Some 33 years after the Fevicol was launched came the television commercial with the memorable line 'dum lagake haisha,' which took the synthetic adhesive brand from Pidilite Industries into consumer homes and into advertising halls of fame. But over the past five decades a lot more has gone into "the 100% mindshare" that Prabhakar Jain, CEO, global Fevicol division at Pidilite, claims the brand has today.
From warding off competition — both small-scale to multinationals like Hoechst Dyes & Chemicals (which had a similar brand of white glue called Movicol); to creating a durable bond with carpenters; to innovative packaging and retailing that brought the brand within buying distance of households, the Fevicol story is one of progression and case study on how to transform a brand in a low-involvement category into one that enjoys recall and equity reserved for colas, soaps and shampoos.
Today Fevicol is distributed through 1,000 stockists, 60,000 retailers and has a presence across 80% towns of India — not bad for a brand whose core customer is the carpenter. "The carpenters give us valuable feedback because they use the product on a daily basis," explains Jain.
They also participate in what Fevicol calls Champion Day where every member of 'Carpenter Clubs' — in which carpenters are taught to read interior design drawings, and use new electric tools, amongst other activities — is required to undertake one day of social work. "These carpenters earn well, but lack prestige in the society. Through the various activities, we want to help them feel valued," explains Jain.
And then there's the advertising that made the brand a fast-moving consumer product. Ad veteran Piyush Pandey has been handling the brand since his early days at Ogilvy and counts the work done on Fevicol as among the best in his career. He reminisces about the time he first presented to the founders.
What Pandey had created was a radio spot for a brand extension called Fevitite, a 'super-fast' adhesive. "I did the voiceover, took a few of my colleagues and 5-6 people from my sister's theatre group and recorded it." The spot was 'Fevitite ka majboot jod hain…tutega nahi.' Pandey says he was very scared when he presented to the client, "I was only six months old in Ogilvy," he says.
When the Parekhs — the founders of Pidilite — heard the spot, they liked it a lot and asked Pandey to make a TVC out of it. Pandey then roped in his friend and editor Raju Hirani to act in the 'Dum Lagake Haisha' ad — way before Hirani went behind the camera to make '3 Idiots.'
When Pandey showed the ad to the Parekhs, he says "they spoke the most beautiful words that I have ever heard in my career to date." The family opened up the purse strings to Pandey and told them to re-shoot the entire commercial for Fevicol as they felt the ad was better suited to the mother brand.
Piyush's younger brother Prasoon Pandey, founder of Corcoise Films, remembers being confronted on the roads of Mumbai by a stranger. "He said you make Fevicol ads, right? I have an idea for you," guffaws Pandey. The elder Pandey gives complete credit to the client team. "Fevicol likes to experiment. They always say let's do something new. They are innovative and not risk averse. They are not formula-driven. And they are really quick at taking decisions, something I have never seen in MNCs," he shares. From being a scared advertising newbie, sent to handle a 'boring' client, Piyush Pandey rode on Fevicol and vice-versa to success.
For the longest time, Fevicol had the imagery of Rajasthan associated with it. However both Pandeys say it was not intentional. "We have grown up in Rajasthan, maybe that is why we found a lot of plots that lent themselves well to Fevicol," says Piyush. Talking about the 'Bus' commercial — which has an overcrowded bus but people don't fall off it thanks to Fevicol — which won a silver Lion at Cannes, Prasoon says they were initially planning to shoot in Film City, Mumbai. "But I had seen such overcrowded buses in Rajasthan. Travelling in a desert, with local people, I just knew Rajasthan would be a good setting for the ad," explains Prasoon.
Other unforgettable commercials against a Rajasthani backdrop from Ogilvy include one with the unbreakable egg (the hen was being fed out of a Fevicol can) and another is the 'moochwali' ad in which a girl sticks a moustache on for a skit — with Fevicol, obviously — only to be stuck with it for a lifetime.
Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director at Ogilvy, recalls creating a radio spot that went: "Woh kaunsi cheez hai job aapke cheezon ko hamesha jode rakhti hai? Bilkul sahi, bas wahi ek hai joh saalon se aapke cheezon ko jod raha hai." (What keeps things stuck together? Absolutely correct! It's the only thing that can keep things stuck for years.) In this spot, the brand name wasn't mentioned even once, but everybody understood that the spot is for Fevicol. "It is like Nike, which has a language of its own. You need not write Nike next to the swoosh. People know what it is," says Prasoon.
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3 Comments on this Story
null2981 days ago
Superb ads ... Fevicol... Perfect Marketing... Piyush Pandey Rocks...
KK2981 days ago
I really love the ads of fevicol..... great work guys..
Rakesh Gupta2982 days ago
Though both Pandey brothers are heading different institutions,the result remains A for both.Your family is CREATIVITY PERSONIFIED!I being a classmate of one of them in school never try to miss a talk or diktat on them!