Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Nov-Dec 2016

Lifestyle trends

Sara Qureshi

1.) Streaming services: We are witnessing the decline of piracy, when a legion of intrepid anonymice would upload and download dubious content with reckless abandon. Redemption is here in the form of Netflix (and the harsh crackdown on all those poor Torrenting sites). Now we can all be upstanding culture consumers who subscribe, pay and stream!

2.) Careem: No more carpooling, begging your brother for a lift, or gingerly hailing down a decrepit yellow-and-black taxi. All you need to do is call, book, pay and travel. And the best bit? If you are feeling particularly swanky (or in the mood to burn cash), you can even splurge on a limo and experience that ‘going to prom’ feeling that was such a staple of rom-coms back in the day.

3.) Selling/buying online: Despite low credit/debit card penetration and a healthy scepticism (read: paranoia) of online transactions, there’s a myriad of buying/selling groups on Facebook where you can offload anything from a car to a watch.

4.) Body monitoring/internables: With Fitbit and smartphone apps, people are tracking their physical activity, nutrition and a host of other health indicators daily and easily.

5.) Consumers as journalists: Thanks to the power of social media, we all have a voice and express it freely, whether we are reviewing a brand, castigating our politicians, or debating existentialism.

Sara Qureshi is a marketing professional working in Pakistan. saraqureshi75@gmail.com


TVCs

Khizra Munir

1.) Telenor Rawaan: This seven minute work of art shot by Jami with Daniyal Raheel as the lead should not be labelled a TVC. With a haunting and hypnotic quality, the film ensures you don’t quit half way, but travel with the main lead in his quest to find what he is looking for. What a journey! What a soulful trip.

2.) Coke Studio for the Deaf: We all love Coke Studio and the music it brings. So when Coke Studio created an experience whereby hearing impaired people could enjoy the same music we take for granted, it was such a pleasure for all of us.

3.) HBL (Scuba Diver): Taking us on the journey of how Pakistan’s first woman scuba diving instructor worked her way up was inspirational. With beautiful visuals and a solid script, the film leaves one uplifted!

4.) QMobile Ramazan 2016: A strong campaign is one that has picked the right insights and this one has. We were all rallying for the inspirational Pakistan Womens’ cricket team when suddenly QMobile appeared with a story we all could relate to. And we loved it.

5.) Nestlé Nido 1+: We have seen Cybil Chaudhry on billboards, posing with her gorgeous pout, her confident stare coaxing us to buy the brand she is endorsing. But seeing her as just another mom doing her best and still second guessing herself is endearing and humanising and an instant connect!

Khizra Munir is CEO, CoPakistan.
munir.khizra@gmail.com


Marketing resources

Tyrone Tellis

1.) Boredom: Based on the research and experience of Martin Lindstrom, boredom is a pre-requisite for observation and creativity. To excel at marketing don’t get angry; get bored.

2.) Digitalbuzzblog: It is the age of digital and disruption and to explore the best campaigns from around the world, www.digitalbuzzblog.com is your go-to site.

3.) Slideshare: Undervalued but an amazing source of information. You can even put up your own presentations and build your network.

4.) Google: Google search is a powerful way to learn about new information, technology, innovations and stay up-to-date.

5.) Facebook marketing groups: Marketers love nothing more than to debate and discuss, and the large number of Facebook marketing groups allow you to do just that, as well as learn from peers and experienced professionals.

Tyrone Tellis is a marketing professional working in Pakistan. tyrone.tellis@gmail.com


Faces

Shahrezad Samiuddin

1.) Edhi: The meek and the mighty were united in mourning the passing away of Pakistan’s beloved philanthropist and the founder of this country’s largest public welfare network in July. The ascetic humanitarian who sought minimal fanfare during his life, was honoured with a grand state funeral – the first in a quarter of a century.

2.) Momina Mustehsan: Stunning Mustehsan broke a million hearts when it was revealed that the Coke Studio debutante was engaged. Apart from the sensational voice and drop dead gorgeousness, she hit it for a six in her reply to a troll who tried to rain on her parade by comparing her looks to those of his maid. Her hashtag #RespectAll won the day. Well played, Mustehsan!

