What first springs to mind when you think about paint? For me, paint is about infinite colour combinations and a scent that wafts through our olfactory senses. And although paint may not evoke any particular sentiments in me, Dulux, in their recent campaign, ‘Karay Khushiyon Ki Hifazat’ has attempted to connect their new Weathershield Powerflexx Triple Defence Technology paint with emotion and nostalgia – yet another example of a brand utilising an emotional storytelling strategy to strike a chord with its audience.
‘Karay Khushiyon Ki Hifazat’ was released in May and at the time of writing, is still on air. The reason for the timing is because we are now in the ‘painting season’; people it seems prefer to have their houses painted before the onset of the monsoon.
The TVC is about a family that has moved in and lived in the same house for over a decade and throughout this period they have used Dulux for their paint jobs. Taking the perspective of a mother, the film highlights how over the years Dulux’s Weathershield Powerflexx new Triple Defence technology has protected her home and her family by shielding them from wear and tear and weather hazards, while her children, particularly her son, grow up. The audience views the ad through the lens of a mother, and her emotions are crucial in evoking a sense of protective warmth.
Kiran Murad, Creative Consultant, MullenLowe Rauf (Dulux Paint’s creative agency) says the challenge was to “ensure that the ageing couple (mother and father) looked natural.”
According to Mohtashim Naqeeb, Brand Manager, AkzoNobel (the parent company of ICI Pakistan and Dulux), the campaign’s goal is to showcase Dulux Paint’s innovative Triple Defence technology while concentrating on the product’s longevity. “At the end of the day, the objective of any campaign is to increase recall and brand awareness and rather than simply rehashing the product’s name, we opted for an emotive storytelling campaign.”
Naqeeb says that the campaign’s creative concept is focused on the idea of paint protecting your home. “A house is more than just a structure; it is a symbol of happiness for every family. This is where the phrase ‘Karay Khushiyon Ki Hifazat’ came from. The family moved there when the child was a toddler and could barely walk, demonstrating the paint’s endurance. The boy changes over time and the TVC attempts to elicit sentiments and emotions associated with a child’s journey.”
Weathershield Powerflexx is the premium and most expensive exterior paint in Dulux’s portfolio. According to Naqeeb, the Triple Defence technology further improves the paint, making it “water-repellent, weather-resistant and crack-proof. In the premium exterior paint market, performance and quality matter, and durability is a key deciding factor for the consumer.” He adds that “one of the key drivers through which we differentiate ourselves from our competitors is product innovation. In the paint sector, performance is just as important as brand reputation and is the reason why we have incorporated anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties into our product. These product enhancements have enabled us to extend the Weathershield Powerflexx warranty from 10 to 12 years.”
Naqeeb underlines that in the past, regional campaigns were aired in Pakistan that targeted a global audience, such as the ‘Kung Fu Panda’ campaign which was originally aired in Malaysia and Singapore. However, it was felt that local campaigns were needed as “research revealed a disconnect between the communication and the target audience in Pakistan. In 2022, the first campaign we developed and executed locally was the independence campaign called ‘Pehchaan Ka Rung’, which garnered a phenomenal response. It was the first time AkzoNobel stirred the emotions of the Pakistani consumer.”
In terms of the response, Naqeeb is upbeat: “The campaign is still live and we have not yet conducted a post-study, but the response from digital, radio, and TV has been above our expectations.”
Individuals between the ages of 30 and 40 who have purchasing power and influence over brand decisions are the primary target group. This market segment, says Naqeeb, is in the “phase of constructing their own homes and can also influence renovations in their parents’ homes. The mother of the 12-year-old son in the campaign falls into this age group.” Naqeeb thinks that men have more influence in terms of brand selection, whilst women have more influence in terms of colour choices. Input is also provided by children aged 10 to 18.
Although in the mid-tier and lower segments of the paint market, painters and contractors exert their influence in guiding customer choice, in the premium paint market Naqeeb says “the customer is brand conscious, and that is a good thing for us.”
To remain competitive in a highly fragmented market, Dulux is focusing on the in-store shopping experience because ordinarily, paint shops look more like warehouses. “We have recently opened the first Dulux Experience store in Bahria Town, Lahore, where customers are guided by a consultant who helps them review the complete range of Dulux products with the various colour combinations.”
The Pakistani paints and coatings market is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.18% between 2023 and 2028, rising from $384.74 million in 2023 to $472.16 million by 2028 (source: Mordor Intelligence 2023 study). It is divided into two major segments. The first is the unorganised ‘unbranded’ category which includes over 100 players and predominantly serves construction firms in semi-urban and rural areas (source: Pakistan Credit Rating Agency, 2020) and is particularly price sensitive. The second is the organised section and includes multinationals such as AkzoNobel, Berger, Kansai, and Nippon, as well as local players such as Brighto Paints and Diamond Paints.
Despite the fact that prices have more than doubled in the past year, Dulux has been able to maintain its sales volumes, because according to Naqeeb, “the premium paint industry is not overly sensitive to price. They have already invested millions of rupees in a house so they see paint as the finishing touch to their investment and are not unwilling to compromise on quality at this stage.”
Looking to the future, Naqeeb acknowledges that the paint industry is facing unprecedented challenges due to the sharp rise in input costs. Furthermore, the slowdown of the economy and a decline in construction has had an adverse impact on the paint industry, while supply chain constraints arise from the reliance on imported raw materials, despite some local production. Taken together, the market sentiment indicates a slowdown that affects all price levels.
Naqeeb, however, remains optimistic because the government relies heavily on the construction sector to drive economic growth. He is confident that with political stability, the overall economic outlook will improve and that the situation will improve next year.