‘Raksha Bandhan’ celebrates the strength of the brother-sister ties and is the time to relive memories that make this relationship strong. The most important and fun part of all the rituals is ‘gifting’. There is a ritual where the brother presents gifts to his sister after she ties a rakhi on his wrist.
Amazon.in has come out with a beautiful emotional spot to commemorate this year’s Raksha Bandhan. Where there are gifts, it is the perfect fit for the e-commerce giant like Amazon.in to promote its offerings. However, the brand has chosen to sit aside and tell a story, rather than hard sell its offerings and brand.
This time around, Amazon.in gives a message of #DeliverTheLove. The brand aims to inspire brothers and sisters to meet each other on this special day and not just gift them materialistic stuff. Amazon.in in its latest campaign does not sell-in-your-face, though a soft selling is unsaid. Instead, it aims to remind people about the importance of bonding.
Mahesh Gharat, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy Bangalore said, “For #DeliverTheLove campaign, Amazon wanted to take a notch higher by focusing on feelings and relationships and not just materialistic things. We did this campaign to make people realise that just buying gift is not enough but one should go and personally gift. Amazon has come up with a bold move through this initiative.”
Ravi Arun Desai, Director, Mass and Brand Marketing, Amazon India, said, “Our current lifestyle keeps us on our toes 24x7, and sometimes also ends up eating into the time we ought to be spending with our loved ones! With the new Amazon.in’s Raksha Bandhan campaign, we want to encourage everyone to slow down, take a step back and experience the magical moments of the festival with their siblings to renew as well as create new memories. Our brand always attempts to tell a story that the customers feel connected with, in a manner that is simple and relatable. The campaign #DeliverTheLove is about connecting with our customers in the context of Raksha Bandhan and in some way touching their heart amid this fast-paced life we all lead today.”
The campaign has been conceptualised by Ogilvy Bangalore and directed by Afshan, Good Morning Films. The film opens with a grandmother preparing ‘ladoos’ for her brother. Her grandson comes in and starts teasing his grandmother that her brother always brings ‘jamun’ for her and suggests instead he can gift a shawl, jewellery and various other things from Amazon.
As her grandson calls her brother ‘kanjoos’, the grandmother tells him how her brother used to bring jamun for her from their neighbour’s tree and when caught, also got beaten up for her. She explains that her brother is old now but he has not forgotten her love for jamun. The film ends with a note that although there are millions of products on the site, only the brother knows what his sister actually wants, which need not necessarily be materialistic.
Why feature older actors?
This is not the first time that the brand has come up with such an initiative. Last year also, as a part of the first video of the campaign, the brand featured an old man who is happy and excited to meet his sister, travelling all the way from Mughalsarai to Delhi just to see her smile. This time again the brand features an old lady for the Raksha Bandhan campaign.
While the brands and marketing are moving towards targeting the youth, why is Amazon trying to tell a story from the elderly’s lens?
Explaining the reason, Gharat added, “Our older generation keeps the relationship intact while on the other hand, our younger generations have somehow become materialistic and are busy with their stuff. We can learn from our older generation as to how to keep the relationship beautiful.”
Usually when brands come up with a campaign, they try to promote the products or its offerings. But Amazon.in, on Raksha Bandhan, has come up with a different concept of not force-selling.
“I would like to give credit to our brand for taking this brave step. Through this campaign, the brand urges people to buy whatever one wants but the most important thing is relationship,” stated Gharat.
One of the creative experts whom we asked for a review on the film pointed out even the subtle pushing of the brand. Prathap Suthan, Chief Creative Officer, Bang In The Middle, said, “Most films in this genre do well to go away from pushing the brand overtly. Even in this, the overt pushing of the phone/ screen and Amazon's other products was quite unwanted. He could have just mentioned without being so explicit, and I know the film would have worked better. The last part could have come on with the Amazon logo, and I'd think that the film would have been purer and truer.”
Kapil Mishra, EVP and ECD, Contract Advertising, explained how soft selling is a good idea at a lot of time. “It's not necessary for the brands to be seen 'selling' in order to sell. Showing people using the product and buying it is not the only and best way to sell a product.”
Good film, but…
We find out what other veterans from the industry have to say about Amazon’s latest film.
KV Sridhar, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Hyper Collective, liked the initiative. He said, “It’s a good ad and a lovely sweet story of ‘jamun’. Some things you can’t fill with materialistic things, emotions are more important. Earlier too, they did something with an old man. It’s good to emotionally connect with the audience. ‘Jamuns’ are a gift for her and it does not really matter whether you have it in your cart or not. But what matters is gifting. They have shown the emotional bonding between the brother and sister even at that age.”
Sridhar has suggestions for improvement, “The casting, narrative, storytelling, emotions, quality could have been better.”
Almost all the creative chiefs gave full marks to the two minute 13 seconds film, though better execution was expected by most of them.
Suthan stated, “It's a lovely film and makes the point very well that only you have the gift that your sister wants and it is so true. The story is strong and therefore it will be liked. But their earlier films were better. And somehow deep inside, I am willing to forgive the lacklustre production quality or the budget casting.”
Mishra too feels that the film has huge potential to emotionally engage the audience with the brand’s message. “It shouldn't do the job of a leaflet. This film is apparently not selling anything, but it has sold an emotional bond and a deeper connection with the brand. When you show this courage, people reward you more. The only condition is that the emotions have to be genuine. Trying to get a tear out of you by being artificially emotional and then playing mandolin doesn't work. This film looks genuine also because you are not trying to sell a candy after playing a national anthem.”
On a different note, Jagdish Acharya, Founder, Cut the Crap, felt that there was nothing new with the plot of the story. He said, “I find this type of stuff little cliché. There are plenty of videos around this on digital media where brands have not talked much about their products. But, now there are many brands which are joining. This video doesn’t rise above certain level from where you can start recognising or remembering it. It was predictable and the casting also looked deliberate. The video lacks in terms of writing and plot line. The only good thing about this is the line at the end and the thought behind it. Non-force selling is a kind of trend these days. For the last few years, almost everybody is doing this heavy-emotional kind of stuff. In the digital space nobody is doing force selling and also the fact that you don’t talk about the brand much has also become common. Everyone is talking about something or the other or is supporting some cause. In this case, it is a decent approach towards Raksha Bandhan as it is an emotional festival. I found the ad quite predictable and that is why it could not impact me much.”
Pranav Harihar Sharma, ECD, Rediffusion Y&R, said, “It’s a good ad and it brings nostalgia. The idea of no 'force-selling' is no more an idea. The world has already graduated to 'branded content' space. Brands are happy playing the second fiddle to anything from emotion, humour to nostalgia. The direction is not up to the mark and the grandson's hard work in 'acting' is quite visible. First, it’s a bad casting and then it’s weak in direction. Grandma we all know is a great actor so she barely needs direction. Secondly, the story is a little filmy and away from reality. A 78-year-old brother bringing jamuns every Raksha Bandhan doesn’t seem to be real. I wish the writer could have spent more time on paper.”
“I think the ad will achieve the objective of the brand. Amazon being an outsider is trying hard to connect to India as a country. 'Aur dikhao' and 'Apni dukaan' are some amazing campaigns which did the job to an extent. This ad is also a step in that direction only. And it's indeed a right step, just falls short of the craft,” concludes Sharma.
Brand: Amazon India
Agency: Ogilvy Bangalore
Production House: Good Morning Films
Account Management: Kiran Ramamurthy, Megha Jadhav, Abhijna E Rao