Surf Excel is one of those brands that has been successful in developing powerful Ramadan campaigns. The brand knows the power of a creative idea and most importantly how to execute it in more ways than one. Dagh Tou Achay Hotay Hain stands out as the most creative idea in the detergent industry. We were expecting yet another emotionally jolting campaign for the holy month but Ramadan 2020 has a different story to tell.
Throughout Surf Excel’s Ramadan campaigns ‘neki’ has always been at the core of the big idea. Exploring the ‘neki’ part along with the concept of ‘Dagh’ the detergent did wonders. We saw one good campaign after another. In times of Coronavirus everything is turned upside down. Surf Excel has missed the whole point.
Whatever we held dear and cherished as the most vital social values has become a curse. Man is a social animal, but we are forced to practice social distancing. Believers cannot go to their places of worship. And the sole bread earners of families are not allowed to venture out to make a living. When things are that gloomy Surf Excel should have thought twice before taking the idea into production.
The TVC Neki Nahi Rukegi shows kids, as it always does in Ramadan campaigns, doing little deeds of kindness for his fellow neighbors. The kids venture out of the house to provide for the poor who might need food and other help. There is no harm in showing children caring for the community they live in but certainly not when the entire world is facing a health emergency at staying home is the only act of kindness you can do. COVID-19 is the biggest contagion the world has ever seen.
The best message of ‘neki’ that any brand can possibly give right now is STAY HOME. Staying home is the only virtuous thing right now. We seem more concerned with feeding the hungry than saving lives. If you stay home you are not only saving yourself but also many others in the process.
Surf Excel has tried to force-fit its previous campaigns to make a new one for Corona-hit-Ramadan. In most of the sequences, the TVC does not even show the kids wearing the mask or gloves as they go about the neighborhood. Surf has made a mistake that you may not even expect from Ariel or Bonus. Brands are focusing on public service messages and how to cope with the Corona crisis. Take the example of Lifebuoy. It instructs us to wash hands regardless of the soap we may be using. By putting the message first Lifebuoy has earned more esteem than it ever could by putting the product first.
Surf Excel has failed to realize the intensity of the current situation. The unprecedented crisis called for a completely new way of thinking. Surf Excel could have established the point for all kids and grownups that staying home is the best ‘neki’. Giving the right message was more important than sticking with the brand idea obsessed with Dagh Tou Achay Hotay Hain.
Surf Excel Ramadan 2020 campaign should have a disclaimer, ideally at the beginning of the ad, saying “what the audience is about to see is for brand promotion only. Kids are advised not to mimic or replicate any action shown in the ad and are strictly advised to stay home”.