Association with Sourav Ganguly has been mutually beneficial: Ajay Motwani

Fortune, the edible oil brand from Adani Wilmar, has seized upon the opportunity to turn an unforeseen adverse incident into a smart topical marketing strategy. One would recall that not so long ago, Fortune was the target of memes and trolls when its brand ambassador, Sourav Ganguly, suffered a heart attack. Fortune oil’s healthy for heart proposition came under attack. But the oil brand very smartly handled the situation and temporarily held back the campaign where Ganguly was endorsing the brand. This Valentine’s Day, Fortune turned the tables on the memes and trolls by coming out with a print campaign featuring Ganguly. Using the long copy format, the Fortune ad said, “Today seems like a good day to talk about the heart”. The thinking is very smart and tactical– why should people talk about heart issues only on ‘World Heart Day’ (September 29)? Isn’t February 14th also about ‘heart issues’, albeit in a different way? 

Also read:

What should be Brand Fortune’s stance after Sourav Ganguly’s cardiac arrest? 

Fortune Oil’s Valentine’s Day campaign is a lesson in smart tactical comeback

Speaking to Adgully, Ajay Motwani, Chief Marketing Officer, Adani Wilmar, explains how they conceptualised the print communication to mitigate the negative views floating around and what made it special to leverage Valentine’s Day for the campaign.

Brand Fortune Rice Bran Oil bounced back with a new print campaign on Valentine’s Day. How did this idea come up and why did you particularly choose this day to bring back Sourav Ganguly talking about health?

While Dada’s health issue was stabilising, we had put out a message stating the facts, which centered on Rice Bran Oil being recommended by both national and international agencies for heart health and wishing Dada a speedy recovery. Once Dada recovered fully, we wished to convey his side of the story. The heart is a complex organ, and it needs multiple initiatives to stay healthy. Dada, despite his youth and high levels of activity and exercise, still had to face a heart ailment. It could have been more severe, if not for his healthy lifestyle and habits. Dada also wanted to ask everyone to take care of their heart health. Valentine’s Day was the right platform to break heart-centric messaging.  

What was your objective for this campaign? How do you plan to extend this campaign to other mediums to reach out a larger audience?

The objective was to reassure our consumers who put faith in our products and this thought was further affirmed by Dada. In Dada’s case, it was a family history of heart ailments. Precisely to reach out to a larger audience, we chose our social media assets to start with and also did a print advertisement. 

While Sourav Ganguly is the current brand ambassador, are you planning to explore a new brand ambassador going forward? Are there any plans to rope in a female icon as brand ambassador?

Dada is our brand ambassador and we are not considering anyone else to represent Brand Fortune. He is the best fit, and his past cricketing career and current role at BCCI demand high standards of fitness and strength. He is also someone who is a well-known, well-loved, respected, and popular face across the country. The association has been mutually beneficial. 

Valentine’s Day was a good tactical move. What are the plans for the future on the communications front to build the brand with a more sustainable campaign?

Heart health is a 365-day issue, so we plan to build on this message that has broken on Valentine’s Day. The idea of ‘Take Care of Your Heart’ in a holistic way will be amplified in the days to come. 

In the interim period when you held back the earlier campaign, how did you ensure to keep the brand top of mind?  How did you reassure your channel and distribution partners on the same? Did you notice any dip in sales?

We had halted our TV commercial for a brief period in deference to Dada, who was recovering during the time. We educated everyone on the facts of the case – that rice bran oil is considered to be one of the world’s most healthy oils. It contains natural antioxidants. Gamma Oryzanol present in rice bran oil reduces bad cholesterol and improves lipid profile. Several national and international health organisations agree on the health benefits of rice bran oil. According to World Health Organization (WHO) and American Heart Association (AHA), rice bran oil has the best possible composition of monosaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats as compared to other vegetable oils.

Even the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has found that rice bran oil contains MUFA, Omega-6 PUFA, and natural antioxidants like Oryzanol, Tocopherols and Tocotrienols, which lower bad cholesterol levels. Bad cholesterol levels are known to directly influence our general health and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

However, our recent step to bounce back was specially to reassure our consumers and partners. In the letter, Sourav himself reassured his fans that his heart is “just fine” and made everyone take the H.E.A.R.T. Promise to take care of it by adopting a healthy lifestyle. This entire move was well received by industry experts.


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