Jogging down the memory lane, here are some of the Fevicol ads I really liked when I was young.
The first is this ad, which starts off with a shot of a man. Then you realise it's two, then 10... then maybe another couple of tens! Slowly, the ad reveals to you that they are all moving and shaking whilst on a slow-moving bus (can't blame it! With hundreds on tow, it's a miracle it's moving at all!).
You have women, children, men and even a cock on board. And they are moving across this Rajasthani desert. As most in rural India would probably know, that's what public transport means. That is, a bus overloaded much beyond it's capacity, so that they all innovative to make places for themselves (even if it means perching yourself uncomfortably on the headlights, as the ad depicts!). And as we all take in this huge feat of accomodating so many on a bus, the ad closes with the board behind the bus which claims "Fevicol. The Ultimate Adhesive". (As if to answer our question, "How are they all sitting there?!").
Check it out!
I love this ad, because nothing is said. All you have to do is figure it out!
The other of the ads is one where carpenters are working. They are watching this movie scene, which is like a typical Bollywood ham scene. There is a girl on a bridge, and she is holding onto her lover, who is about to slip off. And they frantically keep repeating, "Pakde rehna...chodna nahi".... the suspense builds. But much to the irritation of the carpenters, nothing happens. In frustration one of them gets up, to take the Fevicol dabba kept on the TV. Immediately, the hero in the movie loses his grip and is seen falling into the endless pit. Whereas, in another TV placed next to it, the hero is still continuing with "Pakde rehna...chodna nahi"!
Why? Because the Fevicol dabba is still on that TV !!!
Why don't you take a look yourself?
The third ad I like is in tune with the above ad; the carpenters are in the ad. One of them is busy scrambling eggs, while listening to the radio. He stumbles up on an egg which refuses to crack. The voice-over on the radio goes "Dum lagakar ... haisha! Zor laga kar... haisha!". Inspired, our man decides that brute force is the only way he is going to get that egg to crack. He tries to hit it with a hammer. Much to his amazement, it slips from his hand, hits a pot, causes a hole in it and the water pours out!
Surprised, he checks on the hen that laid the eggs; only to see that it was feeding from an old Fevicol dabba! And the voice-over on the radio simultaneously says, "lagta hai yeh Fevicol ka kaamal hai.... tootega nahi!"
And think of this; they actually show how we re-use stuff in India. Cut an empty, used Fevicol dabba to give chicken feed. Now, if this isn't an eye for detail, I don't know what is!
Rating - ****
Now the things that I like.
First of all, I must hand it to the creative head. I mean, here's a mundane thing: an adhesive. I don't think anyone prior to Fevicol would have actually thought of branding an adhesive. It seems like a low-involvement product. What does it matter what adhesive you use? Instead, Pidilite has an amazing number of funny and creative ads for this product, which is no doubt their flagship brand. And come to think of it, you would actually smile when you see a dabba of Glue! How many can actually make you do that?!
There is one thing you will notice in most (if not all) ads. They always have a rural setting/backdrop. The Indian rusticity is what stands out, and they have a generous dose of humour to support it! They borrow scenes or instances from daily life; whether it be the overcrowded bus; or some carpenters at work. And that is their best strategy. Especially involving the actual users of the product, like carpenters, in their ads. And it works for them even more, as they were the first to undertake direct marketing to carpenters; and not just hardware stores and timber marts, like their competitors. Now, Fevicol is almost a generic term for "adhesive" (or "glue"). And that is its biggest achievement. Not all products become generic to the product category. "Building Bonds" is what Pidilite's tag line says and that "bond" is what drives the creative messages. Even over the years, they have played around with the strength and have evoked in us the sense of what an adhesive is supposed to deliver - offer the best bond.... jo toot na paye!
Even the Fevicol logo, with the two elephants tugging at *something*(many claims to it - a ball stuck with Fevicol; or a piece of wood stuck with Fevicol) and still struggling is a sign of "mazbooth jod".
For me, when I was younger, Fevicol was that white goooey thing, which had that unique smell when I would open the dabba. It was my aid in many projects and art work. Later on, easier glues and transparent gums in tubes came and replaced atleast the stationery segment. But even though its a little messy, everyone did buy it!
Let me conclude with the hope that my mazbooth jod with this blog stays!