Raymond out to empower the Complete Man with a refreshed vision of black

Madhu S Dutta
Madhu S Dutta

Brand Raymond, which has been associated with class and finesse and has been creating new benchmarks for ‘The Complete Man’, has now come out with a new campaign that’s high on the emotional quotient. 

Conceptualised by Grey Group India, the new campaign – ‘It all begins with black’ – celebrates the colour Black. Featuring Indo-Canadian artist and song writer Jugpreet Singh Bajwa, the ad also adds the spirit of a visually impaired person expressing the vision he has for the colour black. 

Commenting on the new ad film, Sandipan Bhattacharyya, Chief Creative Officer, Grey Group, said, “It is this realisation that the film is a visually impaired person’s interpretation of black – that makes it go beyond the domain of fictitious, glorified fashion and into a real journey inside the narrator’s mind. Only a brand like Raymond can bravely embrace authenticity and seamlessly mash it up with fashion." 

Adgully explores the concept behind the ad, the strategy behind the media planning, and much more with Madhu S Dutta, Marketing Head, Raymond Ltd. Datta explains that the ad is for all of us as much as it is for any individual and not at all a cause-specific theme. The only underlining theme is celebrating the shades of black as a colour of simplicity, grace and a must-have essential in every Indian man’s wardrobe. Excerpts: 

Raymond being a classy, elite yet subtle gentleman’s fabric manufacturer, do you see ‘It All Begins with Black’ as a redefining campaign for the brand?
Raymond has been a legacy brand of over 90 years. There is a lot of finesse and classiness attached to the name, along with the world acclaimed fabric manufacturer across multiple categories. It has always been our endeavour to be a part of a complete gentleman’s wardrobe essentials. The latest ad campaign has been formulated keeping that in mind, and also for the colour Black, a perennial fashion colour, yet often considered a quiet and one-dimensional colour. This entire campaign was initiated with a business requirement to communicate with our consumers. In our over-all portfolio, 10-15 per cent is black fabric ranging up to Rs 3 lakh on price point. However, we have over 1,000 styles in black with various renditions and makes as an essential in everybody’s wardrobe. 

For the conceptualisation, we wanted to give a deeper meaning to the colour black and create something different for this stylish colour. Our idea was to use fashion through a lyrical expression and that’s when we settled for the four things that black expresses. We wanted to use the versatility of the colour, so, the idea of seeing black from the perspective of a person who has visual impairment, but not in a way to sympathise with them but rather empower them. We looked at it purely from an artist’s perspective. 

It’s a very simple campaign with a creative idea of perceiving black through the eyes of a person who has a different vision for the colour and resonates with Raymond’s over-all thought process of an honest brand that is not over-the-top. Basing on that, the communication is rather empowering every individual. 

The brand has always created ripples with its impactful ads, but seems selective with their exposure on air. How do you strategise the media planning?
The media plan is as per the TG. On a GEC, a Raymond ad is less likely to be there because the consumption of our TG is quite different from that of GEC viewers. The woman TG versus the Male TG is present on very different channels. We go into very sharp media planning. We do more commercials on sports, infotainment channels and English channels. However, if it is festive time or we have a festive campaign, then the entire feel and the messaging changes, so the presence on GECs also changes. For example, during Diwali, we are more present on the general entertainment channels because it becomes all about family and practical styling of campaign changes. 

How will you promote the latest ‘It All Starts with Black’ campaign? Which platform will have the lion’s share?
Obviously, television is the lead for this, but we have a lot of digital intervention for this campaign. We also have social media platforms that we are exploiting, including Facebook and Instagram, along with our digital channel. We have also done some social media influencer activities. The buzz is there on social media. The campaign is at the stores because there the focus is at the collection, so it’s a different storytelling there. 

What was the brief given to the creative agency, Grey Group? What are your views on the conceptualisation and the creative representation?
When we realise that there is potential in the bringing out the versatility of the colour black and the over 1,000 styles of the same in our portfolio, we decided to have a campaign that went beyond just selling the colour. It had to be an impactful and meaningful expression, while moving away from just being a product. The final representation is emotional, which has really worked for us because of the subtlety of a beautiful expression – it empowers an individual and that is so Raymond! 

Please provide some insight into how Raymond allocates its budget for ad spends? How has it advanced over the years?
It depends on the TG that we allocate budget. So, going for the right kind of media and associations is what our budget allocation is based on. In our overall budget, we allocate budget for different mediums that we work on. It also depends on the integrated initiatives that we do, both offline and online. We believe in extending our budget for the right spaces and the right associations. 

Will we see any in-film collaborations or influencer advertising in the pipeline for Raymond for this new range celebrating colour black as a part of your promotional activity? Has Raymond done any such activity before?
We have not done in-film collaborations, because Raymond has such a celebrity stature, and ‘The Complete Man’ is such a soulful expression that it doesn’t need celebrity endorsement. However, in future if there is a proper brand sequence that does justice to the brand and if there is a strong message that the film and brand hold together along with a great script, there can be associations. 

What are your comments on the association with Indo-Canadian artist Jugpreet Singh Bajwa for this campaign? Will there be more cause-specific campaigns that Raymond may associate with in future?
It was a very strong script that we had and Jugpreet agreed to be a part of this. We wanted somebody to do justice to this creative expression, and not trivialise the ingenuity of the concept. We wanted to cast someone who was genuinely in that space who could also seamlessly fit into the scheme of things. We took two months to finalise the casting and Jugpreet, being an artist, a writer and singer himself, represents the concept very well and does justice to the concept and the brand. His personality fitted really well. 

The ad is as human and as normal as all of us, we do not want to look down on anyone. The ad has nothing to do with any cause, but the concept is an empowering one, where an artist is expressing his vision for the colour and resonating the same with the brand. 

For Raymond as a brand, how do you look at the regional space for branding purposes?
We do a lot of regional advertising, on every major Indian festival, as Raymond is essentially an Indian brand. It may not be visible to the viewers everywhere, but if you delve deeper, we make our presence felt on the regional level as well. We have our regional calendar and we have our communication strongly present across the regions.

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