Iconic Ads: Cinthol – Freshness with Imran

This campaign widened the appeal to include women through Imran’s star/sex appeal. Women were the primary decision-makers in the purchase of consumer goods,

Cinthol was known for its twin promise of freshness plus deodorant (fragrances). The tonality of the brand has been about challenging you to take on the outdoors without any inhibitions.

The legendary Sam Balsara was handling Godrej through Mudra, but Parmeshwar Godrej had a strong influence on the Cinthol creatives.

In 1985, Cinthol used legendary cricketer Imran Khan (at his peak). At that time, the thought was not to position itself as a men’s soap but to feature male celebrities to make it distinctive.

Parmeshwar called Shantanu Shorey to redo a TVC which she felt was terrible. Shantanu tried, but he could not make it any better. He suggested that he would shoot with Imran again. But Imran was in Udaipur by then, and he agreed to shoot there. (Imran had come with the Pakistan team for the 1987 Cricket World Cup)

The brief from Godrej was simple — to make it about cricket and freshness.

Without a script, Shantanu flew to Udaipur. En route, he figured what he would shoot.

Despite being unwell, Imran agreed to shoot the famous run up and close up of his.

Shantanu, along with Mahesh Aney shot the film. The next day Shantanu edited/ processed the film in Mumbai. In parallel, he requested Louis Banks for a quick track.

Within 48 hours the TVC was ready which he took to Delhi to show to Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej who were there then. The fastest ad he had ever done!

In the next few days, they also shot Imran in a tux at the Godrej bungalow in Mumbai, but the footage was not used.

This campaign widened the appeal to include women through Imran’s star/sex appeal. Women were the primary decision-makers in the purchase of consumer goods, especially soaps, so this was noteworthy.

In a sense, this was the start of Cinthol establishing as a macho brand (though it was not the intention) which was further reinforced by Vinod Khanna (that story in the next post).

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