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How Fevicol maintained its ‘mazboot jod’ with consumers for 60 years

Remaining a leader in the market and staying relevant for six decades is no mean task and Fevicol from Pidilite has done just that, riding on strong communication built by its creative agency Ogilvy. talks to the team to understand how the latest campaign to celebrate the 60-year journey is another attempt to explore new avenues for communication and much more

Born in 1959, Fevicol from Pidilite has become synonymous with adhesives for consumers. This bond can be attributed to the strong communication the brand has built over its 60 years of operations. Ogilvy, which has been handling the creative mandate for over four decades, has launched another piece of communication marking six decades of the brand in the market.

A 90-second commercial, the longest ad film by the brand, will be aired on leading GECs, digital platforms supported by radio, cinema and print. It will be placed as content on OTT platforms such as Hotstar, SonyLiv and Zee5, which will be released by the month-end.

In an interaction with the brand and the agency, discussed how over these many years, the brand has kept its language consistent and yet quirky through communication. They talked about the upcoming plans and how the slowdown in the construction business has impacted the brand.

Adhesives contribute about two-thirds of Pidilite’s revenue. Fevicol, which has become the ‘mother brand’, specifically has over one third of the total revenue. The company, which is familiar among consumers because of Fevicol, had adopted unique and bold marketing ways from the very beginning. Having launched its first commercial in 1997, ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, the communication over the years has maintained its tonality and relevance among consumers. 

Nitin Chaudhry

“Pidilite is not even a brand that consumers know, they know Fevicol.  Most of our ads don’t have a language but take a slice out of life, which people can relate to. They are highly emotional and rooted. It tugs at your heart with a lump in your throat but a smile on your lips.  And very rare pieces of communication can generate two very opposite kind of emotions. Unless you really are close to the customer’s heart, you can't bring about those very deep emotions,” said Nitin Chaudhry, CEO, Fevicol-Pidilite.

To advertise a product category like adhesives and making it a household name can be very difficult, especially when the focus is more on the product and less on its features. Chaudhry said if the objective is to keep the mother brand salient and relevant to the consumers, then brand doesn't have to talk about the product features. “It is very difficult to keep the personality of the brand and still try and talk about features.  And we figured in the past that the moment we go more on the feature, the brand gets lost in there.”

The company has an annual budget of Rs 200 crore for advertising. A large part of it is for below the line with 50:50 for BTL and ATL for Fevicol. For the new campaign, it kept 25-30% for digital. 

Bharat Puri

Bharat Puri, Managing Director, Pidilite, believes digital has its own ecosystem where every brand has to be more agile, reactive, while listening to the feed. At every stage the company is trying to connect with the masses, especially, the youth, using both traditional and digital media. The brand believes that to stay relevant to the younger audiences, one has to be present where that segment is and speak their language. With their absence in TV, the brand has pushed content format on OTT to highlight Fevicol’s journey over the years.

The Rs 7,000-crore company with its latest campaign across mediums is trying to take the audience on a journey of multiple generations through the perspective of a sofa. Built in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tamil, the brand will use print and hoardings for support but not as a main medium.

Piyush Pandey

Piyush Pandey, Chief Creative Officer Worldwide and Executive Chairman India, Ogilvy, talking about the agency’s relationship with the brand, said trust and belief acted as the ingredient for the long relationship.  Puri said, “It starts with trust and it builds with ownership. To my mind, we have never regarded Ogilvy as an agency, Ogilvy co-owns the brand with us. And they continue to display the same passion, the same, aggression, and the same hunger for the brand that they had 40 years ago. All agencies are as good or as bad as the client is.”

The company works on a philosophy of identifying pioneering categories and growing these. Pidilite is in talks with Spanish and Italian companies to expand its categories. “Those are product companies from Spain and Italy and are joint ventures that are into products for flooring, which we are already in. They will transfer technology to us and we will set up plants here. For now, waterproofing and flooring are two very big categories we are looking at,” said Chaudhry.

Last year, the company had a fairly good year in terms of value, volume and revenue. Some of the commodity prices were under pressure. But the bottom line was not up to expectations, said Chaudhry.  He added, “This year has started a little slow and everybody is seeing that there has been a slowdown. Construction has slowed down and people are little cautious about spending money. It will have a slightly lag effect.” He said the company expects the government to take steps to spur growth.

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