The creative consultant picks five best ads.
Watching campaigns unfold these days is such an experience because a new fresh vibe is resonating through them. The same pretty faces have been replaced with real characters, dialogues are shifting from trite declarations to real conversations, the acting has taken a turn for the natural. The digital space has opened a new avenue to tell longer stories and allowing us to break free of the 30 second constraint. Let's hope this trend continues to evolve in this direction and advertising becomes more authentic and poignant.
Campaign: Gari ki deals only on PakWheels
Message: You’ll regret not going with the expert.
Effectiveness: Although heavily inspired by the monster.com campaign, it was tweaked just enough past plagiarism into the realm of inspiration. What drew me to the campaign was the acting and direction. The casting was spot on; the policeman with the moves was my favourite. And the theatrical styled and minimalistic production design added another layer of individuality. The ads were thoroughly entertaining and worth several repeat views. Verdict: Errr... you do know a lot of people have seen the ‘Caught in the Wrong Job’ campaign right?
BRAND: Bank Alfalah
Campaign: The way forward
Message: The banking partner of innovation and courage.
Effectiveness: Gasp! Was my first reaction when I saw this spot. Editing it like a movie trailer was the perfect decision, not only because it allowed the frustration of the young man to come through, and the juxtaposition of the choppiness of the shots with the steadiness of the voiceover added an additional dimension of cinematic scale. What really worked was the fact that the movie trailer feel wasn’t just an editing gimmick. The concept was conceived as one and the spot was shot on a scale that true movies are shot. Kudos to Jami for pulling off an entire film in a 60-second TVC. However, the real star of the show is the concept writer whose narrative wove the spot together. An ad that makes you see something new every time you watch it and emote and bond with the brand, which is after all what all communication aspires to do.
Verdict: What a revelation!
Campaign: Wohi pyaar bhari recipes
Message: The expression of love handed down through generations.
Effectiveness: I always look forward to National masala ads. The rich cultural tapestry is both visual and musical. The textures and layers in the production design, the slightly exaggerated but ingenuous acting and the great food shots all come together to make you feel good about Pakistani culture and cuisine. Until this one! Seriously what went wrong? Everything that made National masala ads special was missing in this execution. The concept is really nice, and the insight so relatable that it makes the poor result all the more disappointing. Sanam is a brilliant actor but instead of the positive, sprightly protagonist that the concept demanded, she plays someone who is gloomy and burdened. Overall, the spot has a depressing feel, in the production design, the styling and especially the dialogue delivery. This is especially unacceptable in the climax line, “Akhir beti kis ki hoon”. The moment that should have been enriched with all the loving pride in being the perfect homemaker’s daughter falls flat. Another minor point, isn’t it rather uncharacteristic of a woman who even dusts chandeliers herself to order naan and not make homemade rotis? The only saving grace is that the music and the food shots are as good as always.
Verdict: An unexpected miss.
Campaign: Say it with a song
Message: Express your feelings with the song lyrics on the bottle.
Effectiveness: This is an ad that seldom comes along. An ad where everything works; from the casting to the styling, from the sets and locations to the art direction, from the direction to the camera work. What really appeals to me about this piece of communication is the painstaking detail in every frame. A big shoutout to Adnan and Mo, the way the camera moved through the cast made the viewer a part of the experience. The subtlety of increasing the pace and then slowing it down, and the moments of pause were delicately woven through. Everything came together to make this an ad worth watching over and over again.
Verdict: God indeed is in the details.
Campaign: Ramazan Activation
Message: Have a germ free Ramazan.
Effectiveness: Activations often seem forced and their amplifications almost always staged. The Lifebuoy Ramazan activation is a clear exception. The idea of supplying sinks and Lifebuoy soap to samosa and jalebi vendors is a perfect fit for Ramazan. To see the Lifebuoy sink by the vendor is not just a reassurance but an affirmation in the brand. It’s also the perfect venue to reinforce the message of killing germs and the importance of washing your hands. The amplification done through a heartwarming viral video that tells the story of a samosa vendor’s son is also spot-on. The casting of the young boy was the feather in the video’s cap. His wholesome, wide eyed innocence is so genuine and touching that it adds to the believability of the undertaking. What I particularly appreciated was that the dialogues were written in an age appropriate tone of voice instead of the quasi adult one usually used. This added to the overall sincerity of the communication.
Verdict: The stars aligned on this one.
Kiran Murad is a creative consultant. firstname.lastname@example.org