Natural FMCG Products And Their Advertisements: A Study Through Content Analysis

 Shefalli Chhibber Bakshi[1]


Natural products and their ingredients have been a part of our lives for centuries before getting over powered by the use of various chemicals in our day to day products. But the trend has come back with consumer preferring to buy products that are made up of natural ingredients. This has been happening since more than a decade now which has forced brands to enter the segment of natural products. An important reason of shift towards natural products is because of the influence created by advertisements. This paper tries to analyse the content of advertisements in order to find out the elements that attract the attention of consumers towards the natural products. The study is a descriptive study that makes use of secondary data and the tool used is content analysis where advertisements of four major conglomerates; Dabur, Himalaya, Patanjali, UniliverAyush of the duration 2018-2020.


Advertisements, Advertising Appeals FMCG, Healthy Lifestyle, Natural products 


The last few years have been witnessing an increasing concern of people towards environment. People are now more educated and informed about how the environment is getting depleted. All these environmental issues are making humans take their health seriously. People are now more focused on what they are consuming. Unhealthy foods are getting replaced by healthy foods. Importance of exercises and workouts is gaining recognition again. These changes are not just limited to the lifestyle of people but also to the overall products that people are using. As consumers, people are slowly and gradually inclining towards using nature-based options. The belief behind this transition is that anything which is derived from plants or basically is natural, is good for their overall health.

This significant change in the consumer preference of the people has somewhat prompted changes in the market. In order to keep in pace with this change, foods with several health benefits are being promoted in the market and are being widely chosen by the consumers. This change in the consumer buying patterns has made the legacy brands like Himalaya Drug Company and Dabur increase their sales drastically and have encouraged new brands like Patanjali Ayurveda Limited to enter the market and popularize Ayurveda like never before.

What consumer buys depends highly upon the perception that the consumer holds for that particular brand and product. The fact that there is an enormous increase in the popularity and sale of natural FMCG products in the market is mainly because of the perception that consumers hold for the natural products. Consumer perception refers to the process by which a customer selects, organizes and interprets information and stimuli to create a meaningful picture of the brand in his mind. According to the theory of consumer perception, it is a three-stage process that translates raw stimuli into meaningful information. Each individual interprets the meaning of stimulus in a manner consistent with his/her own unique biases, needs and expectations. Three stages of perception are exposure, attention and interpretation

One of the major factors that affects the consumer perception is the advertising or the promotional activities conducted by the brand.Briefly, advertising can be considered as a process of informing, educating and influencing the target audience into trying your product or service via visual or audio or textual messages. In this era of tough competition among different brands, it has become very important for the brand to reach out to their target audience and communicate the message. A good advertising campaign is considered to be effective when it generates demand for products or services and ultimately increases the production.


Whether an advertisement that is to be made should be creative or state the entire message straight away is a constant debate among the brand. While there are people who believe that for an advertisement to be impactful, it has to create an emotional connect between the viewers and the product. There are also some business people that believe that advertisements can leave a better impact on the viewers if it gives out the message directly and carries as much information as it can in order to aware the viewer about the product and the brand completely. This debate is never ending which is why some brands go for creative advertisements while the others go for advertisements that are rational and do not aim at bonding with the viewer emotionally. David Ogilvy, the famous adman has quoted, “if it doesn’t sell, its not creative” which clearly means that for an advertisement to sell, it has to be creative.

According to Belch et al.,(2018), a study was conducted recently that concluded that 64% of people have no interest in watching the commercials on any medium, they look for ways in which they could skip it. Hence, he concluded that it is important for the advertisements to be creative because that is the only way that consumers might watch it and retain it. But being creative does not mean that advertisements cannot contain the necessary information required. A successful advertisement is one that is creative in its concept but also informs the viewers about the features of the product that the advertisement is about.

