How Berger Paints kept brand recall value high during the lockdown

Sachin Karweer, Business Head, HGS Interactive, and Upasana Dash, Digital Marketing Manager, Berger Paints India
Sachin Karweer, Business Head, HGS Interactive, and Upasana Dash, Digital Marketing Manager, Berger Paints India

In the times of COVID-19, HGS Interactive, part of the multi-billion dollar conglomerate Hinduja Group, helped their client, Berger Paints alter its communication strategy and drive the message of staying home and staying safe, and to use this time creatively and Paint Your Imagination (in line with the brand’s tagline). HGSi also helped Berger Paints serve its stakeholders, who have played a key role in building the company up over the years.

The Campaign

It is hardly a surprise that the usage of smartphones and computers have gone up considerably as people look for ways to kill boredom and pass time during the lockdown. Most people are feeling bored, lonely and confused. With so much media coverage on the devastating impact of the virus, it is easy to be swept up in the doom and gloom.

Also read: Britannia Good Day encourages India to #RaiseTheCurveOfHappiness

Right now, brands should be creating content that help customers and pack in a feel-good factor. HGSi delivered a viral campaign for Berger Paints India, wherein they collaborated with celebrities like Rannvijay Singha, Adah Sharma and former cricketer Akash Chopra to take over social channels and give a glimpse of ‘A Day in Their Life’ (Quarantine Edition).

The campaign garnered over one million views and the followers were thrilled to see their favourite stars engaging with them and sharing tips on how to pass time in lockdown.

Brands that use this time to be promotional and commercial will not fare well. Instead, when brands lean into the message of safety and wellbeing, it shows their customers that they care about them. Consumers recognise authenticity and true purpose.

HGSi helped Berger Paints India collaborate with health and fitness influencers like Yasmin Karachiwala (Celebrity Fitness Trainer), Pooja Makhija (Nutritionist) and Dr Animesh (Surgeon), who shared tips on boosting immunity and staying healthy during the pandemic. To drive home the message of brand relevancy, the campaign was sponsored by Berger’s Home Shield Waterproofing Solutions that helps boost the immunity of home walls.

Additionally, HGSi has adopted next generation predictive analytics services and solutions that help harness the power of big data without exhausting human and infrastructure resources.

Adgully spoke to Sachin Karweer, Business Head, HGS Interactive, and Upasana Dash, Digital Marketing Manager, Berger Paints India, to know more about the campaign and how the brand kept itself relevant and top of mind of consumers during the time when they were confined to their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What was the objective of this viral campaign?
Sachin Karweer: At a time when most services have been forced into hibernation due to the nation-wide lockdown, it was imperative for a brand like Berger Paints India to continue engaging with the audience and keep the brand recall value high. Our main objective with these viral campaigns was to maintain brand engagement and reach. With so much going on, we were looking to bolster positivity and good ethos, while spreading the message of safety and overall well-being.

Your new campaign for Berger has a new communication strategy which is driving the new message. What is the new communication strategy and what was the old communication strategy? Who is your core target audience that you are trying to reach?

Sachin Karweer: This is not the time to change your communication strategy, but to be more real and transparent with your audience. The communication strategy during the lockdown period was an extension of the existing communication. One of Berger’s top selling services, Waterproofing Solutions, is called Home Shield. We communicated to people that right now your ‘home’ is what is ‘shielding’ you from the virus, stay home and stay safe. With this approach, we were able to be relevant and build a relationship with the audience without it being transactional or promotional. Since people were spending extended time at home, they began rediscovering hobbies or making new ones, we encouraged them to ‘Paint Your Imagination’, positioning the brand’s tagline. We also collaborated with celebrities to show how they are using this time to brush up on their hobbies. When it comes to the main target audience, it would be homeowners who are planning to paint their homes in the next year or two and interior designers and architects.

What was the brief given by the client for the two campaigns? How did you go about getting the insights and expressing them creatively to stand out the clutter? How did you execute the campaigns during lockdown?

Sachin Karweer: The brief for both campaigns was to collaborate with celebrities and create content to increase brand visibility and engage with the audience amid the lockdown. With anxiety levels through the roof and so much uncertainty, one thing was clear – we needed to communicate in a manner that was relevant, positive, empathetic and transparent to stand out from the clutter. Instead of just collaborating with the celebrities, we decided to get them to take over Berger’s Instagram for a day and show a day in their life. The campaign was conceptualised and executed in a span of a week, over several virtual brainstorming sessions, video meetings and a collaborative approach from the agency, client and celebrities involved.

You have used two different sets of celebrities for the two campaign, where in one you have leveraged the tagline ‘Paint Your Imagination’ and the other one you played upon the brand property of ‘Home Shield’. How did you go about identifying the celebrities and what was the criteria for their selection for the two campaign?

Sachin Karweer: For the ‘Paint Your Imagination’ campaign, we wanted to reach out to celebrities from different niches (sports, entertainment and movies). We collaborated with celebrities like Rannvijay Singha (Television Star), Adah Sharma (Actress) and Akash Chopra (Cricket Commentator and Former Cricketer) to take over Berger’s social channels and give us a glimpse of A Day in Their Life. For the ‘Home Shield’ campaign, we tied up with health and fitness experts like Yasmin Karachiwala (Celebrity Fitness Trainer), Pooja Makhija (Nutritionist) and Dr Animesh (Surgeon), who shared tips on boosting immunity and staying healthy during the pandemic.

These campaigns were very lockdown specific. Post lockdown how do you plan to use these campaigns and is there any new proposition that you are planning to reach your audience digitally?

Sachin Karweer: The campaigns were very lockdown specific, but the end goal was to leverage digital platforms and stay on top of minds of consumers. So that eventually as the restrictions lift and things get back to normal, we are likely to hit the ground running instead of having to start afresh. Post lockdown, we have moved towards the communication of painting home safely, with stringent hygiene and cleaning protocols, so people can paint their homes stress-free!

What was the response from the audience? What has been media strategy on the digital front? What was the duration of the campaigns?

Sachin Karweer: The ‘Paint Your Imagination’ campaign garnered over one million views, while the ‘Home Shield’ campaign had over 5 lakh impressions and 4,853 clicks. Each campaign lasted for about a week.

Client Speak

What prompted you to take the viral route? What were your objectives to do these films from the marketing point of view? What was the TG?

Upasana Dash: With most people cooped up inside their homes due to the nation-wide lockdown, we wanted to use this time to increase engagement and brand visibility. The main TG was anyone and everyone who would use our paints and painting services, that is, females and males above the age of 30. We selected campaign promoters and collaborators keeping this in mind, including Rannvijay Singha of ‘Roadies’ fame that this age group grew up watching, or fitness experts as people in their 30s and 40s are particular about their eating and health habits.

Do you plan to use this idea and extend it to TVCs? Finally, being on TV is what helps you achieve your reach objectives...

Upasana Dash: No, this was a digital campaign, keeping in mind that during the lockdown more people were browsing the Internet and engaging digitally. However, we have TVCs planned for the post lockdown period.


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