A few years ago, I was in the heartland of the Thar Desert (in the month of May no less!) squatting by an open wood stove with a kindly elderly Tharri woman who did not speak a word of Urdu. I was there to watch her make tea – at the very least – and try and understand the realities of her life – at the most. Why, you may ask? Why so far away from the air-conditioned comfort of my own world? The reason was simple; I needed to create a Big Idea for Chenak tea and there was no way I could write a consumer insight without ever having met a Tharri woman. You see, I believe that the soul of good advertising is an insight that reflects the ideals, values and priorities the consumer holds dear. Without this, ads are simply beautiful pieces of fluff. So when it came to picking campaigns, I kept my consideration simple: did the ad reflect a consumer truth? Only then, in my view, is it noteworthy. I echo Keats who at the end of his Ode on a Grecian Urn wrote “Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all.” That is all for me too.
BRAND: Brooke Bond Supreme
Campaign: Zaiqa apnaypan ka
Message: The tea that connects people, even strangers.
Effectiveness: What I liked about this ad is that it did not resort to the clichés of ‘apnapan’. In fact, it is a nice departure from the family-focused apnapan that has been hammered by tea brands over the years. Having said this, I have seen the ads from this brand’s twin across the border and the Hindu-Muslim ad for Red Label India touched a chord that this one failed to. The premise that tea is a bridge between strangers is relevant and insightful, but the door-to-door diaper saleswoman threw me off. I guess it would have been too much of a political statement to show the widening gap between different ethnicities, religions or even political parties. This ad could have made a bolder statement but decided to play safe.
Verdict: A good effort but a safe concept around a strong insight.
BRAND: Mospel Rapid
Campaign: Aap ka araam, macharon ka kaam tamaam.
**Message: A mosquito spray that does not irritate, aggravate or displace the rest of the household.
Effectiveness: Okay, okay. This is one of ours and I may be criticised for showcasing our own work but hear me out. I am adding this ad because it is a departure from the typical insect spray commercial where the mom is always, always, portrayed as the hero. When we spoke to women about mosquito sprays we found that the reality was quite the opposite from what is depicted on TV! Women using mosquito spray in their homes were berated by their loved ones because it aggravated their allergies and breathing problems, displaced family members from their rooms, and kids especially hated the smell. Far from heroic, a woman who sprayed insect spray was made to feel like a villain! She treated the product as a necessary evil and carried on despite the taanas. Mospel Rapid addresses these realities and provides a solution in a nicely delivered concept.
Verdict: Solid insight. Solid execution.
Message: Obey yourself because when you follow your passion you will find true happiness and success.
Effectiveness: Perhaps it was the similarity to (and endorsement of) the Tapal Danedar Ab dil ki sunno insight or perhaps it was the fact that this was an ad that did not show young people ‘obeying themselves’ by jumping off cliffs and skydiving. I guess it was a bit of both that made me really like the concept. The insight is solid. If you speak to the young in Pakistan, you will hear the cries of a generation caught in perpetual inner conflict. On one hand it is about what they want to do with their lives and on the other, it is about what they are expected to do by their parents, their teachers, and even by society. This conflict is real and relatable and packaged together very nicely in this spot.
Verdict: I’m so glad I ditched computer science in college. I would be homeless today.
Campaign: Induction cooker
Message: Now you can be a part of life outside the kitchen.
Effectiveness: If I had a rupee for every woman I have spoken to who says she feels cut off from the rest of the household when she is in the kitchen, I would have bought myself a yacht. Rather than glorifying life in the kitchen, Homage has gone the other way by addressing a very real insight… that women feel frustrated when they miss out on life because they are stuck in the kitchen. The concept covers big moments, like a daughter’s first step, and smaller ones like a sixer hit by the home team. In either case, the frustration of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has been powerfully captured.
Verdict: Strong insight. Nicely executed.
Campaign: The table
Message: The backbone of family life is the table.
Effectiveness: Milk in Pakistan is primarily consumed as a creamer for tea and tea is not often drunk on the dining table. Honestly, I think this ad is beautifully shot and it makes me smile when I see it. I love the little vignettes of family life that unfold around the table; the stolen moments, the momentous occasions, the little milestones, but I have a really tough time connecting the table with milk. I think it should have been an ad for a furniture brand. The insight that a table is so much more than wood and nails is fantastic. But the connection to milk? Perhaps I’m missing something but I don’t get it.
Verdict: A great ad but for the wrong product.