There are many brands that are not comfortable using too much creativity in their advertisements as they believe there is a greater chance of advertisements failing because of the same reason. Oglivy& Mather is one of the pioneer agencies in India that have been taking a huge amount of risk in terms of creativity and as a result has been giving the most wonderful advertisements since the past so many years. A very popular example for the creativity and appeals used by O&M can be the “unbreakable bond” advertisements of fevicol. Fevicol being a boring adhesive product, it was important to produce an advertisement that catches more and more attention of people. In the advertisement, the brand shows the power of adhesive to an extent that people can stay glued just by seeing the name itself. other than this, there have been many advertisements using the same tagline that have created a buzz in the advertising world for its creativity. Another example of Ogilvy & Mather’s masterpiece is the advertising campaigns created for Madhya Pradesh Tourism that had the tagline “Hindustan ka Dil Dekho”. Before the launch of this advertisement, Madhya Pradesh as a tourism destination was not very popular but the campaign was successful as it re-positioned the state as a tourism destination. The creative strategy used for the advertisement was never used by any brand before and the way they portrayed the different cities of Madhya Pradesh gathered the attention of a large segment of population. But there is another side of the coin as well. On one hand where there are many companies that go for advertisements having such a creative appeal and implementation strategy, there are also many brands that do not go for creative advertising. The reason for that is that they believe it is too big of a risk to advertise using a rare concept because its success in unknown.


  • (Modak and Sinha, 2019) in their study titled “A Study on Emerging Trends in Advertising for Fast Moving Consumer Goods in India” concluded that advertising is a very powerful medium if one has to control the choices of the audiences. Advertising also holds immense power in that helps the brand influences the minds of the others. But how advertising uses this superpower depends solely upon the needs of the needs of the society. There is a constant change in the way advertisements work and these emerging trends is what makes the advertising more and more interesting for the target audiences. The audiences are more to get attracted towards the catchy advertisements with catchy messages. The study further talks about the recent trends that advertisements have been bringing about in order to catch the attention of people. Trends like Augmented reality, Emotional advertising, Digital advertising, and Cause Based advertising are on high these days. Out of the above-mentioned trends, one trend that has been widely used and preferred by the FMCG industry is the Emotional advertising. Emotional advertising although is a type of advertising appeal but it is now also being used as a new trend. The reason behind this is that audiences tend to react more towards the advertisements that connect with their emotions. These emotions could be the emotions of happiness, remorse, surprise and anger. Advertisers connect these emotions with with awareness and information for the people. According to the study, emotional advertising are more likely to influence an audience and drive them into making an emotional decision.
  • Neha Bhagat (2017) on her research paper titled, “Emerging trend of Emotional Appeal in Indian Television Advertising” talks about the impact that advertising has on the consumers. According to this paper advertising is a form of marketing communication which is used to create awareness and promote a product or a service. It can be understood as a non-personal form of communication that is carried out with the agenda of increasing sales and creating brand awareness in the minds of the users. Since the purpose of advertisement is to reach out to a large number of people for effective communication of the advertising message, it has benefitted a lot from the technological development in the field of media. With a variety of channels available to the advertisers, it has made their work very easy and ultimately advertising has emerged as a powerful tool for brands to convince the consumers and form a strong brand image. For effective communication of the message, the advertisers make use of different types of appeals so that they can connect to the consumers.

These appeals are broadly divided into rational appeals and emotional appeals. Out of these two, the Rational appeal talks more about the product information and how it will benefit the consumer and helps them make a more practical choice about their purchase intention. Emotional appeals on the other hand, are woven with the stimuli of love, affection, hatred, disgust, anger, excitement etc. Advertising using emotional appeals create a sense of connectivity with the product and if used correctly, has the ability of transforming a negative emotion into a positive one. Which is why, emotional appeals are said to be more effective in comparison to rational appeals.

