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The legend of Raymond’s Complete Man

October 25, 2006
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This campaign is the starting point for any other advertising strategy. But is Raymond’s Complete Man, a man who is the epitome of loving, caring, and also style, in danger of being left behind?

Creating waves
Some saw it as an emasculation of the Great Indian Role Model. Others raised toasts to him. Finally, they cheered, some ‘real flesh and blood’ they said – emotions, a sense of humor and sensitivity rather than just brawn. Even a touch of vulnerability. The dream guy with no shining armour. A man for the liberated Indian woman. Someone who doesn’t see himself with Rambo’s body and a James Bond style.
The Complete Man. From Raymond.

Sneering competition had to eat their words
Rivals in the early 90’s sniggered quietly at this pseudo-liberal western import. More than a decade later, this campaign is still going strong and a lot of suitings advertising is still life-style driven. If there is a problem, it’s that the Complete Man is too powerful, not in terms of testosterone, but in the way it dominates the consumer mindspace.
The sniggers of the competition turned to wonder, and then worship. He-men were dumped and clones of the Complete Man appeared everywhere…but they didn’t work. Only the original did. After all, pretenders are better at tickling people, not selling them suit lengths.

How did it all start?
The Raymond’s campaign is still the most influential. But how did it start? ‘We wanted a real man, a 3-D flesh and blood figure, the kind of man who is our target audience,’ says Rajiv Agarwal, CEO, Enterprise Nexus. It was research that indicated that men did not really aspire to be muscle-rippling superstuds.

raymondgirl_2_1
Accordingly, the Raymond’s man was developed – as someone more believable and fleshed-out than the standard cardboard cut-outs of yore. But portraying a caring man raymond-1.gifwas a revolution in Indian advertising. Research however told the agency that the market was ready. Social trends indicated that the upper-end Indian male had indeed evolved, or aspired to evolve. So Raymond took the bold step of translating this into an advertising strategy. Today, this thinking stands vindicated…even Hindi cinema has veered away from bash-em-up films to romantic and family drama’s.
Some of the later Raymond spots featured a fellow who takes time out from his busy schedule to hunt out an old disabled friend. Another had a guy spreading his arms at the edge of a cliff – in an apparent desire to take flight.

Is the Complete Man for real?
Advertising and marketing pundits wondered: Has the Indian male really evolved or was this just a polished exterior to please idealists on the look-out for the ‘New Age Man’? And was it really possible for a man to be only gentle, and have no aggressive impulses? And would this repressed reality stage a dramatic come-back at the turn of the Millennium? Yes, thought some, the gentle Raymond man who tucks his daughter into bed and plays the violin is a figment of an elitist imagination. ‘It’s alright in the metros, but I do not think it will work in middle India,’ says Shivjeet Khullar, national creative director, The Joint. ‘Or perhaps it works for Raymond, but no other brand.’ Pranav Dewan, Creative Consultant, Mudra, says that The Complete Man may not have completely arrived, but he has aspirational power, and in a way has given an impetus to the change in the metro man, even though not all of it has been voluntary. ‘It’s now accepted to be that way, and aspire to be that way. For some it has been a reluctant change…but in a way it’s a feeling of relief, to be dragged kicking and screaming to the altar of sensitivity.’

Tapping aspirational values
Agarwal of Nexus acknowledges that the typical Indian male, even the ‘well-educated’ one, may not be the idealised person depicted by the campaign. ‘But what is important is that he aspires to be him,’ says Agarwal. And that’s good advertising.
Whatever the new reality, the fact is that Raymond is still India’s top suitings brand – having imbedded itself in the mind of the audience that matters in value terms. Therefore, the advertising is right.

