Iconic Ads: Eveready – Give Me Red

Give Me Red – Three simple words that held out a brash promise of raw power, energy, exciting and young to appeal to the youth

In 1991, Eveready batteries, the market leader, was under severe threat in the emerging urban youth segment. Torches and transistors, the traditional products ran on the common D-sized large batteries. The new age Walkman’s, remotes and calculators ran on the slim AA-sized Japanese pen cells. And Eveready’s new offering in the AA size segment was six months away. The Japanese brands were going from strength to strength.

Eveready needed to burnish its imagery to counter the Japanese. Give the boring brand, a makeover with imagery the urban youth would gel with  – the brand for the new age electronic products, hip & latest.

The answer lay in Eveready’s product range. While the simple, no-frills White Eveready had become synonymous with torches, the metal-clad, techy-looking Red was the more urban product.

Rediffusion worked it out and how!

Subroto ‘SG’ Ghosh (account director) gave a great brief. Exciting times, markets were changing, Pepsi had come in, Star TV too. MTV was arriving soon. People were buying new stuff. Batteries were not just for “transistor radios”.  That was the old Eveready – The Chosen One for Your Transistor.”

The brief came to Gavin Barrett who came up with multiple options which Shanta (V Shantakumar) rejected

And finally the big idea ‘Give Me Red’ happened. 

ACD Bugs Bhargava went to Calcutta to present it. He dressed like an old man to represent the old brand, left the board room & came back later as a hip young college student with a Walkman and gear.

Sharad Nigvekar did those new zany layouts for the ads. Ehsaan Noorani did the peppy track and films were by Mahesh Mathai

The iconic campaign came to light. Three simple words that held out a brash promise of raw power/energy. An in your face brand, and served as the anchor for a commercial that was like no other seen on Indian television. Very MTVish

The campaign became the benchmark in terms of style, pace and sheer energy.

And boy, did it energize Eveready?  The AA Red raced to 38% market share, plus it boosted the entire range. And it was not just the urban youth who connected with it, but the brand’s loyal rural base as well. Lal became as much of a buzzword in the villages as Red was in the cities

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