With PSAs taking over marketing efforts, we ask industry experts how the Rakshabandhan campaign by Usha fared in the 2020 festive season.
Home appliances brands often have a lot to say during the festive season. Rakshabandhan is one of the first festivals that start the trend, which goes up to Diwali and eventually Christmas, encompassing shopping of all kinds. However, 2020 is not an ordinary year and The Stay Safe at Home Rakshabandhan campaign by Usha is one that reflects these changes prominently.
The ad film focusses on home delivery with a pinch of PSA, addressing the need of the hour for both brands as well as customers.
In regards to adapting operations to the new normal, Usha has started contactless and sanitized home deliveries. The brand is also preparing itself for a digital-first world wherein they are ready for consumers that are preferring online transactions.
The two messages being put forth in the campaign film are — a) Distance doesn't prevent you from celebrating when it means keeping you safe and b) All Usha products are available online and can be delivered keeping all safety measures in check.
Behind the Campaign
Usha Food Processor was chosen as the hero product because of various reasons. The brand felt that it was a multi-functional product that can make the cooking experience enjoyable and fast for not just DIY home chefs (a result of people staying at home due to the pandemic) but also those preferring to eat healthy, home-cooked meals. Another important factor was that they have seen consistent growth in the demand for this product over time.
"This campaign was planned post the nation-wide lockdown announcement in March, this year and all SOPs and government directives such as hygiene and social distancing norms were followed by the teams involved, said Saurabh Baishakhia, President Appliances, Usha International.
Deep dive into the making
To create a campaign while adhering to the norms of a lockdown takes meticulous planning and less room for mistakes than when everyone is working in the same physical space and can communicate in non-verbally.
Giving a glimpse into the writing process behind the campaign, Raj Kaushal, Producer & Director, FUEL said, "We wanted to kickstart the cycle by coming up with an idea which was both emotional and adapted to align with these COVID-hit times. So, we decided on Rakshabandhan. It’s an ideal time for gifting."
In regards to shooting, involving the minimum required number of cast, crew and locations has become a new mantra. It helps teams ensure safety norms are met with.
"The emphasis was on the lighting as the entire shoot was indoors. We chose a larger than normal studio setup to ensure social distancing, and shot both actors in isolation," Kaushal explains, adding that they worked with half the crew size they are accustomed to, ensuring each person on the set worked in their space.
The PSA aspect
As a well-known brand, it was important for Usha to address issues of public importance in times of a global crisis. To be able to push for commerce responsibly. "As a socially responsible brand, it was important to celebrate love, joy, festive sentiment, all underscored by safety," said Usha International's Baishakhia.
Further, FUEL's Kaushal, explained, "While consumer sentiments and buying are at a peak during the festive season, the pandemic has already impacted the consumer’s psyche and companies that address customer safety concerns will find favour with them." It is therefore imperative that the narrative drives home the all-important message that reiterates the company’s commitment to customer safety while celebrating the festive occasion in a manner that strikes an emotional chord with the consumers, as well as engaging them with their products.
Would PSA-led festive campaign work?
"The film does a great job of being a feel-good content piece in the current context," said Piyush Kedia is the CEO and founder of Blue Vector. He feels the script does justice to the narrative being put forth and the execution seals it off well.
"The performances are quite natural and the product does the right amount of ‘existing’ in the narrative. Overall I’d say it’s cute, contextual and does the job of presenting an age-old brand in a contemporary light," Kedia adds.
"Pandemic has introduced a new way of life – A new normal. The Rakshabandhan campaign by Usha urges people to stay indoors to protect their loved ones from the virus. The message is smartly conveyed with this film," said Sameer Makani, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Makani Creatives.
Makani feels the overall narrative of the film will help people understand that everything can and should be done from a distance, given the possible threat to health. "The script is well written and successfully manages to showcase that Raksha Bandhan can be celebrated from a distance. It very subtly also educates the audience to gift something that is essential and useful for a long time," he added.