Iconic Ads: Camlin Permanent Markers – Vermillion Bindi

The bindi is very significant in Indian culture. It is a symbol of marriage and that was used for the commercial.

In the mid-2000s, Camlin had launched Permanent Markers. A product that was low involvement and unexciting. Such products need impactful advertising which builds salience and top of mind recall especially at the time of purchase.

The primary target was corporate professionals, couriers, baggage personnel and people in the transport/service area. Households formed the secondary audience.

Lowe Lintas decided that they would not do a conventional product-oriented ad. So they looked at different ways to communicate it.

After much brainstorming with ideas like tattoos and permanent writing on rocks being rejected, the bindi idea was selected as the most impactful.

The bindi is very significant in Indian culture. It is a symbol of marriage.

The rituals & customs which are followed like Rudali and removing the bindi, on being a widow are still followed in many parts of India. While Lintas was delving deeper into the details especially the death rituals, they realized that the Rudalis are paid to ‘perform’ crying.

The bindi is removed for logical reasons though. When a husband dies, a woman typically goes into a shock and is not capable of expressing her sorrow. By removing all symbols which state that she is married, she is influenced to accept reality.

Priti Nair and Arun Iyer worked on the creatives. Abhinay Deo shot the film in Mumbai. It was he who introduced a Bollywood flavour like the flame of the oil lamp going off when the husband is shown dead. It was also to bring a sense of ‘unrealism’. The flashback was also his contribution a la Bollywood.

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