In India, hair oil brand evokes mother-daughter bond

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Ogilvy & Mather taps a domestic tradition with a spot starring Bollywood's Priyanka Chopra

MUMBAI — Applying oil to girls' and women's hair is a tradition here, intended to strengthen and lengthen — and a frequent opportunity for mother-daughter chats.

A new ad for Dabur Amla Hair Oil looks to update national nostalgia for those moments, courtesy of Ogilvy & Mather Gurgaon. 

The spot, featuring Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra, begins with Chopra complaining to her mother that she never attends shoots or premieres like other stars' parents. Her mother asks Chopra to settle for a hair massage as she justifies her non-attendance. She reminds the actress that she did attend Chopra's school singing competition in school — but Chopra forgot the song when she spotted her mother in the audience and lost the competition, as a result.

She tells Chopra that she will always be there in spirit. The film ends with a voiceover saying, "Banaiye baal aur rishte mazboot" ("Make hair and relationships stronger") and a super reading, "Ek mazboot rishta" ("A strong bond").  

Rajat Nanda, category head, Dabur Hair Oils, said, "With a perse portfolio of oils, we intend to make oiling relevant to consumers across all ages [and demographics]. The intent of the new campaign was to make the oiling ritual an emotional need rather than a functional one.

"The insight was simple: In this age of no time for anyone or anything, relationships are the one thing that lose out. It’s the act of oiling that provides the alone time between mothers and daughters to talk and open up, resulting in building bonds, mending relationships. So beyond making hair stronger, the brand connects itself with the consumer at an emotional level of making relationships stronger by opening the knots in their relationship. This need not be limited to only a mother daughter relationship but make any relationship beautiful during oiling." 

"The hair oiling routine has always been mother-daughter time," said Ajay Gahlaut, executive creative director, Ogilvy & Mather. "Since Dabur Amla has been around for generations, it has been at the center of these heart-to-hearts between mothers and daughters. These slice-of-life conversations are what we have captured in our films."

Campaign credits

Client: Dabur India 
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Gurgaon 
Category head: Rajat Nanda
Creative team: Ajay Gahlaut, Divya Bhatia, Vimal Singh
Planning team: Sarabpreet Bedi, Saumya Baijal 
Client servicing: Jigisha Chawla, Nitika Bhandari, Rajat Arora, Antara Mitra

This article first appeared on


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