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Patanjali Paridhan: Lessons their ad teaches us about poor advertising

For those who think I am being mean to Patanjali marketing guys, in my defense, nothing disappoints me more than brands with unclear offerings, misguided communication and tons of marketing moolah spent with the wrong content.

Patanjali had so much potential to become a great brand not so long ago. It had good products to start with. It had the right ingredients, a trusted brand ambassador (though misplaced in my honest opinion), and the support of millions.

But they have thrown it all away with their poorly thought out marketing communications and weak brand architecture.

I know many people are going ga-ga over the Saatchi and Saatchi created ad launched recently. It definitely has good production values and has captured the colors and vibrancy of Indian culture and some Indian ethnic wear quite well. But the whole essence of the ad is lost in a confused set of patriotic gestures spread in no particular direction, neither benefiting the brand nor re-emphasizing its qualities.

Anyway, I am not one who buys into things easily; especially if the brand commitments in their communication are not really adding up. I can only infer that the marketing brains in this company probably did not think this one through (like they didn’t with any other brand of theirs).

Before launching a product, any brand first looks at its ideal target segment (TG), who is the product meant for, and what offering would it have for the TG. What would the reason to believe be for the product offering, as in why would anyone believe in your offering.

We will get into the details of product launch and brand communication aspects in another post at a future date. However, in this post, lets dissect what this advert says, or rather “tries” to say.

Lets watch the ad once.

It starts off with a “blink-and-miss” line saying, “Aa raha hai Desh ka rakhne maan, Patanjali Paridhan”. I am not sure what it is really supposed to mean and who it wants to appeal to.

Probably these guys are trying to target the insecurity of the bunch of Indians who feel that MNCs and big organizations are mooching off us Indians. So, literally speaking, the advert starts off saying, Patanjali Paridhan is coming to preserve the respect of the country.

Pause it here and ponder over this.

We should have a moment of celebration here to acknowledge that finally there is a big Indian clothing brand that we have all been waiting for. Like a premium branded “Dhoti-Kurta” that I can wear and strut around proudly,

“Yay! Indian brand, screw you firangs!”

But heck wait, aren’t there existing brands already who are also “Preserving” our “Respect”? So, whats new or unique about this?

Lets un-pause and go over the next few seconds of the commercial.

“Dhak le tan ko mann mein tu (whetever this might mean), chal har trend se khele hu-tu-tu, Tan-Man-Dhan-India-pan”

I would have tolerated the use of words like “trend” and “cool” in this advert. Its language and one can’t help but adapt to millenials speaking this way. But hey, this was about the Indian-ness right? Where did the guy wearing a western jacket and trousers come from, sitting on a tempo, basking in the hot Indian sun amidst bananas? And seems to be holding what looks like an iPad or some tablet.

And I am like, “Whaaaaaaaaa?”

And then, just as the questions start cropping up in the minds of cynics like me, the singer goes back on track saying, “Disco mein dhoti kyun nahi? Daftar mein khaadi kyun nahi?”

And I am like, “Yeah baby, that’s what we are talking about! Clarity in communication. Bring it on!”.

And then again, there comes this weird looking girl with paint all over her face, wearing jeans and a full sleeved shirt, buttoned up and looking like the the Indian Goddess, Kali Mata, in a 21st century poorly disguised avatar.

Doesn't she look like she is wearing a shirt a couple of sizes larger than required?
Doesn’t she look like she is wearing a shirt a couple of sizes larger than required?

And we all go like, “Dude this is cheating!”

On one hand you say “Dhoti Khadi so cool”, and the next second you are like “Ripped jeans are the Indian thing”.

After that the ad-makers continue with their rant about connecting to the roots, and that our culture and clothing are as good as any other country’s. And all this comes with a whole lot of confusing visualization of kids skateboarding, dancers dancing traditional, boxers in the ring, people doing Yoga, and what not!

Well, what is the sensible consumer supposed to make of it? Am I going to be wearing Indian clothes if I buy Patanjali? Or is it western clothes made in India marketed by Patanjali?

Is it competing with American brands? or with Indian brands like FabIndia and Khadi Gramodyog?

I don’t know. It just seems all over the place.

The only thing that is clear is that when you wear Patanjali, you are supposed to feel Indian. Scratch that. When you wear Patanjali, you are supposed to gain Dignity and Self-respect.


No answer, just because the ad says so.

Is it better quality? Or better designs? or Most widely available or cater to all types of Indian ethnicity?

No clue!

So, what are the features or the USP of the product that would differentiate them?

USP? What USP? We have Baba Ramdev!

Bottom line is: I think the ad-makers probably did not think any of the above is important to highlight. Or maybe, they really don’t have any such offering and are just banking on the gullibility of the masses who will fall flat on their bellies at the sight of Baba Ramdev.

Follow Baba Ramdev!

Yup, probably that’s exactly what the last shot of the ad says. Don’t think much, just follow the Baba in saffron wear.

Anyway, these were some of my thoughts when I watched the advert. I probably would not have bothered to watch it, but some people were so head-over-heels in love with the brand in the comments section, that I had to watch it.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. If you have one which contradicts mine please feel free to drop your comments in the section below. I would love to learn a thing or two from you.

And of course, if you agree with me, then it would give me great pleasure to hear it from you.

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