Batting for strength

All Out defends a mother's tough parenting style in its latest TVC but not everyone is convinced about the brand connect

She won’t tolerate your tantrums and or hold back from scolding you when needed, but she’ll stand by your side through good times and bad. Mom stands firm by all her decisions, even when not everyone in the family may agree with her disciplining style. Growing up, the usual mother-child squabble is a story common to every household. In its latest TVC, SC Johnson-owned All Out replays one such episode — when a young boy is miffed with his mother and pushes away his dinner plate and his mother refuses to pacify him for she is upset with him for stealing money. Set in a joint family, the other members denigrate the mother for being too harsh for a mistake that isn't a big deal. The situation does cool down in the end, but only when the patriarch astonishingly speaks up in favour of the mother silencing all the critics of her parenting style. What then is the intended message? “My hope is that this campaign will help initiate conversations within families about raising children,” says Ann Mukherjee, global CMO, SC Johnson.

At a time when most brands are attempting to showcase social impact and ride on cause-marketing, it does not come across as bizarre when a mosquito repellent brand champions the cause of ‘tough moms’. What is unusual though is the turn of events as the brand’s good intentions backfired. For one, most people have taken offence to the way the mother’s portrayal resembles that of a victim. Some of the industry’s creative minds, too, feel the execution could have been better. “I understand that you want to ride the wave, stand out and be relevant in social media, which is why the brand possibly saw the need to cut down All Out’s product story. Besides, if there were aspects of feminism or Women’s Day, the TVC might not have been as offensive,” says Manish Bhatt, founder, Scarecrow Communications. Several other professionals from the advertising fraternity point out the evident absence of a brand or product connect in the commercial. Tonic Worldwide’s Sudish Balan appreciates the concept, but finds the brand imprint to be weak. He says, “The company tried to put the product in there subtly. Yet, in the enthusiasm of making an impactful ad, the story overpowers everything, because the brand relevance is not registering.” Whether the product gets publicity or not, the criticism is surely all out in the open.