘no’.

Nonetheless, for a campaign to work in the 21st century, it has to be made relevant in terms of setting, direction, colours and most importantly the message that resonates well with the urban audience.

Dabur evolved and launched a campaign that suits the urban taste, peppered with the fun we all look for in our fast paced lives. The commercial is good to go with the melodramatic toppings of emotions and drama.

But again, I am being brought back to the question- will it sell as well as Nirma did?

Also can a brand really influence its audience (that consumes mindfully) with the fancy setting and funny jingles into buying the product? Yeah sure, we might watch the ad multiple times to share some laughs; but can it eventually lead to sales?

Another trick to keep the audience hooked to the commercial was not disclosing the brand and the product in the initial 58 seconds. After some time into confusion and guesses, the ad unveiled the subject. Now, this two and a half minute long commercial could cost a fortune to the brand if it goes up on TV, that’s well known but will it pay back for spending such a substantial amount to finally be watched on YouTube? Could the ad easily be perceived as utter interruption and be skipped?

Does a brand have to pay as high a price to stay relevant in the market and keep selling for years? Moreover, can this make other brands feel left out and unequipped as spending highly can cost dearly?

However, kudos to Dabur for roping in Amitabh Bachchan, creating an eternal legacy; but can AB cut across, especially in the South? Will parts of India remain unbothered or there’ll be an equal buzz all around?

Having said that, how does a brand assure that the intended message has reached its target precisely? How can a brand be certain that the ad could make a human impact as well as aid in the escalation of sales?

A lot of unanswered questions. Wondering what others are thinking.

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