Everyone loves TV commercials that pull at one’s heartstrings; so here is a list of five ads made here in Pakistan and in India which try (and sometimes fail) to make use of the feel-good vibe to their advantage:
Surf Excel (#NekiEkIbadat)
Somewhere between repulsive game show hosts disrespectfully hurling prizes at people and Ramazan centred songs that make you want to deep-fry your head along with the pakoray at iftaar, the message of this holy month has been distorted, if not lost altogether. However, in the midst of this confusion, Surf Excel’s #NekiEkIbadat TVC served as a reminder of what Ramzan is actually about – kindness. With the heart warming storyline of a young boy going out of his way to help an elderly man prepare for sehri, this ad used human emotion to convey the message, free of excessive ornamentation, such as grand locations or extravagant musical scores. The background music goes along beautifully with the visuals, adding to the effect and leaving the audience with a lingering feeling of warmth.
Mezan Cooking Oil
Designed as an ode to mothers across the country, this TVC tried, and failed, to evoke an emotional response from audiences. Perhaps it is the predictability of it all or the cliched and boring background track, but this TVC missed the mark by a long shot, and although the creatives probably meant well, the ad is more problematic than a simple viewing may suggest. Championing the idea that women (in this case, mothers) hold the sole responsibility for housework, this TVC reinforced dated gender roles. Every family member helping out in the kitchen and doing their share should not be an isolated event or a cause for celebration. And hey, if you are still lost for reasons as to why you should get off your rear and start helping around the house on a regular basis, here is one for starters: It’s your home too.
Pepsi’s #LitreOfLight TVC is adorable, with a loveable little girl attempting to light up the path her father treads to and from work with candles and with bulbs that are not plugged in. What adds to the feel-good vibe is that it is for a genuine social cause, with Pepsi promising to bring light to those villages which don’t get electricity with the help of environment-friendly bottle-lights and solar panels. The fact that the voices of people such as Abida Parveen and Atif Aslam provide the background music really contributes to the overall effect. The idea of giving back to the community, coupled with a good storyline makes for a TVC that leaves the audience with a smile on their faces.
This TVC narrating the story of Seema Nagar, a girl from Rajasthan who went against established norms and train at the Samsung Technical School in Jaipur, keeps audiences engaged throughout. Rebelling against the preconceived notion that women are not meant to pursue careers in STEM fields, Samsung takes a stand for women’s education and empowerment. With a supportive father who refers to Seema from the day of her birth as his son, perhaps the most heartfelt moment occurs at the end, when he proudly says: “I have two sons and a lovely daughter.” The TVC is insightful with the bond between father and daughter taking centre stage and advocating the idea that a woman does not have to aspire to be more like a man to be successful.
A mother’s love is not bound by gender or sexuality. That is the strong message at the core of this TVC by Vicks. Following the story of trans-rights activist Gauri Sawant and her adopted daughter, it beautifully depicts how motherhood transcends all boundaries. The ad leaves the audience in tears and is a paramount example of how advertisements can be used to positively change the dominant discourse. Stories of real people resonate far more deeply with audiences compared to fictitious ones, and this TVC is a shining example of this fact.