Temperatures have dropped, the skin is turning dry, yes it’s that time of the year again. There seems no better time to revisit the Pond’s cold cream advertising journey rejuvenating our skin one ad at a time.
Lore has it that Pond’s Cream was invented in the United States as a medicine by scientist Theron T. Pond in 1846. Mr. Pond extracted a healing tea from witch hazel, with which he discovered he could heal small cuts and other ailments. Soon after, the product would be known as Pond’s Extract. Having been around since 1846, the brand’s legacy has been of trusted care and skin protection. We take a look at Pond’s cold cream advertising journey to deep dive into how the brand helped to combat dry skin ailments and created a strong identity through its marketing-nama.
The Brand that Breathed with India
It won’t be wrong to say that Pond’s has been aging like fine wine- true to its product philosophy. The traditional skincare range including Pond’s cold cream was launched in the independent Bharat in 1947 by American major The Pond’s Company of America. Pond’s body lotions and summer range comprising of oil control cream and face wash were rolled out in the same year. However, it was the company’s foray in talcum powders in 1956 that made it a household name among Indians and was touted to be a ‘masstige’ brand – a combination of mass and prestige.
Hindustan Unilever globally acquired the brand from Chesebrough-Pond’s in 1987 with an objective to add a new dimension to its skincare portfolio in India.
Pond’s Cold Cream Advertising Journey
Rewinding the cassette to its techniques of advertising on the foreign land, Pond’s began to advertise in the US in 1886 under the name of Pond’s Healing until 1910. ‘Pond’s Vanishing Cream’ and ‘Pond’s Cold Cream’ were created marking the entry of Pond’s products into the facial care industry. By the twentieth century, the company’s main strategy was geared towards selling cosmetics products looking at people’s obsession with facial skin.
Pond’s roped in classy and massy celebrities to advertise its face creams where ‘Pond’s Healing took a backseat and ‘Pond’s Vansishing Cream’ and Cold Cream became the talk of the town by 1910. Strategically planned print advertisements were rolled out to make the creams one of people’s own and were marketed as easily available and affordable.
Both the creams were advertised together making sure to explain each cream’s different purposes on the new ads with taglines like – “Every normal skin needs these two creams”.
The advertisements featuring Hollywood beauties carried stylish imagery and were underpinned by guarantees of product delivery and an understanding of a woman’s beauty routines and needs. Later, when the sales went down, the company got itself placed in chic magazines like Vogue.
A little trivia states that Pond’s Cold Cream was the first world’s first moisturizer to not require refrigeration.
Adapting to the Indianness
Taking a cue from its international marketing formulae, Pond’s stepped into India with a thought to transcend boundaries and the highly prevailing caste system. While folks from the upper caste splurged lavishly on high-end perfumes and skincare products, falling for their upscaled advertising from global beauty giants, the middle class bought the duplicated versions from suburban shops.
Pond’s adopted a unique strategy to serve as the bridge between the two classes with an aim to forgo the barriers. Backed by an inclusive marketing strategy and heavy spends, Pond’s Cold Cream along with other products began its advertising journey in India.
For the initial years, Pond’s was considered as grandma’s cold cream in spite of it targeting women between 25-55. To retain its mass-market, Pond’s underwent a rebranding and this time packaged the cream in a glass bottle mimicking global giants.
Partnering with its agency of many years, Ogilvy & Mather, it also launched a global print campaign hinting at the Pond’s cold cream, it’s original product, as the only thing that the women of today needs. The creative agency sought portraits of practical women who seek dependability, value for money, but also effective skincare and give Pond’s a scientific image that helped erase the grandmother image of old.
Pond’s thereafter adopted a competitive pricing policy in India facing stiff competition from L’Oreal, P&G, Lakme who had established a stronghold of the skincare segment. HLL (now Unilever) kept its Pond’s product prices affordable and reasonable so that it can gain a competitive advantage.
Spreading Warmth with ‘Googly Woogly Woosh…’
Since the early 90s, Pond’s Cold Cream positioned itself as a nourishing, moisturizing, and protecting cold cream for dehydrated skin. The elements were beautifully captured in its advertising spread across print, radio, OOH, and TV.
