A couple of days back, it was a colleague’s birthday – a few moments of welcome relief in the midst of pre-release tension. As we finished wishing him, we grabbed chocolates. I’d picked a Kit-Kat as I walked back to debugging my code, and absentmindedly slid it out of the red cover, run my thumbnail in the middle of the foil to rip it into two, separated the two fingers, broke one and put it into my mouth with a expression of utmost satisfaction… what the hell! I don’t believe an ad campaign could influence me at such a subconscious level, no matter how long it ran!
For those of you who ask ‘What ad campaign?’, let me remind you of the Kit-Kat ads of a few years ago. The ones which showed a variety of people – bharatnatyam dancers, traffic policemen, business execs, air traffic controllers, among others – all having a break, having a Kit-Kat. All in the aforementioned way.
And then it reminded me of this post I’d written so long ago and forgotten to post… about time I put it up. Here it is.
This one’s for Pubali, the lady who was born so intelligent that even education couldn’t ruin her, who’ll make me proud one day creating ads the world can’t help but sit up and take notice
There are a good number of ads and ad campaigns that achieve their purpose and stick to the mind. Over the past four years, thanks to my (now ex-)next-door neighbor, I’ve begun to actually notice and dissect ads. I find there are a lot that come to mind even years after viewing them last. Here’s an attempt at chronicling a few atleast.
- S Kumar’s: The ad about the entire family coming together to celebrate the patriarch’s birthday. Very nice jingle that went like As the golden years go by, our hearts are filled with pri-i-de. I didn’t get what S Kumar’s was, but the ad made sure the name stuck to mind.
- Scooty ads: There are two I’d like to note here. The first one was about this girl who’s a bit nervous learning to ride a scooty, and this young man takes her under his wing and teaches her. When she gains a bit of confidence, she ignores him and offers a lift to a backpacker. And at this point, the jingle went like “…and then you go and deceive me like it’s all…. in the game… it’s all in the game”.
The second one had Aftab Shivdasani in it.. this was much before Mast. He takes his girl along for a Scooty ride, when it begins to rain. He parks the Scooty and they take shelter under a tree when he runs back to the Scooty and gets out a raincoat. The girl gives an adoring “oh-cho-chweet” look and the jingle goes like “My, my.. oooh, I love you so“, when he covers the Scooty with the raincoat, and the jingle breaks into a tenor-ish “I love you so…”.
- Archies: I disliked all their ads but for this one. There’s a guy with a piece of cake and a candle singing “Happy Birthday To Me” all alone in his apartment. Then through the mail slit comes one envelope with a birthday greeting… and then another, and then yet another. And he peeps out through the eyeglass and sees all his friends outside with a cake.
- Indigo Marina: This one’s quite recent, comparitively. This guy takes his girl (ages since I saw someone that elegant in an ad) out to the riverfront and then takes out tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery, this, that and everything from his Indigo Marina to set the table for a candlelit dinner, all the while with a Louis Armstrong-ish (I tried googling the lyrics to find the name of the song, but turns out it doesn’t exist… I suppose it’s just sung in the general style of Louis Armstrong… the lyrics were nice, though – “You’re the reason… and the rhyme… you’re that moment lost in time…” – one of the nicest mushy tracks I’ve heard) song playing in the background. And… nice tagline too – because we like to carry our world with us. Very well-shot ad.
- Mirinda: It was where the three orange men in black suits were introduced. They did a bunch of really cool stuff, juggling orange balls or something, I don’t quite remember.
- World Gold Council: This bunch of girls comparing their fashionable and really well-designed gold jewellery. Guess it wanted to say gold need not translate into old-fashioned, chunky jewelry, and can be cool and Zen-looking, too. I must say, the designs were awesome.
- Operation Flood: Doodh hai wonderful, pi sakte ho roz glass-ful doodh. Doodh hai mast in every season, piyo doodh for healthy reason. Rahoge fit fit-and-fine, jiyoge past ninety-nine. The ad didn’t improve the taste of milk, but it atleast made it cool. The jingle was really catchy – I remember a classmate in school writing down the lyrics(!). The present Tea ads don’t even compare.
