Iconic Ads: Saint Gobain – The Future of Glass

St Gobain wanted to communicate the international credentials and convert the commodity into a brand which people will ask for.

Glass was seen as a commodity in 2000. The technology used in India was old and the glass inferior quality.

Saint Gobain, one of the largest multinationals in float glass manufacturing, had the best technology and quality. It wanted to popularize the brand.

Lintas was handling their advertising.

Saint Gobain wanted to communicate the international credentials and convert the commodity into a brand which people will ask for. The brand was unheard-of, and if people knew about it, they knew it as Sant Gobind! Plus, the glass was expensive!

There was another problem, Lintas had spent most of the advertising budget. One was for the announcement of a factory inauguration (newspaper double-spreads), the second for the visit of the French ambassador. So, practically the budget for 2 years was spent in a few days.

In stepped Pops Sridhar. First, he went to the client and apologized for the mistakes. He told the client that with the remaining money, he will try to make up.

The campaign needed an international look and feel. It had to connect with every man, woman and child with a simple & relatable story.

The film decided to go the consumer route rather than a product route to create a premium-ness. It avoided talking to the intermediaries like distributors, shop owners, architects, etc. Saint Gobain wanted to be the image leader, hence the line “The future of glass since 1665” was used.

Pops pulled in favours. Ram Madhvani directed the film, and given the limited resources, the commercial was filmed in Renaissance Hotel, Mumbai. The woman in the ad was a carpet exporter from Africa. She was staying at the hotel and did the film practically free. The two Chinese men were cooks in roadside carts.

An original music track was created on the fly.

Many things were done free. Ram called it the “Pops Relief Fund”. The film was created for around Rs 8 lakhs. And the film was shot in 8 hours!

The advertising helped Saint- Gobain get top of mind recall and leadership. Thanks to it, there was big demand for distribution.

It was so popular that in a Tamil film starring Madhavan, he mentioned that he was the person who created the Saint Gobain advertising when asked what he did for employment.

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