Advertisements these days know very well which type of emotion to use to target the audience and create a powerful impact on them even without using the name of the product they aim to sell. Another important change that is being observed in the advertisement these days is the element of culture. A study conducted by Professor Freda Swaminathan titled, “Indian Culture and its Reflection on Advertising: A Perceptual Study of Advertising Practitioners” talks about the involvement of Indian culture in today’s advertisements where the main focus stays on the family values and depicts a loving family united with feeling of oneness. These type of advertising setups are often used by FMCG brands that are advertising for products that can be used by the entire family like cosmetics, personal care, household, healthcare products and food beverage. This type of appeal helps advertisers make better decision concerning the consumer perception and their buying behaviour.

  • NgawangChoenyiGhale (2010) in his research titled, “Reflection of Cultural Values in Animated TV and Viral Advertisements from India” talks about the importance of cultural values in advertisements. It has been researched and concluded by many researchers that advertising a great tool in reflecting a society’s values and a good advertisement is mostly linked to the culture that the target group follows. According to Marshal McLuhan(1964), Advertisements are the richest and the not faithful daily reflections that any culture ever made of its entire range of activities. Also, there have been studies that claim that consumers tend to respond to those advertisements more positively that have similarities with their culture. For example, people in Canada are more attracted to the advertisements that promote individualism and functionality and people in China are more attracted to advertisements that have a socialistic approach. Since culture plays this big role in whether the viewers accept the advertisement or not, many global brands have now started to customise their advertising strategies to suit the interest of the local audience. Similar is the case with the brands that promote their products in India. When the US brands started advertising in India, their advertisements were not attracting the attention of local people and the reason was the appeal that was used in the advertisements. They were not capturing the attention of people. Advertisements made for the US audience focusses on modernization and consumerism but what captured the attention of Indian viewers was the concept of family and family values. Indian advertisements are reflection of the diverse culture that the country has and audiences prefer just that. Over the years, the type of advertisements made in India have undergone a change and the advertisements of this generation, although keeps a focus on family values but also focuses on modernization. This change has been brough about because of the social media. Indian youth now believes in individualism and is attracted to advertisements and even the daily soaps that surround this concept. Hence, the advertisements that are now being made in India are an amalgamation of Indian values, family, Oneness and modernization.
  • Richa Mishra, (2020) conducted a study titled, “An Analysis on Consumer Preference of Ayurvedic Products in Indian Market” According to this study, over a period of last two decades, the markets have observed a significant change in the purchase behaviour of the Indian consumers as now they are more conscious about the impact the chemicals used in the products have on the environment and this consciousness and awareness among consumers has led to a major change in the products that they purchase. Consumers now have starting looking for and purchasing products that are eco-friendly and do not impact our bodies and the environment negatively. This change in consumer buying behaviour and their overall preference is not just limited to urban markets but rural markets as well. According to this study, the Fast-moving consumer goods industry has gained the maximum benefit of this changed trend in terms of revenue. If we talk about separate segments of the FMCG industry, then the personal care and food & beverage section has seen this growth more rapidly. Further, the study also talks about how the consumers of rural parts of India have more faith in products with nature-based ingredients especially ayurvedic products and people of all age groups; be it senior citizens or children have the same level of trust in natural FMCG products. the study moves ahead by explaining how in India, the competition between chemical-based brands and herbal brands is continuously rising. The main reason for this shift among consumer perception is said to be many factors out of which, advertising, packaging and product availability are the top factors. this significant rate of growth observed in preference of natural products has been seen in all the segments of FMCG sector namely; health, grocery, food and personal care products. This study also mentions the conclusions of a study conducted by World Health Organisation that claims that around eighty percent of the global population relies on products with nature-based ingredients because of their health and the main reason of making the shift from chemical-based products to nature-based products was the side effects these chemical-based products have on their bodies. When it comes to natural brands available in the market, according to this study, Patanjali Ayurveda is the largest growing brand in this natural race. It is also considered as the flag bearer of this trend in Indian markets.


