There are a few stages you go through when asked for your opinion.
The first is excitement: “OMG! I’ve so got this. #thuglife”. The second is panic: sheer, utter panic. “Wait! This is going to be going in print? For the world to see? Okay, not world, but still.”
After this, you graduate to denial: “Maybe I can pretend to be sick? Wait, even better! I’ll say I have a pitch coming up!”, followed by a lot of heavy breathing to help you process the magnitude of the task ahead, and a pep talk along the lines of, “Get it together! You can do this! Nope! Nope! Yes! Yes!” And finally, revelation: “What date is it again?”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I will admit I hit the jackpot with the timing of this article. The stars aligned amidst the chaos and havoc of life to grant this humble soul the perfect window between Ramazan and August 14.
Now, we as an industry get a lot of heat for being generic, for run-of-the-mill jingles, promoting ‘Stepford Wives’, too much or too little... Fawad Khan, you get the drift.
I do admit we are all those things (and more!), but we do produce gems, too. The tearjerkers, the heart-wrenching, laugh out loud, hit ‘share’ kind of amazing stuff. So in the spirit of celebrating all that makes up the industry we love, and sometimes hate, here is my rundown of some of the best, and the most meh campaigns in recent times.
Campaign: Coke Studio for the deaf
Message: Music is a feeling that everyone should experience.
Effectiveness: I will admit that like most conceptualisers and designers worldwide, I do fan-girl Coca-Cola, but no one can deny the credit this campaign deserves. The snippets of the people who were hearing impaired, describing what music feels to them, the expressions and the voiceovers. Come on! Your heart needs to be made of stone if “meri khuwahish thi kay mujhey bhi awaaz aye, bhalay hi thori aye lekin mujhey awaaz aye,” didn’t make you tear up. The initiative makes you step out of your bubble and appreciate everything you take for granted. It makes you think and get goosebumps; that alone makes this a winner.
Verdict: I got goosebumps, I smiled and I fell in love!
BRAND: Oye Hoye
Campaign: Oochi vs Fawad Khan
Message: Life mein Oye, chips mein sirf Oye Hoye
Effectiveness: Now before you all start hating me, let me plead my case. As I said, our industry is currently experiencing a Fawad Khan invasion, and I agree, seeing his face plastered on every billboard really doesn’t help with brand identification. That being said, I love the Oochi character because for the first time in a long time, Fawad Khan’s star power has been leveraged to create an actual brand identity. Let’s admit it: there is only so much of Mr Khan’s charming smile and sultry gaze one can take, but as Oochi (even if they remove the product), you still know what the brand stands for. Oye Hoye has successfully broken into a saturated market and hit brand recognition and recall in all the right places.
Verdict: Yes to Oochi and his moochi!
Campaign: McDonald’s apna apna
Message: McDonald’s khana hai toh apna mangwa
Effectiveness: I am all for brands trying to leave their comfort zone. And McDonald’s tries; it tries so hard (remember the suhaag raat ad?) and unfortunately it doesn’t deliver. Remember the ‘too much Fawad Khan’ syndrome? This is exactly like that, except with Shaan Shahid. Don’t get me wrong, he is the ultimate superhero. However, even his star power couldn’t save this ad for me. I appreciate the concept but the execution falls flat; the transitions are too slow and a bit too staged, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how I am expected to believe the food didn’t get pichkoed in the fight sequence.
Verdict: I love you Shaan, but I don’t love this ad!
BRAND: National Foods
Campaign: Share food, share love
Message: Hum baant rahay hain pichlay 46 saalon say apna pyar
Effectiveness: I know, I know! There are countless ads out there with flashbacks and journeys through the history of Pakistan. So what makes National’s campaign so special? Yes, it’s beautifully shot; yes, the script is impeccable; and yes, it is nostalgia-inducing, but that’s not what does it for me. It is the restraint and a lot can be said about the restraint a brand exercises in its advertising, where the product is not shoved down the audience’s throat. Well done, National, for respecting your consumers and playing on the sentiment of the message well. The shots, the transitions, and the eras are portrayed for the sake of the people and not the product. You have my utmost respect.
Verdict: Thank you National for not talking down to your consumer.
Message: Rawaan, apni talaash main
Effectiveness: Telenor, what can I say? It’s a visual, auditory and conceptual masterpiece. It makes you want to rewind and watch the beauty unravel. The contrasts of the video are spectacular, from the scenic routes to the plains to the colours, everything comes together and the audio, oh man, the audio! Honestly, I didn’t feel patriotic after watching it, but I felt warm and happy and grateful for the reminder of the vastness of the journey. And the best part, the best part! No revolving blue pankhas flying around! Extra brownie points for Team Telenor!
Verdict: Hit repeat. Enough said!
Sana Naeem is Creative Director, The Brand Crew. firstname.lastname@example.org