A Lasting Bond
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Campaign: Fevicol Marine Ferry
Brand: Fevicol Marine
Company: Pidilite Industries
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
A boatman is rowing his boat, which is filled to capacity with wooden chairs. An old man waves to him. The boatman thinks the old man wants to hitch a ride and as the boat is full, he declines. But it's actually the old man's young and pretty daughter who wants to hop on. Drawn to the idea, the boatman starts pushing chairs into the water to make space for the girl and her other belongings, which include a huge hay stack and even a goat. The ad closes with the girl and the boatman happily continuing with their journey, while the chairs are all tied to the boat and are being pulled along, submerged in water.
Fevicol ads have carved their own sweet spot over the years in Indian advertising. One after another, the brand has delivered some advertising masterpieces, which made this product, which is after all just an adhesive, stick in the public memory as one of the most recognised brands in India for a good two decades at least. The latest Fevicol Marine ad too follows, mostly, the winning formula that has been working well for the brand for quite sometime. As usual, it's laced with humour, has that distinct yet familiar "Indianness" to it which Fevicol ads have come to be associated with, an interesting folk-music background score, and of course, the clear message of Fevicol (Marine this time round) as an adhesive par-excellence. What works for the campaign is its ability to cater to the Indian sensibilities specifically with a no-frills, simple, humble and honest ad.
But beyond the regular checklist that Fevicol seems to have developed for its ads, to what extent does the ad work as an independent creative? It sure delivers the intended brand communication, is light, humourous and enjoyable, and creates a buzz about a product category which might otherwise be considered boring for the common consumer. I mean how much adhesive can a regular bloke really be interested in? But beyond all of the above, does the ad stand out from the clutter? Maybe no. And that is not to cast a major doubt on the merit of this communication but given the almost-legendary status some Fevicol ads have attained over the years, this ad doesn't make it to that elite club. Be it the original "Dum laga ke haisha" ad, or the much talked about travellers-stuck-to-a-truck ad, Fevicol has set a TV advertising benchmark that is not very easy to better, or even match. When you have a history of some brilliant ads, even a good ad seems just average in that august company. The tagline, "Wahi mazboot jod, paani mein bhi," also works fine as it banks upon Fevicol's established image of a trusted adhesive and builds upon it to push the waterproof variant. Another observation: After a long time, Fevicol has broken away from employing just metaphoric representation of the qualities of an adhesive to the product itself in a TVC. But it's still not quite a "Dum laga ke haisha". It's a good ad alright, but again, going by Fevicol's advertising legacy, just good may not be good enough to stick out.
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