The sound of mixie

The ‘mixie’ that we use in Indian kitchens—now called ‘mixer grinder’; I believe it was Sumeet that had a mixer grinder called ‘Sumeet Mixie’ and the name stuck—is known for one more thing beyond its core function (grinding stuff): loud noise.

The racket created by a mixie while it grinds is very famous and has been the subject of many jokes in popular culture. It has also been immortalized via famously contextual film scenes, like this one from the Tamil film Sindhu Bhairavi where the mixie (brand: National) sound interrupts wonderful music and becomes the reason for domestic strife 🙂 (the video below starts at the specific scene)

Advertising by mixer grinders has so far stayed away from talking about the noise created and has focused only on the kinds of things they can grind and how well they can grind.

2021 is the year when brands started communicating silence as a value proposition in mixer grinder advertising!

Three brands are currently advertising silence as a benefit of their mixer grinder, without diluting it to also move into grinding prowess or range of items that can be ground.

The first was Philips, back in March/April 2021.

From what I noticed, Philips made 2 ad films (I could not find the name of the agency that made these ads) to communicate the ‘silence’ USP.

March 2021:

April 2021:

Both the ads exaggerate the reaction to the sound created by a mixer grinder in the kitchen and offer the surprise felt by the family members as a selling point to showcase how silent the product is, against conventional norms/expectations.

In the 2nd week of October, Surya launched its new ad for a ‘silent’ mixer grinder. The ad featured Shankar Mahadevan and was made by Ogilvy. As I had earlier mentioned in another post, for some inexplicable reason, Surya removed all those ads from the 2nd week of October, and re-uploaded them on YouTube towards the end of October!

So, here’s the Shankar Mahadevan vs. Surya mixer grinder ad shared on October 29, 2021.

The narrative is built in such a way that Shankar and his two ‘fictional’ children are ready for a racket in the kitchen and to reduce the annoyance from the noise from the mixer, start singing together. When Shankar starts the mixer, they hear only their singing and they are clearly surprised – did they buy the mixer without seeing this ad? 😉

And then there’s Havells Silencio.

Havells’ launched the first ad for Silencio on October 28th (a day before Surya’s upload, but as I had mentioned earlier, Surya had released their ads in the 2nd week of October itself), made by Mullen Lintas.

A second ad in the series went live on November 10th.

Both ads use the same narrative – a couple comes close even amidst domestic minutiae, but that bonding is rudely interrupted by a mighty noisy mixer grinder.

Now, the very fact that a silent mixer grinder is being advertised with the lack of sound as the USP is news given how this product is naturally assumed to be noisy (like a feature, and not something that can be done away with).

But three brands advertising this USP in the same year is bigger news.

Observe the subtle differences and common framing devices.

Despite the fact that a mixer grinder will be used for a very short period of time, all three ads frame the sound as a disturbance in everyday life that can (and should) be done away with. Ceiling fans of air conditioners making noise and hence offering a silent (and hence superior) product makes sense because those products run for longer periods of time and could really disturb the peace in a home. Mixers, in comparison, run for specific, short bursts.

For instance, we have the Preethi Zodiac mixer at our home. Before using it in the morning, my wife does a mandatory check if either of the kids is speaking in their virtual class, or if they are on a listen-only mode. If it is the latter, she quickly gets the job done. Depending on what is being ground, the mixer is pretty noisy 🙂

But, in true advertising exaggeration, the noisy mixers are offered as something that can bother everyone at home, and this is true too, to some extent. They could interrupt with their loud noise even if it’s for a short period. So the USP is well-founded.

The more interesting aspects between the three are subtle.

There is a conscious gender balance – the all-family Philips ad does start by showing the lady of the house operating the mixer first, but the final montage also includes the kid operating the mixer. In Surya’s ad, it is Shankar who is operating the mixer, and Havells has a nice blend – the first one has the man using the mixer while the second ad features the lady using the mixer!

Even more interesting is the framing in the storytelling.

Both Philips and Surya show their own products being used, and after the others expect noise, the ending is about the surprise about how silent the products are.

Havells is the interesting one-one out – it shows some other mixer being used to make us understand that mixers are noisy as if that needs to be stated again (something that both Philips and Surya take for granted, rightly so). And then, Havells merely showcases the product when it is not in use almost as if we need to take their word for granted since the product itself is called ‘Silencio’ giving the USP top billing in the product name itself.

In very different ways, all three ads tell interesting stories about a new feature of a product that is legendary for being noisy and loud.

But the narrative differs.
In Philips and Surya, it is expect-noise-be-surprised-when-it-is-silent!
In Havells, it is expect-silence-be-surprised-when-it-is-noisy!

PS: In case you are interested in the product, beyond just the marketing communications, here you go: 7 best silent mixer grinders in India, 2021 (sorted by decibel levels!).



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