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Making of VMLY&R India’s Grand Prix winning campaign

Mukund Olety, CCO, VMLY&R India and Arpan Jain, ECD, VMLY&R Commerce India on winning a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, making of Lion-winning campaigns, and the advertising trends that will shape the rest of 2022.

By  Priyanka NairAug 1, 2022 3:07 PM
Making of VMLY&R India’s Grand Prix winning campaign
Maxx Flash and VMLY&R claim that the packaging of The Killer Pack is lined with 5% Active Probiotic Bacillus thuringiensis, which kills mosquito larvae when disposed of in garbage dumps, thus helping to break the cycle.

In the recently concluded Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, VMLY&R India's 'The Killer Pack' campaign for Maxx Flash bagged a Grand Prix at the Health & Wellness Lions. The agency’s commerce division picked up a Gold Lion in the Creative Commerce category for Unilever’s ‘Smart Fill’ campaign. These big wins at a global platform like Cannes Lions is an indication that the agency is ramping up its capabilities to create more future-ready, cutting-edge work. For instance, 'The Killer Pack' campaign for Maxx Flash which fetched the agency a Grand Prix may look like a purpose-led initiative but it has more layers to it which made it stand out.

Here’s what the campaign focused on:

In India, garbage collection points act as major breeding grounds for diseases like dengue and malaria, while mosquito repellent coils are only used to fight mosquitoes inside homes, Maxx Flash and VMLY&R decided to change that. The mosquito repellent brand introduced The Killer Pack, with 100% biodegradable packaging lined with 5% Active Probiotic Bacillus thuringiensis, which kills mosquito larvae when disposed of in garbage dumps, dustbins, and stagnant water, which, the company claims, helps to break the cycle.

With ‘Smart Fill’, which was launched as Hindustan Unilever’s (a subsidiary of Unilever) in-store vending model for its home care products, VMLY&R Commerce is trying to move sustainability narrative to actual practice. The consumer giant has plans to expand ‘Smart Fill’ machines across prominent retailers and modern trade outlets in India. To access products from the Smart Fill machine, consumers can either use their old empty bottles or purchase a ‘Smart Fill’ bottle from the store at a nominal price.

Storyboard18 caught up with Mukund Olety, CCO, VMLY&R India and Arpan Jain, ECD, VMLY&R Commerce India, to dig into the making of these campaigns and the advertising trends that will shape the rest of 2022.

Read on:

VMLY&R India won Lions in categories like Creative Commerce and Creative Business Transformation. It’s putting India high up on the creative world map in categories it didn't have much presence in. What do clients really want from award winning agencies like yours?

Jain: Our winning campaigns are great examples of purpose powered creativity, which is what we stand for as an agency. Brands are looking for ideas that have the power to drive business transformation, while bringing about real change in society. It’s about adding value to a brand by adding value to its consumers’ lives.

What according to you makes Unilever’s ‘Smart Fill’ campaign a winning initiative?

Jain: The beauty of Smart Fill is that it stems from the Indian mindset of resourcefulness. India has a culture of thrift. Unlike the West, trade-offs are expected with every action. People carry their own bags to supermarkets to avoid paying for carry bags. It isn’t that they cannot afford a Rs5 carry bag on a shopping bill of Rs5000, but they do not want to be wasteful.

India also has a cultural practice of repurposing used packaging. Cookie tins are reused as sewing kits, soda bottles are converted into spray bottles.

So, it’s not just about providing an alternative to new plastic packaging but creating a strong ‘value’ connotation to drive mass adoption of the model.

What do people not know about a campaign like 'The Killer Pack' for Maxx Flash that picked up a Grand Prix this year?

Olety: The toughest part was executing the idea. While our client bought into the idea, we had to go through a whole lot of hurdles before we got our hands on the bacterial strain. It was not just difficult to access but also difficult to transport. And once we had the bacteria, we tried different ways to infuse it into the packaging. After multiple tries, a smart solution was found. We used a debossed design in which the bacteria was placed. We also managed to infuse it into the ink. That made the pack doubly potent. The bacteria in the ink releases immediately when in a moist environment and the bacteria in the debossed section starts to work as the pack breaks down.

In terms of the work at Cannes, what did you pick up as some of the key advertising trends that will shape the rest of the year?

Jain: You would have noticed the shift from creative e-commerce to creative commerce at Cannes this year. Creative commerce brings the element of conversion to brand experiences, making sure we give customers the option to buy online or in the physical space. This shift was to highlight the different emerging areas of commerce and it will broaden the horizons of creativity for business and talent, for years to come.

There was talk of aiming to make every ad a green ad by 2030, and I couldn’t agree more with the speakers. The future is all about sustainable innovation and we’re going to see a lot more.

We saw some really interesting campaigns that were set inside games in the metaverse. I look forward to seeing more brandverses come alive with fun interactions and unique experiences. If your campaign can entertain, enlighten and encourage purchases at the same time, you’ve struck gold!

First Published on Jul 1, 2022 9:56 PM