- Azaadi dil ki: Celebrating 50 years of free India… Freedom to be.. azaadi dil ki.. azaadi hasne ki, rone ki, naachne ki, gaane ki.
- Polo: I think this was the first Polo ad. There are a group of youngsters having noisy late-night party with loud music when all of a sudden, an old neighbor enters the room in his pajamas, and the music stops. Someone offers him a Polo – the mint, with the hole, to let the refreshment through (Aside: At one of the various personality contests held at NITK, one contestant was asked why Polo has a hole, to which she replied, “So that I can put my tongue through it”… *sigh*.. iss zamaane ke bachche bhi na..). And then he does this jig full of crazy, crazy steps you wouldn’t suspect a 70-year-old of knowing, let alone performing, when the music again stops coz a puritan-looking lady with her hair in rollers comes in…
- Frooti’s Digen Verma: A little kid says “I want to drink Frooti and be like Digen Verma”. A football team digs into cartons of Frooti. A starlet-ish lady with ruby-red lips says “Right now, Digen’s putting a pack of Frooti to his llippsss”. “I drink Frooti to be cool with the girls… like Digen”, says a wannabe Romeo. “It’s just a phase, yaar”, says a cynical guy. “Peeta hai to peene do na, tumko kya?”, says a brash type. “He’s a dangerous guy”, says Digen’s college principal. Who’s Digen Verma? What was the whole point of the campaign? It was never revealed, though there were many press releases that said it would happen. Maybe it was never the intention. Good concept to call attention.
- Fevicol: Some of the best ads in India. An alien invasion in a Rajasthani village. A man listening to the radio, and finding that his shadow is stuck to a shop shutter with “fevicol” on it. An unbreakable egg. A village belle balancing five pots on her head, dodging catapults, sticks to trip her up, stones among other things. Katrina on a train.
- M-seal: A father on his deathbed. A slimy son who gets his father to will him a sum with half-a-dozen zeroes following a 1. Think it was Kunal Vijaykar playing the slimeball… awesome performances by the father cringing at signing away his money but having no choice, and the son playing a slimeball to perfection. And the father passes away, the son crosses the threshold of his house when a drop of water from the leaky roof falls on the paper and erases the 1.
- Dinku: “So what is mamma calling you?”, the auntie asks the yet-to-be named baby. A session of name-suggestion by the friends of the new parents follows, when finally the baby says “Dinku”, silencing everyone. More than what the ad conveyed, I liked he way it was designed – urbane and contemporary to the hilt.
- FastTrack Watches: Roll Call in class. A series of “Yess Sirr!”s from girls following the entry of a guy wearing a FastTrack watch. It was cheesy at best, but I mention this ad just for the guy in it.
- Mahindra Scorpio(I think): A large family going to visit the house of a newborn, with everyone from grandfather, grandmother, uncles, aunts and a dozen grandchildren suggesting names for the baby. Again, to emphasize the seating capacity of the vehicle.
- Airtel (I think): The first few ads… with people calling each other in a variety of Indian languages from different regions in India.
- Talking of which, I should mention this non-ad here. Though it wasn’t meant as much for advertising as it was for celebrating unity in diversity, Mile Sur Mera Tumhara was shot by Ogilvy and Mather. More than anything else, it is something of immense nostalgic value to an entire generation of Indians – mine.
- School Chalein Hum: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan’s ad. Nice music. Well-directed video (Kanika-Bala, what else can you expect?). It showed kids going to school – jumping over narrow streams, in boats, running through paddy fields, reading as their mothers plaited their hair, learning their regional languages, drawing on sand, posing for photographs. All the shots have the kids either smiling, or with brows furrowed in concentration at their lessons. Now after watching that, which kid won’t want to go to school?
I’ve consciously avoided the more recent ads… I think it’s too early to say whether they are really good… maybe a couple of years down the line, if I still remember them, then I’ll deem them good enough to be categorized in the ‘best few ads I’ve seen’ category.
So…. which ads do you like?