Fifteen years in this field, and with plenty of the ugly stuff still hitting our landscape, I still love advertising, making and watching ads every day. So writing Campaign Watch was a juggling act between the good, the bad and the ugly. Why did I select these for reviews? Simple; good or bad, I wanted to pick ads that I could have something purposeful to say about.
Campaign: Samina Baig – Jahan khwab, wahan HBL
Message: You can achieve anything, if you put your back into it.
Effectiveness: For sure, this ad must have tested the back muscles of all the cast and crew in those extreme climatic conditions. A simple and powerful ad that is a cinematic visual treat to watch. But first things first. For a change, someone put some brains into selecting a celebrity endorsement that complements the brand. Too often, in their desire to have star power in their communication clients display that ‘we are loaded, please rob us!’ attitude, which results in overly priced celebrities ending up simply striking a pose with the product. Samina Baig is a great match for HBL’s positioning and she has been used well in this ad. Nothing exceptionally earth-shatteringly creative about the communication, but all the ingredients – a relevant celebrity, a powerful human story, high-production values and the brand’s proposition come together to create a compelling piece of communication.
Verdict: A pleasant break in the ad clutter.
BRAND: Nestlé Nesfruta
Brand: Nestlé Nesfruta
Campaign: Kuch naya kar
Message: Try something new… act like a clown!
Effectiveness: I mean wow!!! Really? Is this all the young guys of today can come up with to gain the attention of a woman? Not to mention insulting the intellect of all the women out there. If they were that easy to impress, we wouldn’t have ego battles over women. All right, so the strategy is to divert young people away from carbonated soft drinks and convert them to juices. Great. Kuch naya kar is an apt proposition, although hardly original (Voice Mobile did a thematic under the same tagline). Nestlé wanted to differentiate Nesfruta from its premium juice range Fruita Vitals, so they opted for street humour and launda antics to attract the middle and lower tier young. Fair enough. But what went wrong after that? The stunt by the boys was hardly something new. The ‘fell off a tree helping a cat’ routine is so 19th century. The tagline kuch naya kar stares you in the face. At least do justice to it. An apt soundtrack for this ad comes to mind, a song by Beck… ‘I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me!’
Verdict: It’s …………………… (silence speaks louder than words).
Campaign: 100 years celebrations
Message: Khushiyon sey bhara Pakistan.
Effectiveness: Can’t stop smiling. This ad truly makes you feel happy inside out. (All right, I have to confess, I love this brand.) The Coke Studio angle ensures that all Coke ads shine hands down on the music and design. And this one takes that to the next level. The music score has the right ‘happy’ feel with an uplifting rhythm and the signature Coke tune that takes you to a happy place. The visual story is simple and captivating, with a sequence of a hand raising the Coke bottle to drink, shot across multiple characters, locations and scenarios. The cast characterisation and shot choreography is simply marvellous and the high production values come through very nicely. Put together, it makes for a very entertaining communication with a big impact, befitting the occasion of a 100 years celebration campaign for this iconic brand.
Verdict: Two thumbs up! (no disrespect to Coke).
BRAND: SnackCity Chillz
Brand: SnackCity Chillz
Campaign: Spicy Thrillz
Message: Chillz will seriously knock you out.
Effectiveness: I must say that this ad is a killer… of creativity. Why do we insist on believing that our audiences are tone deaf and have the power of imagination of a rock? I do understand that they were looking for a mass-market concept and decided to cash in on the audience appeal for a jingle and that is okay. Together with the idea of somehow showing the product benefit of ‘spice’ in a creative way, you could say that they had a basic plot in hand. But wow! It ended up being a montage of a bunch of people having epileptic fits with eyes-popping-hands-fluttering-OMG-expressions, courtesy of the ‘spicy thrillz’ of the product. All of this choreographed to a jingle that takes you straight to the in-drive musical entertainment of a Lahore-Multan wagon service. Enough said.
Verdict: Gave me the chillz! I feel cold and numb.
BRAND: Homage Inverter
Campaign: Jiyo normal zindagi, non-stop
Message: Shortcuts can land you in prison.
Effectiveness: And by no means did this communication employ any shortcuts. One character. One camera frame. One minute of pure ad goodness. It’s a long ad but keeps you captivated until the end with its engaging and eloquently worded script – and mind you, without having any of those ‘big film’ vistas, grand sets and locations that you expect in a 60-second commercial. Great acting, fun to watch and delivers the core message in a memorable way. The ad works well on so many levels. No brand overkill. It wasn’t executed with a mindset of: “Hey, we got a whole minute to flash our brand. How about every two seconds?” But with this ad, I still recall the brand even after a single viewing. The ad also balances cost-effectiveness; a low production cost concept on a one-minute film meant more money for media, justifying the long ad duration. Overall, I would say this campaign is a win for creative professionals, where the client allows you to do what you do best – make memorable communication.
Verdict: This is how it’s done.
Awais Iqbal Dhakan is Executive Creative Director, Adcom. firstname.lastname@example.org