Brand Saga: Navratna Oil, keeping Indians Thanda Thanda, Cool Cool

Navratna Oil advertising journey

The sun is shining bright, there could be no better time to cool our head while taking a stroll down the memory lane with Emami Navratna Oil advertising journey, one champi a time.

Summer has never been the best season to get ‘sir ki champi’ done owing to the ever dripping sweat drops, at least not for me. But do we have any option? I still remember Maa applying the strong aromatic Navratna Oil all over my head followed by the much-needed massage and oh boy! Navratna Oil advertising journey too has been full of coolness and quirky humor.

This week’s Brand Saga dwells into the little nuances of Navratna Oil advertising journey and how did it go on to become the coolest oil.

Emami Navratna Oil advertising journey

As the history goes, the mother brand- Emami Group, saw the light of the day in some part of West Bengal. A brainchild of two childhood friends, R.S. Agarwal and R.S. Goenka, who left their high profile corporate jobs with the Birla Group to set up Kemco Chemicals, a cosmetic manufacturing unit in Kolkata, in 1974.

The FMCG market was seeing the emergence of multinationals when Agarwal and Goenka decided to take a leap of faith and stepped in to reach out to the Indian middle-class consumers with a meager amount of Rs. 20,000. With the potential of increased consumption, the company started manufacturing cosmetic products under the brand name of Emami with the brand vision of “Making people healthy and beautiful naturally”.

Introducing Power brand – Navratna Oil

The two young entrepreneurs then thought of a winning combination of blending Ayurveda with the modern knowledge of science and technology. Ten years after the commencement of the company, it launched its first flagship brand BoroPlus Antiseptic Cream under the Himani umbrella in 1984. Emami brands started selling in all states of North, East, and West India.

The inception of a range of personal care products was later followed by the launch of Navratna Cool Oil in the 90s. The introduction of new brands continued and the distribution network of the company was extended to South India with Navratna spearheading the process.

Magic of ‘Thanda Thanda Cool Cool’

Emami Limited launched one of its flagship brands “Navratna Cool Oil” in the 90s. Till that time, there existed a market of cooling therapeutic oils in certain pockets of India which was primarily dominated by unorganized regional players. It was Emami which understood the category potential and took the benefits of cool oil out of its traditional pockets and expanded the category scope on a pan- India scale. 

It positioned Ayurvedic therapeutic multipurpose cool oil as a national brand in a market that was primarily aligned to the popular concepts of coconut or amla oil only.

Positioning it as the oil providing multi-purpose benefits, Emami tag lined it as ‘Thanda Thanda Cool Cool’.

The brand’s advertising communication over the years perpetually focused on how it’s everyday massage gives enjoyable cooling, providing relief from daily mental and physical stress. The ads came with their own unique dash of humor and quirk.

Navratna oil was also largely marketed as the one not only solving specific hair and body related ailments but the oil that delivers superlatively on all desired benefits, like beauty & nourishment, traditionally sought from hair oils.

The company has since invested in product innovations and launched Navratna Oil Lite, Navratna Extra thanda oil, Navratna Almond Cool Oil among others to suit varied needs.

From Govinda to Big B to Salman – The Star Brand

It won’t be wrong to say that one of the highlights and major feats of the Navratna Oil advertising journey was the star power. The company was quick to identify the charisma of celebrity endorsers and the kind of recall value it brings in.

“Navratna has always maintained a legacy of telling its brand stories in a very engaging and entertaining way be it with humorous copies or foot-tapping jingles, winning the brand communication instant popularity,” shares Harsha V Agarwal, Director – Emami Ltd.

He further reverberates, “The A&M journey for Navratna Oil has always been full of dhamaka with the brand, over the years being consistently associated with megastars”.

The then superstar Govinda was the first celebrity that Navratna Oil had roped in.  Later, the brand boasted of celeb endorsers like Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan to Shilpa Shetty, with the latest being Salman Khan, who came on board recently. 

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Navratna dances to the tunes of Govinda

While keeping the core messaging of Navratna Cool Oil as the panacea for the tension and headache, Navratna and the creative agency on board ensured that they bring out the best of celeb personality on-screen with TVCs and print advertisements.

Taking into consideration Govinda’s peppy and chirpy vibes, the TVCs were weaved on similar notes with ‘bharpur masala entertainment’- a mix of song renditions and dance.

Right from the hugely popular Chandramukhi Campaign in 1990s with Govinda and Rambha to the star essaying a double role in the ad story plot, the advertisement featuring Govinda placed Navratna Oil as number one on the coolness factor and the only solution to relieve stress and tension.

