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

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.

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But this Valentine’s Day, Fortune turned the tables on the memers and trolls by coming out with a print campaign featuring Sourav 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?

The copy, in the form of a letter from Ganguly to fans, starts with the former India captain reassuring his fans that his heart is “just fine”. “It is as good as when I was playing. The niggle was merely in the artery leading up to the heart,” the copy states.

The ad ends by asking people to make themselves a “Heart Promise” on Valentine’s Day and also encourage those that they love to take the promise as well. “This is from my heart to yours”, signs off Ganguly in the ad.

With this print ad, Fortune has scored a great tactical comeback. Normally, brands connect with events which are relevant to them. But here, the quintessential heart symbol of Valentine’s Day has been turned into a care for your heart proposition by brand Fortune. At times brands need to think out of the box and come out with something different to stand out, which is what Fortune oil has done.

There is a similar instance like this where one of the pencil battery brands participated in a toy exhibition where they had a stall exhibiting their range of batteries. Brands today are thinking smart and are leaving no opportunities to stay relevant and stand out of the clutter. Is this communication honest and is there credibility to what the brand is communicating? Only the time will tell when the brand’s awareness scores and sales are measured.

Speaking to Adgully, Harish Bijoor, Brand-strategy specialist & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, said “The Adani Wilmar Fortune brand ad that showcases a very young and healthy looking Sourav Ganguly steals the thunder from naysayers and negativity-spewers on the use of Sourav Ganguly as a brand-endorser. This is a candid and refreshing use! It portrays Sourav as just any of us. It literally showcases the frailty of human life, and the need to look after your heart. A good day to choose showcasing the heart as well. A good V’Day message!”

Lloyd Mathias, Angel Investor and Business Strategist, too, felt it was a clever comeback by Fortune Oil, given all the trolling they were subject to when Sourav had the heart ailment. He added, “The ad nicely puts into perspective the fact that a healthy heart needs more than just a good cooking medium. So, by emphasising the need for an active lifestyle, exercise, health eating, sleep and testing, they have made a larger cause while standing by their brand ambassador. Also, using Valentine’s Day to kickstart this campaign is good timing, given the whole focus on hearts.”

Anup Sharma, Independent Communication Consultant, remarked, “Riding on topicality is always tricky. Brand Fortune riding on healthy heart had come under fire when its brand ambassador Sourav Ganguly had a heart ailment. The challenge for them was two-fold – countering the claims and also protecting the brand ambassador’s sensitivities. Coming out with a ‘public interest’ message on Valentine’s Day with a HEART Promise is a good move and resonates well amidst the clutter of another Valentine’s offer message.”

Rajesh Sikroria, Founder, Pontem Integrated, too, saw Valentine’s Day as a good day to put all speculations to rest. “Since the news of Dada’s heart ailment broke, social media has been buzzing with points of views of what next from the brand. The brand and agency teams must have had many sleepless nights thinking what next. But this ad is a brilliant stroke at three levels –firstly, on a day where papers were full of pink hearts and roses, it surely broke the clutter. It also demonstrated a belief and a commitment to a partnership. And finally, they came across as accepting their vulnerabilities. It’s amazing. This ad made them more human, real and authentic, than probably all their past advertising put together.”

“Since today is the day when we can openly do “hearty-talks”, I think the brand did right by picking up a topical topic on Valentine’s Day with none other than Sourav Ganguly. The heart is very well associated by a Heart Promise, which we normally do with our beloved. And Sourav here gives the message of following a healthy regime – healthy living is through a healthy heart,” remarked Gauri Awasthi, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, DIGITAL EDIFY, while adding a heart emoji to her response.


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