In a world where every ad gives you a ‘yeh dekha hua hay’ feeling, it is difficult, if not impossible, to break the clutter. The marketing landscape has become saturated with ‘me too’ ads that leave audiences feeling as if they were trapped in a badminton match. Most potential buyers give up and become desensitised to whatever messages are thrown at them. However, every now and then, you see an ad that becomes the flickering flame at the end of the tunnel and the optimist in you starts to believe that there is still some creativity left in the advertising world. Herewith are the top five ads that made me sit up and pay attention – if not cry tears of joy.
Disclaimer: Some actually did. Gul Ahmed, Kenwood and Lenovo, I'm looking at you!
BRAND: Shan Salt
Campaign: Zarra Zarra Khalis
Message: Shan Salt makes everyone a better human being.
Effectiveness: Kudos to Shan Foods for finally realising that ads which feature hands only will not get them the love every brand dreams about. After Shan Stories, the brand has come out with yet another campaign that tugs at the heartstrings, albeit gently. Although the story doesn’t give you a ‘never seen before feeling’, it does make you praise the smart play of words and the placement of the typical subcontinental one-liner, that often serves as a pledge of loyalty, ‘apka namak khaaya hay’, creatively. ‘Agar saaf khayeingay, toh jo bhi khayeingay sukoon se khayeingay’ almost seems like a jab at Pakistan’s current political scene (I’m hoping it is); if this is what Shan was aiming at, then they have won my and everyone else’s – who appreciate the art of subtlety – respect. The ad is a breath of fresh air from the typical ‘families breaking into a synchronised dance because the salt made food so lazeez’ ads.
Verdict: It’s a yes from me!
Campaign: Kenwood Inverter AC
Message: Less perspiration, more (smart) conversation.
Effectiveness: Many AC brands have portrayed the man-in-hot water situation, but Kenwood has taken the game to level Nawazuddin. The slice-of-life TVCs show the dynamics of a married couple in different settings. Nawazuddin does a brilliant job of playing the chatty husband who gets himself into trouble with his wife (played by Ayesha Khan and who by the way, gives Nawazuddin a run for his money). Kenwood’s latest ad in the series shows the husband over-sharing the fact that the biryani their guests can’t stop raving about was cooked by their maid, and not by his wife. Ayesha’s murderous glares and Nawazuddin’s desperate attempts to make up for his blunder only to make matters worse, leads audiences to a few genuine giggles. The insights are on point, the expressions are priceless and the nok jhok is highly relatable.
Verdict: Brand love is just around the corner.
BRAND: Bakeri Nankhatai
Campaign: Yaadoun Say Juda Khasta Maza
Message: Nankhatai takes you back to your childhood.
Effectiveness: The serving size is two minutes and some seconds but the side-effects include taking you back to bachpan and grinning to yourself. Yaadoun Say Juda Khasta Maza seems like a compilation of ‘If you are a 90s kid’ memes and although neither the storyboard nor the jingle offer much wow, the TVC does throw you into a vortex of nostalgia. Although not exactly hum-worthy, the jingle does a decent job of reminding you of all the high points of your childhood if you grew up in Pakistan in the 90s.
Verdict: Almost there.
BRAND: Gul Ahmed
Message: Embrace your imperfections and be f-lawnsome!
Effectiveness: Gul Ahmed has changed the lawn game with their #MeinPerfectHoon campaign, which encourages women to embrace their flaws. Gul Ahmed seems to be undergoing a ‘philosophy makeover’ and, needless to say, we love the new look already! #MeinPerfectHoon gives us hope that we have almost outlived the era of models donning lawn joras and looking lile glamourised hangers. Although the models hardly show a hint of a flaw (many of us would look like that after aggressive Photoshopping and 35 filters), the fact that a lawn brand has broken away from the usual stereotyped ads is a sign of good things to come. Not to mention that #MeinPerfectHoon along with other campaigns, such as #BeatMe, have proved that femvertising has arrived in Pakistan.
Verdict: Eureka! Gul Ahmed ki creative direction perfect hay.
Campaign: Hello Pakistan
Message: Dil dil Pakistan.
Effectiveness: Subcontinental people are swayed by emotions, so what better way to bring out their patriotic fervour than a captivating rendition of the national anthem? Lenovo plays it smart and refreshingly creative with their Hello Pakistan ad. A montage of Pakistan’s breathtaking vistas complemented by the sounds of katt-a-kat, flute, rubab, dhol, water dripping, children humming, all ingeniously brought together to mimic the sound of Pakistan’s national anthem. Lenovo played all their cards right. Not only is the tune riveting, it is also reminiscent of Morven Gold’s ‘Rhythm of Gold’. Points to Lenovo for evoking patriotism, pride, nostalgia and awe with a simple concept executed creatively.
Verdict: Dial Lenovo for advertising gold.
Taniya Hasan is Head of Content, Digitz.