Its last brand extension was in June last year – in the waterproof adhesive category. But Fevicol seems to be in a mood to make up for lost time. The Rs 2,500 crore Pidilite Industries, the owner of Fevicol, said last week that the company will launch three to four new products in this financial year. That means one new product every two months.
That is obviously one way of breaking the flat growth brand Fevicol has seen this year, courtesy rising interest rates that has impacted home buying – a major contributor to the adhesive’s sales. The company’s bid to appeal to newer segments of the market was reflected in the launch of two of its earlier products – Fevicol Marine and Fevicol Speedx, brand extensions having attributes like resistance to water and faster setting time.
But there is little else that Fevicol has to worry about. The brand with an over 75 per cent market share in the adhesives category probably enjoys unparalleled recall value that can be largely attributed to its iconic advertising created by advertising agency O&M – from the unbreakable eggs, the vagabond child, a bus full of people to the latest married couple followed by a cyclist commercial.
According to Piyush Pandey, executive chairperson and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy India, who has been associated with the brand for over 27 years, “The success of Fevicol lies in its earthiness and its ability to connect with the consumers across segments. All communication designed for Fevicol exploits the traditions and culture of India and carries with it a sense of ‘ghar ka banaya hua Fevicol.”
But the perception of Fevicol and its consumer connect that Pandey speaks of has evolved over the years. In fact, Madhukar B Parekh, MD, Pidilite Industries admits that the creation of an iconic brand was not something that they had planned or envisaged. It was for all practical intent, an accident, beginning from the time when Pandey coined the memorable line, ‘Dum lagake, zor lagake haisha’ which has long since been associated with the brand.
Interestingly, the line was not meant for Fevicol. In fact it wasn’t even a commercial but rather a radio spot penned for another Pidilite brand, Fevi Tight. However, when the Pidilite team heard it, they believed the idea was much larger than the brand it was intended for.
With this choice, Pidilite continued with its tradition of focusing on what they believe is their product’s USP, strength. And O&M continued to enhance this image of the product, which the agency itself had laid the grounds for as early as 1970 by designing its logo of two elephants, denoting what else, strength. It has also retained a sense of simplicity in all its communication. Fevicol commercials use minimal audio component like dialogues.
Over the years, the creative brief hasn’t changed much. It is as loose as “create an interesting situation and maintain consistency.” But instead of getting stuck in a rut, the stance has worked to Pidilite’s advantage. “There is no point tinkering with what we have as we have managed to achieve what we set out for – to create a brand that builds an emotional bond with its consumers ,” says Prabhakar Jain, CEO, Fevicol Division, Pidilite Industries.
O&M says it gets emails and feedback from its consumers regularly sharing ideas for Fevicol commercials. Pandey recalls the Fevicol shadow advertisement which wasn’t created by the agency. It was created by an editor in a film making company. He approached Pandey who was so impressed by the idea that he immediately took it for Fevicol.
According to Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, O&M, “Besides the quality of the advertising, the company’s strategic stance is also responsible for popularising the brand.” He feels they are extremely savvy about their media planning. So, while an average advertisement is usually 25-30 seconds long, Fevicol advertisements are almost double the run time at around 55-60 seconds. They may not be played repeatedly, just enough number of times to ensure that the story is imprinted on the viewer’s mind before cutting the film short.
However, the advertising is just one aspect of the brand building exercise. The company has adopted a two-pronged approach for popularising their product by reaching out directly to their key clientele, the carpenters and contractors. They run ‘Fevicol Champions Clubs’ across the country with a total membership of over 25,000. These clubs serve as a platform for the community to interact and work together. In addition to these clubs, the company prints at least six volumes of interior design booklets each year. These booklets are distributed via various channels to the community. They are sold, given away complimentary with products or even as freebies during the relationship building activities.
The brand’s communication has seamlessly moved from rational-based to emotion-based over the past two decades. But, like they say, life comes full circle. And it is back to the basics at the Fevicol stable. As they shift to advertising for their technologically superior variants Marine (water proof adhesive) and Speedx (a quick drying adhesive), they are revisiting their evergreen ‘Dum lagake, zor lagake haisha’ slogan, albeit this time for Marine, setting in motion the wheels all over again.
To sum up, in Parekh’s words, this would be the strategy going forward – to refresh the offerings rather than the communication. The company would endeavour to offer its customers more technically superior products.