3.) Qandeel Baloch: She shot to a short-lived, but heady tryst with fame when she sent a pouty and sensuous marriage proposal to Imran Khan and offered to ‘strip dance’ for the cricket team. As in life, so in death, the sassy 26-year-old YouTube star sparked a final media circus and set off polarised reactions when she was found murdered in her Multan home, purportedly killed by her brother.

4.) Chai waala Arshad Khan: As smokin’ hot Islamabad chai waala Arshad Khan stared into a camera... the internet crashed. A quick haircut later, blue-eyed Khan found himself in the eye of a media storm as he was whisked from a content-starved morning show to modelling contract signing. The man experienced more in his rags-to-riches week than most people do in a lifetime.

5.) Amjad Sabri: Legendary qawwal, Amjad Sabri’s blooded murder on Karachi’s streets threw a spotlight on the vulnerability of public personalities in a lawless land. Poignant scenes followed as disbelieving crowds attended the funeral of the man who had modernised qawwali and made it relevant again. TV channels went into overdrive replaying his last naat, recorded the night before, that described scenes from the grave. Strangely prescient.

Shahrezad Samiuddin is a pop culture junkie and a scriptwriter. shahrezadsamiuddin@yahoo.com


Design ideas

Rashna Abdi

1.) Snap Spectacles: Snap Inc. introduced Spectacles – hip sunglasses in bright colours (and basic black). They let you record a 30-second video with a click of a button, open the Snapchat app and transfer via Bluetooth. And they reinvented the innocuous vending machine into a modern, cheerful yellow. Google sees green.

2.) Nauroz eggs installation: For Nauroz this year, 500 artists and designers installed five-foot eggs across Tehran for the Baharestan Art Project. To take an essential of the traditional haft seen table and turn it into a public art installation made for a smart way of reinventing an age-old festival.

3.) The Fuji polaroid camera: Brushing the dust of Polaroids, Fujifilm introduced the Instax Mini, a cool in-stand Polaroid camera with a fun, retro design. Suddenly DSLR and iPhone aficionados were stocking up on Polaroid film and shaking the prints to see their pictures revealed old-school style. The comeback story of the year.

4.) Abercrombie & Fitch: The retail superstar was known for self-absorbed campaigns and stores that looked like nightclubs.

But A&F customers grew up and turned away. A&F now features a clean palette with ethnically diverse models and a straightforward, yet playful image. This philosophy has been replicated in their stores as well.

5.) Pokémon GO: Transforming a Game Boy success for the digital age was a stretch by any imagination. But Pokémon GO took the same characters (and its players) into the real world gaining a whole new audience. And it got couch potatoes moving. Who would have thought a video game could do that?

Rashna Abdi is Executive Creative Director, IAL Saatchi & Saatchi.


Social media memes

Umair Kazi

1.) #LikeABoss: I consciously wanted to avoid political personalities from this list, but Sheikh Rasheed orchestrated such a masterclass in memeworthy behaviour during late 2016 that you just can’t ignore him. His rap-battle-ready postures and dramatic chase sequences made great fodder for a variety of memes in practically any Pakistani context. Just pure boss.

2.) #MankindsAngel: Professional breaker-of-internet Taher Shah is in another league altogether, because of his global reach and on-cue virality. Dubbed the weirdest YouTube celebrity in the world by The Washington Post, 2016’s Angel alone inspired entire genres of memes. Either he’s the most naive person in Pakistan, or the shrewdest. I honestly can’t tell.

3.) #CollectiveChaiwalaCrush: Social media’s darling of the hour (or has-been depending on when this goes into print) seemed to have touched the zenith of accidental fame, and I’m sure more people worldwide can recognise his mug (get it?) than any other Pakistani’s. His signature image is easy to fit into any situation, and often appears next to Fawad, Gosling, Modi – even a Nepali sabziwali!

4.) #OhMyMomina: Momina Mustehsan’s appearance in an otherwise lacklustre Coke Studio season helped propel her into fame, and the local internet community quickly responded to perpetuate her as the archetype of Pakistani girl-next-door. They then proceeded to bicker about how she was cute and talented or cute and opportunistic. Jury’s still not out.

5.) #PSLPagalpana: The media hoopla around the inaugural PSL spilled out to user-generated content as well, a lot of which became really good memes. From Ramiz Raja’s weird run in with Chitraganda, to wacky antics by foreigner cricketers (OMG so #gora), Shahid Afridi’s polarising performances, and general trolling about Islamabadi sleepiness, the memeverse was hooked.