  • To analyse the content of advertisements in order to understand the change in consumer perceptions towards Natural product
  • To understand the creative strategies that the brands are using in order to attract consumers to the Natural FMCG market 


This study uses Descriptive research. Descriptive research involves gathering data that describe a phenomenon and then organize and interpret it to come to a conclusion. The study uses secondary method under which Content Analysis will be done.

content analysis of video advertisements of the top four FMCG brands in the country; Dabur, Patanjali Ayurveda Limited, Himalaya and Hindustan Unilever Ayush, of three years duration (2018-2020) will be done and the data and conclusions from content analysis will help in understanding the creative strategies that the brands are using in order to attract consumers to the Natural FMCG market


Content Analysis was done keeping in mind the following elements:

  • Overview
  • Target Group of the advertisement and Appeal used-
  • Catchline/ Slogan of the Advertisement-
  • Music
  • Setup of the advertisement
  1. Overview

The different advertisements that were analysed for the study were all of different products across the FMCG segment. Although the advertisements were advertising about different products, there was a similarity in them. This similarity was about the overview of the advertisement. Inspite of using different appeals, all advertisements had an element of “Nature” or “tradition” in them. Another element that is common with the advertisements that were analysed was that they had shown some scientific proof for supporting their claims. This was done by showing clips of laboratories and actors dressed up as scientists and making the product. Lastly, another common element that was present in the advertisements was the presence and love of family. Almost all the advertisements that were analysed had a story surrounding the family and their values. These were the two things that were common in all the advertisements that were analysed.

  1. Target group of the advertisement and appeal used

The analysed advertisements were of FMCG products. The products that are used in day to day life. Hence, the target audience were the middle class people. When it comes to appeals, advertisements either used Rational appeal and highlighted the composition of products and its ingredients by showing clippings of laboratories and scientists or they used emotional appeals where they were highlighting the family and the care of family members. Like the bond of mother-daughter.

  1. Catchline/ Slogan of the Advertisement

Catchlines and slogans are something that immediately catch the viewer’s attention. Every brand tries to come up with a tagline that gets retained. Every advertisement that is analysed consist of a different tagline that depicts the product. Even within a brand, every product has a different tagline. A few advertisements have taglines that highlight the Indian culture in order to show the connection between Natural products and India. For eg. Patanjali’s hair oil has the tagline ApneBaalon se kaho, Jug JugJiyo. Other taglines that were there mostly highlight the importance of the products.

  1. Music

Every advertisement that was analysed has different background music. There were some advertisements that were solely rational in nature and did not have any music throughout the advertisement. Out of the advertisements that some background music, there were some advertisements that made use of classical Indian music. It is important to understand that this technique is used by many brands where theymake use of traditional Indian music in order to show the connection between natural products and our Indian culture.

  1. Setup of the Advertisement

Every advertisement has a different setup. Some advertisements portrayed family values and bonds between family members while other depicted scientific proofs to validate the claims made in the advertisements. There were some advertisements that tried creating awareness for ongoing pandemic as well while simultaneously advertising their products.


Through analysis of different advertisements of the said brands, following findings are made:

  1. In order to promote products with natural composition, Brands tend to make use of elements that highlight our culture. This is done because using products with Natural ingredients has been in the roots of Indian culture and through advertisements, brands try and portray it to the audiences the connection between using natural products and Indian culture
  1. When it comes to appeals the advertisements make use of both rational and emotional appeals. Rational appeals are used in order to clearly elaborate the benefits and composition of different natural products. These types of advertisements have a commonality and that is they create a scientific laboratory where they validate the claims they make regarding the benefits of the components and their products.

Another appeal that advertisers make use of is the emotional appeal. Through the advertisements they try to portray the family values and emotional bonds that family members have with each other in order to highlight the relationship between using natural products and family values. As mentioned before, using natural products is an integral part of Indian culture and so is the family bonds. Hence, advertisers try highlighting the corelation between the two.


[1]Research Scholar, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication. Assistant Professor, Ajeenkya DY Patil University, Pune