It goes without saying that the Covid-19 induced lockdown has impacted each and every sphere of life — including festivals — in an adverse manner. This year’s Raksha Bandhan, too, is no different. But interestingly, quite a few companies have taken up the age-old festival and turned it into a ‘brand’ new style. As a result, several big brands have come up with their new ad films by weaving in Covid-19 related sentiments, as well as paying a tribute to Covid warriors.

For instance, the respective ad films of a top jewellery brand and a pharmaceutical company highlight the ethos of ‘protection’ (associated with Raksha Bandhan) vis-à-vis Corona warriors such as doctors and nurses etc. At the same time, a flower/gifting brand’s commercial shows a brother and sister celebrating a “virtual” rakhi, even as she tells him that it’s time “to stay safe at home.” 

That’s not all. A courier firm has also come up with a special offer encouraging the ‘Bonds of Solidarity’ to thank Covid-19 warriors. Incidentally, not just the Covid-19 connect, another ad film — featuring actor Ayushmann Khurrana — has taken a ‘different’ route by showing him tying a rakhi to his sister for always protecting him during tough times.

“We, as a nation, are extremely sentimental and emotional, especially about our relationships. That’s why, when such ads strike an emotional chord, there’s nothing like it. And if that happens, people are going to remember these products even after the dust is settled on the Coronavirus situation,” says ad guru Prahlad Kakkar. 

Ad filmmaker and Bollywood director, R Balki feels it’s all about “how such ads are put together, and what kind of emotions they evoke.” He says: “Vis-à-vis such an ad film, what’s most important is that the first one who goes off the hook always attracts eyeballs. But if everyone starts doing the same thing, then the novelty factor goes out of the picture. So, whoever comes out with it first stands to gain.”

Experts, on their part, feel what’s most important for companies, is to capture people’s mood. “2020 was different on every vertical. This year, the world crumbled around us, giving way to a pandemic that shook businesses and individuals across the world. While most of us stayed in the safety of our homes, our Covid-19 warriors geared up at their action stations to ensure the health and safety of all,” says Ketan Kulkarni, CMO and head (business development) of Blue Dart that has come up with its ‘Rakhi Express’ campaign. 

For film trade analyst Taran Adarsh, the “emotions associated with a festival” never goes wrong — be it films, TV or ads. “At the end of the day, it’s all about how makers weave in the sentiments along with the ongoing mood and branding. If done correctly, it can benefit the brand as well as create an long-lasting emotional bond with people,” he says. 

Virtual rakhi!

As Coronavirus continues its grip, this year’s Raksha Bandhan is seeing the festivities going digital, as a number of siblings have bought rakhis and gifts online. Not just that, with travel restrictions still not off completely across the country, video chats and con calls with family members have turned the festival virtual in a big way this year. As Lucknow-based Garima Vohra says: “Every year, I would travel to Delhi to be with my brothers. But this year, I will make do with Zoom calls, as it’s not safe to travel.”

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