Umair Kazi is Partner, Ishtehari. umair@ishtehari.com


Foodie flashbacks

Amber Rauf

1.) 7-UP: Mana Lo Food ka Love gave foodies the ‘green-light’ to sizzle, chop and garnish their way into indulging in seriously lip-smacking deliciousness. With a mantra that celebrates and embraces your love of food, it is no surprise this TVC is hunger-inducing! Despite the fact that technically the commercial is for a beverage, and whilst the brand itself is definitely the ‘hero ingredient’, it somehow makes you want to run to the nearest restaurant!

2.) Nurpur: Buttery, cheesy, milky... the creamy deliciousness of the brand’s key ingredients as well as the beautiful imagery – from the parathas to the jalebis and the grilled cheese to the omelette – ensured that the highlight of the TVC was most definitely Nurpur and the feasting that can emerge from it!

3.) MasterChef Australia: This Aussie sensation seems to have been adopted by Pakistani foodies who seem as invested in it as anyone in Australia. The sheer amount of education and knowledge entrenched in each episode, the technical proficiency in both the cooking skills, and the fabulous food photography that brings each artistic creation to life, leaves one salivating for more than just the perfectly-cooked pasta or the intricate and awe-inspiring dessert creations! You want to smell, taste and feast on their creativity... but you also secretly want to be able to make what they do... even if you think you can’t! This is more than a show; it is an experience... a feast brought to life!

4.) Karachi Eat Food Festival: With a headline like Karachi Eat the name screams salivation... and clicking on the Facebook page just makes the drool dribble down your chin. Not only do they post some great food videos and pictures, the images of the delights that await you – from inch-increasing pancakes to spice-laden bun kababs – are what induce the massive queues every year! Karachi Eat 2017? I’m already hungry!

5.) Okra: This fine dining establishment is definitely an experience most foodies will savour and their Facebook page is equally enticing. Images of perfectly-prepared French toast and steaks... and freshly baked bread you can almost smell... will have you sniffing all the way to the restaurant!

Amber Rauf is Director Strategic Planning and Corporate Communications, MullenLowe Rauf. amber.rauf@mullenlowerauf.com


WTF moments

Amir Haleem

1.) The old man and Sindh: Shocked at Brexit? Pulling your hair at the Trump win? Ha! While most Pakistanis sat on their high horses laughing at the Brits and the Yanks and preaching sanity, their own elected government pulled a Trump on them by placing a 78-year-old man, who needs to be assisted to walk, in the office of the Governor of Sindh. That to me was the mother of all WTF moments for 2016. But given the year it has been, I will not put it past 2016 to pull something even more stunning before the sun sets on December 31.

2.) The first Pakistani bull run: Spain might be famous for its ‘Running of the Bulls’ festival but Pakistan now has its own such event that hopefully will be celebrated annually with zest and fervour. On October 28, Sheikh Rashid ran through the narrow streets of Lahore with the government’s ‘bulls’ chasing after him. The Twitter sphere went mad as he negotiated lanes to reach Committee Chowk. Now hate him or love him, if this isn’t worthy of an annual celebration, I don’t know what is.

3.) The Orange Pumpkin Revolution: Although it’s been talked about to death but a ‘top 5 WTF moments’ list is not complete without talking about the first ‘orange’ president to be elected by the US. There are many reasons why Halloween will now continue for the next four years, but from a digital perspective we have to admit Twitter helped him get there. The very thing that everybody said would destroy him, helped Trump connect to millions of likeminded people in America. A scary thought because it gives you an insight into what America is today.

4.) From London with love: Although video feeds from London are known for their ever frequent lapses in judgment, the Aik pappi idhar and aik pappi udhar episode broke new grounds in the cringe worthy zone of digital content. Never before have I sat frozen in a chair praying for the horror to end. Possibly the greatest local fodder for memes since Aamir Liaqat’s Ghalib.

5.) The ‘Great Zapya’ episode: Surprisingly, Pakistan has more than the average share per country of weird when it comes to digital content. A lot of credit for this accolade goes to Waqar Zaka who single handedly steered this country into global WTF waters. The Zapya baby promo is a great example of WZ’s unenviable skills and a good way to end my list of five WTF moments of 2016.