Rival players
Rival brands knew that they had to position themselves away from the Complete Man. Just to gain an identity – of any sort.
The obvious way to stand apart, as some brands had known all along, was not to have a fictitious personality, but an actual celebrity. Vimal had a series a cricketers, back in the 1980’s, including Vivian Richards and Ravi Shastri. Digjam had Shekhar Kapur, the film maker. ‘Tiger’ Pataudi was the Gwalior Suitings man, and Sunil Gavaskar posed for Dinesh Suitings. But agencies subconsciously started to emulate the persona of the Complete Man. Pataudi turned discernibly more ‘family-oriented’ in the later days of the Gwalior series, with his wife Sharmila Tagore and actor son Saif Ali Khan making appearances. Shah Rukh played ‘Mayur’ Khan for Mayur suitings, an actor with a ‘family man’ image. OCM tried to go soft too and attempted to show how the suiting gets the OCM man his wife’s attention. The ad spot had the wife not noticing her husband when he comes home from work, until he changes into a suit. Suiting companies like Reid & Taylor still go in for celebrity advertising and today Amitabh Bachhan endorses the brand instead of Pierce Brosnan.
And ofcourse, the man getting the girl is a re-current theme.
However in the dawn of this millennium suiting advertising has become more product oriented. Brands today hawk the feel and finish of the fabric. Occasionally we have suitings which claim to look good but are not as expensive. This is a direct hit at Raymond.

What’s the future?
India has always been a low-value market, but today with globalisation, the value base has started to move upwards towards the global average and this trend can only accelerate. In this context, the Raymond personality-based advertising is likely to retain it’s appeal, at least for some years to come. And His rise to eminence will cast a longer shadow on other brands, resulting in an even greater desire on the part of rivals to take The Complete Man down. Or better it in some way.
It would be interesting to see how The Complete Man copes with competition in the coming years. There is a ‘casual’ clothes wave and thanks to Silicon Valley, it’s cool to look uncomfortable in suits. The Complete Man will have to tailor himself to a new generation reality. But without hurting his values.

(This piece, written  by me, was published in A&M (Advertising & Marketing) Magazine.)

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46 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2006 1:11 pm

    I’d love to know who wrote the Complete Man copy – the long copy series.

    farrukh

  2. October 29, 2006 2:40 pm

    I knew the name but have forgotton now. It was edited out. If I get it, I’ll add it to the article. You know how agencies can get sometimes. They prefer that the team gets the credit…

  3. Arfan permalink
    November 23, 2006 10:37 am

    Do you know whether the Music for the Raymonds Ad was composed specifically or is it from any previous album or symphony? I would love to have the track with me.

    • varsha permalink
      September 3, 2009 8:06 pm

      the ad music is from Schuman’s ‘scene from childhood’-Traumerie

  4. November 23, 2006 11:29 am

    Arfan, this is a western classical tune and I have it somewhere in my music library. I promise I will dig it out and get you the name. Give me two-three days.

  5. November 26, 2006 10:31 am

    Arfan, this is for you. The Raymond tune is to be found in the album ‘Short Pieces – Great Composers. Vol 1 & 2.’ The particular track is track no. 3 called Dreaming op. 15. by Felix Mendelssohn. I do not know for certain if Mendelssohn is the original composer of this tune, but he probably is.
    Hope this helps.

  6. sadhna permalink
    December 22, 2006 11:37 pm

    gr8 need time to go through it

  7. Bhupesh permalink
    January 20, 2007 11:13 pm

    If I am not wrong, I beleive Rajan Nair the ex-nexus was the man behind the complete man story.

  8. February 2, 2007 12:17 pm

    i went thru this link:

    http://www.bigfatphoenix.com/bosey/011/koltiger.htm

    do u have any more info of the brand being raymond’s converted into raymond. like when it was done so?

    VS

  9. February 2, 2007 1:10 pm

    I spoke to someone from Raymond and they say that Raymond was always Raymond. However it was often called Raymonds. That is all. However this info is not from the owner but from someone who has been in the company for five years. I believe it because if Raymond had indeed changed its name it would have been found on the net somewhere. But this site that you gave has not authenticated the information. Usually such kind of information is never ‘sly’ or hidden. There is nothing in it to hide! Therefore I feel it is not true.

  10. February 13, 2007 12:23 pm

    Actually, the website (www.bosey.com) which alludes to Raymond’s changing to Raymond is a humour website, kind of on the lines of the Onion and MAD magazine. So I do not think it is really an article based in fact.

    By the way, Nita, I think there must’ve been a mistake on the sleeve of the album you referred to. The piece is indeed titled ‘Dreaming’, but it is actually composed by Robert Schumann, titled Traumerei originally. I suppose Arfan could seek out the piece on LP…

  11. Vikram permalink
    February 28, 2007 4:24 pm

    Nita I’d like to bring it to your notice that it is not Mendelssohn’s composition it is Schumann’s composition.

  12. February 28, 2007 5:23 pm

    Thanks Vikram and Nandan. Actually I have a track called Dreaming, but I guess it is something else.

