The answer to the curious case of ‘Yeh deewar toot ti kyu nahi hai’ lies in the Ambuja Cement advertising journey which started years ago. We deep dive into the brand’s tale of epitomizing quirk and humor with strength.
Two estranged brothers- SR Thakur and KR Thakur- separated by a giant wall, desperately wish to get back together leaving all the grudges behind. They try every tactic possible to break the wall. From using hammers and other tools to bombing it down – the wall stands still strong. It should be noticed that the setup and melodrama portrayed in the one minute film is no less than a Bollywood movie. But this was a TV commercial shot back in 2001-02 as a part of the Ambuja Cement advertising journey.
“Bhaiyaaaa, ye deewar toot ti kyu nahi”, cries the other brother (played by veteran actor Boman Irani) and prompt comes the voiceover- “Tootegi kaise, Ambuja Cement se jo bani hai”.
Here we go remembering the intense drama upholstered with the brand purpose into the film which very conveniently delivered the message home that Ambuja Cement stands for ‘giant compressive strength’.
The Ambuja Journey
Building an entire empire out of cement manufacturing and production was a tough call. Ambuja Cement set up shop in 1983 and was a brainchild of two traders namely Narotam Sekhsaria and Suresh Neotia, who had very little knowledge of cement or manufacturing. Anticipating that cement would be a critical resource for a developing economy like India, they invested in a state-of-the-art cement plant in Gujarat and went on to build a trusted cement brand that has become synonymous with quality and strength. This premier status got a boost in 2005 – Ambuja Cements (as the company was known then) and another premier Indian cement company, ACC Limited, became a part of the reputed Holcim Group of Switzerland.
With a legacy of over 35 years, Ambuja Cement has taken pride in its brand philosophy of ‘I Can’ with an aim to push boundaries and achieve results that have enabled the company to become one of India’s foremost cement companies for decades now.
Ambuja Cement advertising journey
Cement has always been touted as one of those low involvement categories and to market, a product like it requires an ‘hatke’ promotion and advertising strategy. Ambuja Cement followed the mantra of indulging into not-so-serious advertising and grasp on the humor quotient to attract consumers’ attention towards the brand.
The brand time and again stayed away from stereotypical ‘adulterated’ or ‘milavat wala cement’ ads or even portraying gigantic buildings and dam walls to show the strength or quality of cement. The company set a vision of indomitable spirit for itself and went onto mix rationale advertising with a dash of humor. Owing to this, Ambuja Cement came up with geniuses like the evergreen ‘Bhai Bhai TVC’and ‘Muskaan’ tv ads to drive home the point of that ‘strength of the cement lies in the strength if emotion’.
Grey Worldwide, the agency on record then, joined hands with Ambuja Cement and while branding the cement commodity, concentrated on its core brand promise of “Strength”. The insight that triggered most of the campaign ideas was that strength is a very highly relevant attribute as far as the customer is concerned and if given an emotional touch can strike the right chord.
The ‘Muskaan’ TVC came right after the ‘Dadi’ commercial which could not manage to spread much chatter as the brand tried to induce an excess of human touch and focussed on the strong relationships that are built amidst strong houses.
With ‘Muskaan’, Ambuja Cement was back talking about ‘unbreakable walls’ and reiterate the idea of “Ambuja Cement. Yeh Deewaar Nahin Tootegi”. The kid in the TVC is seen recalling the most memorable ‘Bhai Bhai’ scenario where the wall refused to break down even after several attempts. The commercial had a stark reference of the prior communication albeit a different setup.
The advertising portfolio of Ambuja Cement boasts of different flavors – on the menu being comedy, fun, drama induced with lots of personification. The brand sought to relate to its consumers on different levels by identifying genres they find solace in. Hence with a mix of comedy and drama in its advertising for instance the ‘Vijay, it became successful in finding a loyal consumer base who not only was loyal to the brand but raved about its advertising.
An animated video showcasing the giant as the mascot of the brand and the rising towers was created to convey the ‘giants of giant’ proposition of Ambuja Cement.