Enter Big B

The angry young man of Hindi Cinema- Amitabh Bachchan- has been a marketers favorite for decades now. Emami wasn’t too late in bringing Senior Bachchan on board as the face of Navratna Cool Oil.

The ‘chamatkar’ commercial that he shot for Navratna Oil in 2004 has him narrating his cinema tales and the hardships that come with the profession while subtly integrating the Ayurveda inspired product to get relief from all headache and pain.

Agarwal informs, “In fact, Navratna Oil is one unique brand in this country which had both Big B and SRK(Navratna Cool Talc) onboard simultaneously at one point of time”.  

He further reminisces that the Navratna campaign with Big B playing the role of a personal assistant to a government official, created around 13 years ago & still continues to remain popular.

In other sets of commercials, Big B can be seen donning different roles that of a Bengali consumer suggesting the two-minute magic massage of Navratna Cool Oil to get instant relief from fatigue and sleeplessness.

This particular piece from DDB Mudra Group Oil keeps the messaging of functional benefits of the nine herbs induced Ayurvdedi Oil intact with Bachchan dancing to a peppy track and the tagline slightly molded to ‘Thanda Thanda Coolam Coolam’.  

Emami, apart from leveraging TV and radio for ad jingles, leveraged regional print medium to its core, with most of the copies in Hindi to reach out to the masses.

In 2017, the brand showcased Bachchan in a new avatar of a delightful champiwala Raahat Raja, recreating the iconic Johny Walker song ‘Sar Jo Tera Chakraye’ in Big B’s legendary voice. The TVC directed by noted director Nitesh Tiwari of Dangal fame and conceptualized by Leo Bernett Orchard was an instant hit favoring the brand’s mass appeal.

Commenting on the ideation process, Agarwal stated, “While ideating about the new communication, we thought about what can be better to showcase its therapeutic benefits than to be filmed on the legendary champion song ‘Sar jo tera chakraye’, on a legendary actor like Amitabh Bachchan? Combining the versatility of Mr. Bachchan, both as an actor and singer, was the next trump card that we had up our sleeve.”

Salman Khan –Raahat Raja 2.0

In May 2020, Navratna Oil signed superstar Salman Khan as the new brand ambassador. Khan is popular across geographies and demographics and his collaboration with the therapeutic cool oil brand will take the message from the cities of India to even the deeper pockets of the country.

The announcement was supported by the rollout of new summer campaign conceptualized by Publicis India.

The peppy campaign was aimed at communicating Navratna Oil’s varied usage and multipurpose benefits. Navratna Oil will not only offer relief from heat-related ailments but also make the user feel relaxed and rejuvenated from the effects of the hot summer.

Navratna Oil, a Rs 700-crore brand, and ayurvedic therapeutic cool oils have a market share of more than 65% in India currently.

To garner wider regional connect, down South, which is a strong market for Navratna Oil, the brand associated with hugely popular stars like Surya, Mahesh Babu, Jr. NTR, Shruti Hassan, and so on.

Revisiting some fond memories

“Working on a Navratna campaign is a lot of fun. These are larger than life campaigns that are aimed at the masses. The entire process from ideation to execution is full of fun and vitality. At each stage you get to hear great ideas, scripts, and background tracks,” shares Agarwal.

In 2016, the brand roped in Shilpa Shetty for Navratna Almond Cool Oil primarily targeted towards modern, confident, multi-tasking women of today who prefer non-sticky oils for sensorial pleasure.

Another memorable campaign, according to Agarwal was the YouTube release in which the Big B rhythmically captured the iconic “Champi” song ‘Sar Jo Tera Chakraye’ in a unique Acapella style.  

“We found that Mr. Bachchan loves to record songs late in the night.  After recording the song one night, he called up the music director the next day saying he wanted to give another style to the song and went for another round of recording,” Agarwal exclaims.

Navratna Cool Oil in the Digital sphere

To effectively reach out to the changing consumer profile, especially, the younger age groups who are more skewed to the latest communication platforms, Navratna Oil has attempts to leverage digital medium.

Although we couldn’t trace Emami Navratna on Instagram and the Twitter account of the brand has been inactive since 2018. The tweets then comprised of campaign announcements and talks around the #ExamWaliChampi campaign among others.

The brand experimented with TikTok launching, #NavratnaCool ChampiChallenge, a dance challenge on its latest TVC jingle “Pao thanda thanda cool chamatkar, paon mast champi Navratna se” & reportedly has crossed 1.2 + Bn views, informs Agarwal.

All in all, Navratna Oil advertising journey has a tongue-in-cheek and humorous stance & has made its campaigns last long and ones that can be relived time and again.