  13. Phantom permalink
    March 30, 2007 10:10 am

    This article was very fascinating to me. I’m 25 now, and still, I have a distinct memory and perception of seeing those Raymon -complete man adverts int he cinemas in India…..back when i was a kid in India. It represents quite a special memory for me….I clearly remember how each time I saw that advert I was struck with awe, at how fancy the ad was, how handsome the man, how confident his style, how the very environment around him seemed to approve wholeheartedly at his mere existence. I remember wishing that I cud grow up and be a complete man like him. Even now…..whenever me and my friends talk about ideals and societal behaviours…i often quote that raymond advert….saying that to me that man represents completeness and a balance between the physical, emotional and spiritual part of a man’s life.

    To date, much of my perception around a modern indian man’s position in life has to do with my memories of that advertisement. I’ve always tried to believe that completeness in character, beliefs and attitudes is what will allow a man to live life to the fullest. After reading this post, I got somewhat introspective and realised that the ideals and beliefs I have cultivated and developed through my teens, into my early 20’s and now into what I call the beginning of the mid 20’s….they are very heavily congruent with the attitudes and vison that was conveyed by the Raymond Advert. Even now, I randomly get a vision in my head about that scene from the advert..when the man is standing on the cliff top, hands spread wide, and the advert presents a wide angle arial rotating shot of him from the sky….that pose struck a cord with me as it represented the intermingling of that very complete man with nature, with the cosmic consciousness…it instilled within me a belief that completeness of emotions, chacter, attitudes, behavious and physicality is what allows one to experience the full range that life has to offer.

    Certainly, I believe strongly in that cocept of completeness…and i suppose i’ve subconsciously developed my own personaility to try and match that ideal. I’ve gone through that phase in my late teens when expression of my machismo and tough guy image was all important….to a mindset now where I’m more about acknowledging that men too have a very strong emotive side, and a real man owes it to himself to understand that emotive side and develop a level of sensitivity (not to be confused with “being” sensitive…to me possessing sensitivity is a far higher and more subtle concept), so that he can derive the most satisfaction and feel most rewarded from his relationships….with his partner, family, friends, with the world.

    A lot of rant and rave i’ll admit, but reading this post about the raymond man did indeed bring back very very fond memories, a strong sense of deja vu.

    Does anyone know where i can download clips of those adverts???

    • October 8, 2011 8:55 pm

      Hiii Phantom……………
      OMG, this is such a great thing you wrote…..u seem to be such an ideal guy any woman would want…so much for that ‘sensitivity’
      I would really like to know you…

      Nita, what a wonderful and informative post…thanks…

  14. March 30, 2007 9:37 pm

    Hi Phantom. Makes me happy to hear the complete man concept touched you. Actually I love the concept too.
    and yes you can download the clips from raymondindia.com
    Thanks for that meaningful comment. Always, it is comments like yours which make my day and make me feel that the effort I put into this blog are well worth it. :)

  15. robert lobo permalink
    April 2, 2007 9:48 am

    Dear Nita ,

    A very wholesome bolg . I am hooked but writing to you for the first time .
    Whats your view : does consumer notice that Raymond brand is primarily fabrics and what if it morphed from fabric into Apparels . Would the same trick work or with the competition turf changing will Raymond Apparel brand need some new trick .

    Many brands are extending their lines to reach out to women.
    Is Raymond predominantly male calling or does it have similar appeal with the women?

    rl

  16. April 2, 2007 10:29 am

    Well, from what I understand of the brand it definitely has a “male” image. It will require sustained image building to change this image. My personal opinion is that this may not work, and in fact should not be done. There could be sub branding however.
    However diversifying into apparels should not be an issue. In fact I think that the Raymond brand is so strong, it should be extended to apparels.
    A Raymond apparel brand for men – and a women’s wear brand as a sub brand. But making Raymond for women will be a disaster in my opinion and dilute brand value.

  17. Ketaki permalink
    April 9, 2007 10:55 pm

    I have been a big fan of all Raymond ads since i was kid.I had collected the print ad cutting from India today and reader’s digest for about five years in the 1980’s and made a collage. This collage has been a great source of inspiration for me and still is. But the sad part is that the collage is decaying as it is paper pasted on paper.