Nurturing and building relationships
Whether it be a tribute to one of the strongest personalities in our life- Our Fathers- or our grandmothers with ‘Dadi TVC’, Ambuja Cement has always highlighted the building up of strong relationships owing to the strong walls of our houses ‘buniyad’ and why it plays a pivotal role in keeping a family closer.
Standing strong against Caste parity and disharmony
Unlike most of its competitors in the market, Ambuja Cement has gone much beyond being just an essential commodity brand to being a messenger for good and positivity. The brand has been vocal about societal issues like caste, socio-economic, and religious disparity and firmly believed in equality for all.
The company’s beliefs were reflected in its communication with campaigns like ‘Arjun Deewar’ Tvc and ‘Jaat Paat’, ‘Bhed Bhav’ films putting out a strong message to break the walls of disharmony and inequality.
Later in 2014 when Ambuja Cement entrusted its creative duties to Publicis India the result was an ad that took the social media world by storm. A video cum mockumentary conceptualized by the agency featured wrestling champion ‘The Great Khali’ was titled ‘giant strength for the giant’ with a humourous and lighthearted approach. The campaign also featured in Social Samosa’s Eternal Campaigns of the Decade.
It highlighted the story of Khali’s life where he himself goes onto narrate how the strength which gave him recognition was turning to be his biggest problem. The ad also hilariously reinvented cement as a product an average person should invest in. The impact was so much that within a week of its appearance on YouTube, it was watched, liked, and shared 15 lakh plus times and also went onto win several awards.
Apart from being exceptional at narrating human stories through its television commercials and web films, Ambuja Cement is popularly known for its tongue-in-cheek print advertising. In 2015 a set of newspaper advertisements were conceived by Publicis for the brand showing gigantic animals like Hippo, Elephant, and Rhino resembling the power of the single Ambuja Cement product also inhibiting in them a house map.
Yet again, in 2018, what caught people’s attention was when Ambuja Cements took to newspapers to reiterate its pledge to “a carbon footprint-conscious growth”. The company was ranked second globally by the Carbon Disclosure Project in the world in business readiness for a low carbon economy transition. The full-page print ads displayed its Q1 2018 financial results.
The copy on the ad read: Our Cement’s Final Output is Clear Blue; the results sit tabulated at the bottom of the page.
The ads were a brainchild of Alok Nanda and Company. The company is in the habit of creating ads for its quarterly financial results always harking back to the brand purpose of Ambuja Cements – I Can.
Narrator of the Rooftop stories
Partnering with Triton Communications in 2018, Ambuja Cements switched & was back at harping onto emotions through its communication this time rolling out a web film narrating the stories of ‘rooftops’ titled ‘Chhatein’.
The first film was launched on the occasion of Independence Dat which told the story from the eyes of two friends – Sankar and Salim – divided by religion but united by unbreakable bonds and rooftop stories.
After ‘Gupta Ji Ki Kahaani’ and unveiling the ‘chhat’ tales of Shankar and Salim, the third film was penned down by maestro Gulzar, the poem and the picturization depicted slice of life moments and various stories that took birth on the roofs of desi houses over a cup of chai while catching up with the sunset or a game of chess.
All the films were a part of the brand’s larger campaign ‘Chhat Pe Milte Hain’ for its premium ‘Ambuja Plus Roof Special’ offering
The brand’s current communication revolves around stories of strength and positivity amid the pandemic induced lockdown and the various CSR initiatives Ambuja Cement has stepped up for.
Marking the digital presence
While on Instagram the brand is walking the talk with topical posts and moment marketing around COVID 19 safety precautions and consumer engagement activities, the brand’s Facebook page is a testimony to the company’s various efforts to tackle the current crisis and help those in need.
Meanwhile, on Youtube, Ambuja Cement is actively rolling out the video featuring the company leaders and their thoughts to cope up with the crisis, also simultaneously displaying the CSR efforts undertaken by it.
Striking a balance between humor and emotions, Ambuja Cement’s primary objectives of the advertisement is creating awareness, build salience, and having a top of mind recall. The Ambuja Cement Advertising Journey reinforces the brand purpose and its positioning as the “Strongest cement” or symbol of compressive strength.