Syed Amir Haleem is CEO, KueBall Digital. syedamirhaleem@gmail.com


Dramas

Shahrezad Samiuddin

1.) Udaari: Although it will forever be associated with the controversial theme of child abuse, the plot line stoked discourse on other burning issues such as class, parental pressures and caste. Bushra Ansari’s outspoken Sheedan and Ahsan Khan’s villainous Imtiaz stole the show in this uneasy, but necessary reality tale that featured strong performances by a veteran cast.

2.) Mann Mayal: Proof that a warped plot that swings from bad to worse can keep audiences on tenterhooks, as they wait to see what new depths of inanity the storyline will touch every week. The so-bad-it-was-good plot made up for lead couple Hamza Abbasi and Maya Ali’s complete lack of chemistry.

3.) Dillagi: It may have featured oldies Humayun Saeed and Mehwish Hayat, but there was nothing jaded about veteran writer Faiza Iftikhar’s strong characters. Refreshingly fearless and feisty, Dillagi’s Anmol (Hayat) towered above the waves of forgettable, disempowered TV heroines that are becoming hard to tell apart.

4.) Gul-e-Rana: This twisted tale of love and hate caught audiences’ imagination with its emotional roller coaster of a plot. Hum TV scored a winner with gorgeous on-location shoots in Murree and Nathia Gali, and powerhouse performances by doe-eyed Sajjal Ali in the titular role and the talented Feroze Khan as bad boy Adeel.

5.) Mein Sitara: Set in the golden era of the Pakistani film industry, TV One’s Mein Sitara shattered through the saas-bahu clutter with a classy period offering. A throwback to the times when stories were stories instead of a series of plot explosions between ad breaks. This premium production melded real-life stories of Subcontinental stars, threw several grey characters into the mix as it charted the fortunes and failings of Lollywood star Sitara, played to perfection by Saba Qamar.

Shahrezad Samiuddin is a pop culture junkie and a scriptwriter. shahrezadsamiuddin@yahoo.com


Big ideas

Patrick Collister

1.) This year, Cannes awarded several Grand Prix to ideas that are only just beginning. Instead of being a retrospective celebration, the Innovation Grand Prix went to Google DeepMind for AlphaGo. This is an idea that anticipates a flood of innovations yet to come. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to transform our world, let alone how advertising works. AI, machine learning, neural networks, call it what you will, technology is about to anticipate your every need and answer your questions before you have even asked them. (bit.ly/1oZAqvw)

2.) If AI is probably the biggest single idea of the moment, virtual reality is close behind. The New York Times mailed 1.3 million Google cardboards to its subscribers, instantly transforming itself from a print business into a content platform. You no longer read the paper, you experience its stories in 3D video. And that provides both great opportunities and challenges for advertisers, who are beginning to look for ways they can use technology to engage more profoundly with their customers. With Google Daydream recently launched, immersive 3D through your phone is now available at relatively low cost to everyone. There are already around a million 3D videos on YouTube. Soon there will be 10 times that number. (bit.ly/2aZtWXh)

3.) The third big idea is wearable. Google has teamed up with Levis to create a jacket with yarn that is conductive. The result, Project Jacquard, also won a Grand Prix at Cannes (for Product Design). You can now have a computer the size of a button, which will give you directions, provide you with music and keep you connected when you are on the go. The applications are going to be so much more practical than just allowing you to browse through Spotify while on the bus. Clothing that reports back to your phone and to your doctor about what you are doing too much of and too little of is already here. (bit.ly/1GLtzvP)

4.) Other big ideas. Siri, Alex and Google Assistant. These are bots that listen to you and respond instantly. There are already some amazing experiments with bots. Eugenia Kuyda has recreated her friend Roman Mazurenko, who was knocked down and killed by a speeding car in Moscow. Now you can go online and chat with him at www.stampsy.com.

5.) Lastly, as the world watched the American Presidential contest with dismay, alarm and disbelief, Netflix ran a TV commercial in between one of the debates. It featured Frank Underwood, fictional politician from the hit TV series House of Cards, spoofing the candidates’ advertising. You know what? If he was running, he’d win (bit.ly/1m5Sxi4).

Patrick Collister is a creative director in The ZOO at Google. He is also the editor of Directory (directnewideas.com).