    I would love to have the print ads again from the late 1980’s and early 90’s. Can someone help me with that so that I can make a collage, which is some what similar to the one I already have and preserve it for my children to learn life’s greatest lessons from it.

    It still brings smiles and tears at the same time every time I read it.

    Ketaki

  18. July 19, 2007 6:42 pm

    i’m 26 and we’ve grown up watching Raymonds Ad change with time. They used to play “Romance” or “Romanza” at the background once. But now its long gone replaced by another great classical piece. When i was learning classical guitar back in 1994, we came across “Romanza’ which was in our course in grade 3 classical guitar. We’d called it “the Raymonds piece” because it was the ad that had made such a huge impact on.

  19. Pradeep permalink
    August 9, 2007 8:15 am

    Here is a request to all of you : is there anyone who has the TEXT of the “The Complete Man” advertisements in soft copy ? If so, could some kind soul please email it to me (or post it on the web) ?

    Many thanks.

    • Raji kannan permalink
      November 15, 2014 4:17 pm

      did you collected all.. i hv few, i could send across to you, i you could give me your mail address.
      my mail id is rajiks03@gmail.com – pls drop a mail, so i could send it via mail to you….
      I love all their ads…..
      My papa was like ” The complete man”, for now he is more, each time when i see any raymond Ad i remember him…..

  20. January 17, 2008 1:36 am

    The “Complete” man possesses among others following qualities –

    No jealousy, No hatred, No anger, No fear, No sorrow, No disgust, No shame, No selfishness.

    Extreme humility, Forgiveness, Forbearance, Patience, Fortitude, Perseverance, Purity, Sincerity, Love, Truthfulness

  21. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    January 17, 2008 8:50 am

    Ramesh:

    You seem to make a good case for appointing Valmiki’s hero as the brand ambassador for Raymond. :-)

  22. Rachana permalink
    April 14, 2008 7:05 pm

    Can any one send me a picture of the Raymonds campaign in the early nineties….A man with no shirt, sitting on a window sill with a baby in diapers..?

    Wanted to see it once more.

  23. shaikhjasim permalink
    July 30, 2008 11:38 am

    I LOVE THE BRAND OF RAYMONDS AND I HAVE EXPERIENCE THEIR QUALITY ITS SUPERB IF GIVING ME AN OPPORTUNITY TO R4ANK THER AYMONDS ILL GIVE 10/10

  24. avyan permalink
    August 25, 2008 9:50 pm

    does anybody know who was the composer of the tune in these Raymond ads? and the composition? i’d like to listen to the original score…..

  25. rahul permalink
    October 26, 2008 2:10 am

    I am 22 now. Being brought up in a middle class family and parents who put studies before everything else, I remember those afternoons as a kid…i would day dream over my texts…how if i studied hard I too would one day grow up to have everything. And the vision of The Complete Man, the aura, the humble sensitivity would fill up the space in the golden winter sun.

    I found the music haunting too. I learned playing piano from a very early age. This being one of the tunes I tried picking up ever since I could play decently.

    Thank you for the article. The Raymond ad is such a classy contrast to the hundreds of other over stated ads (screaming for example…only Vimal.only vimal..what crap!)

  26. Chetan P permalink
    November 3, 2008 12:04 pm

    Hi neeta…..

    A very good article done with extensive research.
    I’m doing a project on raymond’s ad campaign in my college. This article helped me a lot.

    Thanks.

  27. Raman permalink
    November 24, 2009 12:35 am

    Very nice article which seems to be read over the years. Just wanted to know who have been the advertising agencies of Raymonds for the last few years.

    Regards,

    R Raman

  28. Chintan permalink
    May 10, 2010 7:06 pm

    m very fond if raymond instrumental music… Can u plz mail me the song or link for the song.. I ll b glad..

  29. Aviv Nair permalink
    August 27, 2010 12:54 pm

    Rajan Nair is my father, and is the person behind the Complete Man campaign. He created it a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when he had just started his career as a copywriter.
    The original “pulls” or prototypes created prior to printing are with us at home, and we are planning to scan them sometime, so they should be an online version sometime this year, I hope! :)

    • January 23, 2012 1:35 am

      Dear Bro,
      I’d been looking for this ad for the past few years. I remember reading them in Readers Digest and the words are beautiful. If you have the rest of the series like difference between a man and a man, difference between a husband and a husband, kindly mail it to me @ nairanumod(at)yahoo.com.
      Regards
      Anumod Nair

    • Raji kannan permalink
      November 15, 2014 4:21 pm

      sir- great dad you have, can you pls send to my mail address – rajiks03@gmail.com

  30. janaki permalink
    October 16, 2010 12:09 pm

    I have been a great fan of Raymond ads for a long time., however, the recent ad. of Raymonds showing the Old gentleman in an Oldage home when our model makes it possible for him to meet him his family on his birthday through net, somewhat disturbed me a bit.I am not sure why…….

