In our market we tend to use the phrase ‘the best ever ad’ without discretion, whether it’s a fairness cream or a detergent, lawn collection or even an economic plan or policy. In the last month or so, however, this lofty phrase took a whole new meaning when it was used for Shan’s Ramazan ad.
So is this the best ever TVC produced by a Pakistani brand?
To be sure, for most people it was emotional and brought a flood of feelings. Personally, I did not break down and cry; yes I’ve grown up on Shan masala while living away from Pakistan, (it was a staple in my mom’s kitchen along with Madras curry powder).
I admired the ad for its concept and the fact that it was made by a company that has been tagged as conservative and traditional. But I decried the over acting by 'Umair', which has rightfully spawned a whole cosmos of memes, proving that our social media public misses nothing and are quite a creative if not vindictive lot seemingly saying to Shan ‘Reality chak lo!’
This ad was definitely a refreshing change from the over top executions we are used to. But will it enter the annals of Pakistani ad history and be remembered even six months, let alone years from now? I have my doubts.
Here however are five ads that have stayed lodged in my memory and can still bring a smile to my face.
Ufone – Faisal Qureshi Mechanic
This ad might seem very ordinary when you watch it in 2015. However, let me argue my case for including it. It is one of the first where a telco brand in Pakistan used humour to communicate their message. As the ad plays out, you might be wondering what’s going on; the reveal is pretty amazing. Here we have a relatively new telco boldly saying that we’re so affordable that even the lower class can use us. Keep in mind this is probably some years before Airtel made that epic series of ads where everyone is using their service, practically everyone, even the boy who’s cleaning the barber shop. Considering all this, I’m sure we can ignore the over acting.
Ufone – Teri Meherbaani
Ufone has stuck with the humor platform for some years now, however on most occasions their message got drowned out by the punch line. Not so in the case of this hilarious ad, there’s absolutely no way you can miss what Ufone are trying to say. This is such a well thought out ad and even today is popular with the Pakistani public. I have no qualms about saying that Ufone could run this commercial again today and not get any complaints.
Nido 1 plus – Ek Saal Hogaya Hai
This is such a cute ad and extremely well executed. The brand benefits are clearly demonstrated, we can all relate to the fact that toddlers are prone to putting things in their mouths and generally raising hell. I just love the idea of the thought bubble and the hatke idea of the mother spoiling the baby’s plans. The kid’s expressions are priceless too.
Telenor Internet 2013 – Savera Nadeem, Zuhab Khan
Now here’s a first, a Pakistani ad that shows a family riding in a bus. No vain attempt at showing aspirations, just a simple, strong and effective concept. Many commercials have focused on the woman’s desire to save, this ad beautifully shows the pain of that process and how the brand can help the family reduce their sacrifices. Another positive is that the celebrity they have used does not overshadow or dominate. Savera Nadeem fits in the role perfectly and adds her own charm.
Peak Frean’s Sooper – Launch
People are still trying to find out the Sooper formula for success, which turned an under achieving brand into a case study for how to dominate the market. The timing of the release was spot on, the agency placed this differentiated offering in the commercial slots of the 2003 World Cup. No doubt some may say the campaign benefited from a relatively uncluttered environment, however the ad had and I believe still has the power to break through the quagmire we call marketing communications.
The Shan commercial brought with it a well spring of positive emotions but some marketers and people were despondent that such an ad was once again done from across the border. A friend had this to say “It’s time not to celebrate but only to appreciate.” I hope that after viewing this top 5, my fellow Pakistani practitioners will have some cause to celebrate, because these ads are not the only good ads we’ve produced, far from it there are many others that deserve applause and at times we’ve been ahead of the curve vis a vis our neighbor. Recently a new crop of ads have been created that give us hope for the future and I’m sure in a short while, more opportunities to celebrate our local advertising.