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Hamam tells women to be self-reliant in its new, changed communication

Ogilvy & Mather has for the first time created a brand campaign for the HUL soap brand, shifting the message from product-oriented to inspirational-based. The agency won the brand’s creative mandate a few months ago

Click on the Image to watch the TVC.

How many of us remember the Hamam ad of the 80s and 90s? The ad brings so many memories back from our childhood. In a new campaign, for the first time HUL’s soap brand Hamam has shifted from product-oriented advertising to inspirational advertising. For the first time, Ogilvy & Mather has created the campaign #GoSafeOutside for the brand after winning the account in a multi-agency pitch.

The main target audience being mothers, the brand’s communication has been around Hamam being a traditionally handed down soap from mother to daughter, mother-in-law to daughter-in-law. Hamam has a strong foothold in the southern region of India.

Harman Dhillon, General Manager, Skin Cleansing, HUL, said, “Hamam, as a brand trusted by eight out of 10 households in Tamil Nadu, feels a sense of responsibility to make a positive difference not just to people’s skin, but also their daily lives. With our new #GoSafeOutside campaign, we want to help improve the sense of safety people feel when they are outside: by raising awareness, kick starting conversations and facilitating solutions.”

The campaign aims at actively enabling and empowering young women to feel safe and confident. Give them the ability to defend themselves in unpleasant situations, making them strong and self-reliant.

Sukesh Nayak

Sukesh Nayak, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy Mumbai, commented, “Everyone must feel safe when they step outside the comfort of their home. Our campaign idea helps the brand Hamam play an active role in making lives safer. Hamam, with its new 360-degree integrated campaign, assures mothers that from here on, their safety is not just restricted to their skin because #GoSafeOutside is a campaign that reaches out to protect their lives just as the tagline states, You Safe, Your Skin Safe.”

The brand has consciously chosen to centre the story on self-defence depicted through the ancient martial art of ‘Silambam’. A centuries-old practice, often restricted to men, Silambam is the perfect ambassador for a brand rooted in age-old wisdom but equally relevant today.

Nayak said, “The earlier campaigns were about the product benefits. We wanted to ladder that benefit and give some more substantial value to the communication strategy. Women who use it believe that neem is very good for the skin. Neem protects the skin from dust and germs and that is the inherent brand benefit, which has been inculcated for generations now. Soap definitely protects the skin when you go outside. We wanted to put different layer, insight and cut to it.”

He further said, “For this campaign we spoke to women in Tamil Nadu. One common thing we found is women there feel that the world is changing and they must stand strong and be treated equally. All this came from the mothers who want their daughters to do the same thing as their sons do, whether doing the same jobs or going to BPOs at night. Like this, we came out with this whole idea of encouraging moms to help their daughters become stronger.”

More than just an ad film…

The brand has also come out with self-defence technique videos on its digital page to empower women with methods to protect themselves.

Along with the self-defence videos, the brand is working with relevant authorities to identify locations in Chennai where crimes against women have been recurring. The brand along with the agency will set up billboards in unsafe locations, fitted with CCTV cameras that capture live feed of the surroundings in a bid to deter miscreants. The intent is to also try and give women instant, direct and urgent access to help through an alert mechanism that reaches the authorities.

One would also get to see activations and on-ground camps where the brand will visit communities and talk about the importance of self-defence. The brand also has a different packaging now. At intervals, the brand will change the packaging of the Hamam packs, showing self-defence techniques.

In the ad, the mother is very apprehensive of sending her daughter to tuition classes alone. So she accompanies her but she isn’t looking for a short-term fix. She wants her daughter to be able to fight the world alone and so admits her to Silambam. And her daughter’s journey becomes easier when she has a healthy skin. And what can give her healthy skin? Hamam.

Peer reviews:

Neh Rathi, Creative Partner, Karma (DDB Mudra Group) finds the ad film different and calls the music catchy. He said, “Unlike other ads, on the same topic, which raise a question on the safety of women in our country, this one gives a solution. Instead of relying on candle marches and sign campaigns after the damage, here is a mother who takes on the responsibility of ensuring her daughter is able enough to defend herself. A fresh take in a world dominated by media scaring the hell out of anyone who cares, or doesn’t, to be on social media.”

Rathi added, “The brand stands for something far greater and that is where the beauty of this ad lies. In the age of wireless connections, definitely the content is worth spreading, especially when most of the news we read and see is only depressing. This soap washes away the fear of stepping out and stepping against the elements of nature, or manmade nuisances. #GoSafeOutside #MovedMeInside.”

Tamanna Virmani

Tamanna Virmani, Associate Vice-President and Senior Creative Director Copy, ADK Fortune, has a very interesting point to make. She said, “Though #GoSafeOutside sounded promising, but the storyline reeks of Dangal. I know there’s creative liberty that always comes to our rescue, but isn’t the girl old enough to have a bath on her own. It seemed forced to me. And yes, we all want to make girls powerful so that they can face the big bad world, but I would rather see a fresher approach tackle the problem.”

The TVC:


Client: HUL

Brand: Hamam

Client Team: Harman Dhillon, G.Sriram and Sudeshna Karmakar

Ogilvy Creative: Sukesh Nayak, R.Prateebh, Nishant Pratap, Sowmya Balakrishnan, Ankit Pathak

Ogilvy Planning: Prem Narayan, Sumana Suresh

Ogilvy Account Management: Hitesh Patel, Mayuri Shukla, Ninoshka Vaz, Anjali Negi

Production House: Absolute Productions

Director: Vasan Bala

Executive Producer: Prafull Sharma, Sadhya Vyas

Tags: Hamam
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