  31. sagar permalink
    October 23, 2010 6:51 pm

    I just love the music of advertisement…….its a great to listen…………..!

  32. Gopal permalink
    November 27, 2010 8:03 am

    Hex,
    who’s that girl in the add samne ye kaun aya dil mein hui halchal… Pls reply soon
    thankx

  33. yuvraj gupta permalink
    December 9, 2010 7:39 pm

    raymond suitings is the most popular

  34. Sunil Shibad permalink
    January 7, 2011 5:22 pm

    Dear Aviv Nair (son of my sweet boss, Rajan Nair) and friends,

    I hate being pompous and I repeat I detest showing off but today is sad day that Indian creativity is reduced to celebrity endorsements and obsessed with Bollywood and cricket. A reflection of India is regressed. How? I worked on it! I see ads and just in 15 odd years have lost our mind. Though I prove clients time and again that celebrity endorsement is utterly distatoriusly fro their brand, they go on. Why do they need god ads hen they can destroy comeption brands jsut by mispricing, subversing regulation to to their intersts among other ways. (Thsi was oepnly todl me by a client and said, “Ads are just a hobby”).

    This was done indeed created by Rajan Nair and Arun Kale and backed up and followed up by Aradhna Athawale -Chitins (RIP), Sanjay Sure, Samir Johrey and Sunil Shibad (moi). My dear friend, Rajiv Agarwal, was my CEO at that very time in Nexus Equity. What a shame that every one in our nation have sold our souls to Bollywood and cricket.

    I uploaded more great Indians ads. This was not nostalgia but to show the world that there was a time when India could compete with the best in the world. And many did move out of India.

    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=196715&id=645102497&l=818878feab

    There was a time when Indian ad agencies put ideas in ads, not just celebrities.

    Rajan Nair is too, too, too humble. But the time is come to stand up for the truth.

    All should see the quality, long or short copy. Hindi or English. We communicated.

  35. viral kothari permalink
    January 18, 2012 12:17 pm

    Dear Nita,

    Thanks a trillion, I was desparately looking for the tracks for Raymond Commercials and finally i found one.
    Its been by Robert Schumann .

    Thanks once again, you made my day.

    Regards
    Viral Kothari

  36. pradeep siddharth, Dubai permalink
    August 14, 2012 6:54 pm

    Dear Friends, I was a fan of Raymond ads from my childhood and still have some 60-70 ads back in India. These ads belongs to 80s and 90s all print ads. Infact wrote to Raymond and asked them to put all their old ads which they said is not possible. Really a shame. Now thinking of posting all these ads some where. I understand a lot of people from 80s and 90s were influenced by the Complete Man image and if it will make them happy I will post it at a right site. These ads were appeared in TOI, The Hindu, India Today, Readers Digest, Gentleman etc.

    • drhadi permalink
      March 8, 2013 11:26 am

      do you have them with you pradeep ?? …the print ads …with lot of adjectives used…for men …with a lovely font ..and then ended with …the complete man raymonds ….there were at least 3 of them ….do email me if you have them drhadi.masoom@gmail.com

    • Raji kannan permalink
      November 15, 2014 4:28 pm

      sir – Can you pls mail me all those ads – rajiks03@gmail.com

  37. February 5, 2013 1:22 pm

    We want to use one of your image for academic purpose (non-commercial use) at ILLL University of Delhi (India), therefore we need copyright permission for the same. URL of the Image is given below:

    • February 5, 2013 5:00 pm

      Hitender if you want to use that image for a commercial purpose then please take permission from the Raymond company. I am not the copyright holder. If you use the image without buying it from them you could be sued. Thanks.

  38. July 30, 2013 3:05 am

    Is there any website where I can view the old Raymonds tvc with Romanza being played in the background ? If so then could you please help me out with the web link,

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