The brand soon became synonymous with the winter care creams courtesy its evergreen tagline – Googly Woogly Woosh…’ conceptualised by Ogilvy for Pond’s Cold Cream in 2009. The campaign, owing to its virality, ran for 10 long years and was revived with an emotional touch earlier this year.
The TVCs portrayed a budding romance between an old couple, different generations of women getting their cheeks pinched since their skin was soft and bouncy with the cream.
The campaign catered to everyone across age groups – featuring young adults, couples, kids, weaved narratives around the warmth spread by applying Pond’s Cold Cream.
One of the key aspects to be noted were the different facets of evolution in a women’s journey depicted through the campaign with the ‘Googly Woogly Wooksh’ jingle tuning in the background – right from the heartwarming tale of a young girl to a married woman to someone who belongs to a different race.
The impact was such that in 2016, the jingle was adapted for a music video where vocals were given by Monali Thakur and Armaan Malik played on popular music channel 9XM. Written by Swanand Kirkire, composed by Jeet Ganguly maintained the nostalgia attached to the jingle. The idea behind the campaign and the new song was to communicate the cute ‘Googly Woogly Wooksh’ moments among loved ones.
BIG FM launched ‘Googly Woogly Wooksh’ as a song across its 12 stations, in Hindi and Bengali. Designed by BIG FM and Fulcrum, Group M Mumbai; it was the first time that the jingle had been revamped, although the song was a rendition, it did not replace the original.
Pond’s also partnered with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol starrer Diwale , which was released during the time, to recreate the magic of the jingle with the iconic Bollywood duo.
Cut to November 2020, continuing with its tagline, the brand re-emphasized the essence of ‘Googly Woogly Woosh’ reviving memories of its previous campaigns, albeit with an emotional tale. Conceptualized by Ogilvy Mumbai, the ad campaign titled ‘Bhoolna Naamumkin’ showcased an endearing bond of a granddaughter and an ailing grandfather who seems to have trouble remembering and recognizing his loved ones.
Also Read: Brand Saga: From ‘Yeh Hai Zee TV’ to ‘Aaj Likhenge Kal’ – the classic tale of a master storyteller
Of ‘Jhappis’ & Breaking Stereotypes
Moving beyond the usual product-centric advertising and the tagline ‘Google Woogly Wooksh’, Pond’s Cold Cream attempted to take the social experiment route. To mark International Hugs Day in January 2019, Ponds Cold Cream executed a social experiment titled ‘Jhappi Van’ by touching the emotional side of today’s youth.
The ad featured a host of college students, who were given the opportunity to hug their parents to celebrate the occasion. The campaign highlights the need for ‘actual’ meaningful conversations and shares the moment of mutual love with our loved ones through physical connections.
With the launch of #PondsKiJhappi in 2017, the brand looked at ways to take it forward and build on the same thought. Embodying warmth, love, and care, ‘Pond’s Ki Jhappi’ aims to spread the joy of real hug synonymous with the Cold Cream.
In June 2019, the brand took it upon itself to inspire women to rise above their limitations and listen to their inner voices to recognize the true beauty and courage through #SeeWhatHappens. It was rolled out in four key markets – India, Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Conceptualized by Ogilvy India and Singapore, Ponds unveiled the hero film, ‘The Boxer’, across all digital platforms that captured the very heart of the emotional quotient for the consumers, to become the voice for the female audiences. The campaign put forth an essential message for women to get past their ‘bruises’ and speak out their inner voice.
Although the brand doesn’t equip a specific social media page dedicated to Pond’s Cold Cream it has a prominent presence on social media as Pond’s India. The company could be seen actively promoting its diverse range of products across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube followed by frequent campaign announcements.
Simultaneously, it also ropes in influencers to amplify the brand message and product qualifications.
Having been around for more than 100 years now, the iconic Pond’s Cold Cream has been receiving love from generations of women and also tops the list of skincare essentials for leading global icons. The Pond’s cold cream advertising journey epitomizes a brand’s zeal and passion to be a consumer’s go-to product even as time flies.