Published in Jul-Aug 2017
Asking a creative to review another creative’s work is nothing short of a declaration of a war on perspectives. Not because the makers of the campaigns below will have this creative burnt at the steak (pun intended!). It is also not because we think our work is the best, or because the idea is our baby, we become emotionally overbearing mothers who cannot deal with criticism. It is simply because we are perpetually in awe of the power of a seed (read: idea) that grows into a campaign worth millions. And when after all is said and cut at the pre-production meeting’s (PPM) chopping table, we still cling to that tiny hope that the idea will turn out just like we first visualised it in the privacy of our own hyper-imaginative minds.
Speaking of how we first visualise ideas, we also hear a voice narrating the idea to us. We hear a story. But it’s not just a story we hear. If the idea calls for it, we also hear the music; the entire orchestra even. So, what eventually comes out on paper is either a story or a song. And although this may disappoint some, the song and dance era has not left the building. Having said this, one thing we can be certain about is that storytelling has definitely rented the penthouse.
So, keeping all that goes into the making of a campaign; sleepless nights, creative blocks, planner’s unproductive take on the concept, budget cuts, unforeseen feedback, director’s POV, and other “sticky” details (did you get that? The scandalous quotation marks? No? Okay, moving on) I promise to be as unbiased and honest as I can be…
BRAND: Total Quartz
Campaign: Car Kahani
Message: Still trying to figure it out.
Effectiveness: I must admit the title ‘Car Kahani’ immediately reminded me of Bank Alfalah’s Carnama and knowing it was Total, made me think of Shell Rimula. So, it didn’t catch my attention at first. Then I saw my brother watching the ad and as Atif Aslam’s narration ended, he recalled his first car (which is still parked outside the street where we live). I saw a ‘response’ from a ‘consumer’; and that made me watch the ad – and am I glad I did. It was (scenery wise) a beautiful film to watch. Okay, Gulabo was a cliché and maybe that was the name of Atif Aslam’s first car. However, some of the situations could have been more personal but that’s not the point here, right? It is the fact that Total focused on the concept of one’s first car that seemed like a good idea. However, it would have really hit home had there been a meaningful message in there somewhere. Why would I want to share memories of my first car with Total? Why? Give me something that tugs at my heartstrings. Don’t just leave a golden egg without waiting for it to hatch. Yes, I know what Total does for a car’s engine, but what does Car Kahani do for me?
Verdict: Total, please communicate a message that can remain in our hearts longer, please?
BRAND: Peek Freans Chocolicious
Campaign: Ziyada Choco Ziyada Licious
Message: Ziyada choco ziyada licious.
Effectiveness: I will say only this. The relaunch campaign for Peek Freans Chocolicious nailed the Millennial image. It’s hip, it’s peppy and the jingle is quite audiolicious. It effectively does what a choco chip cookie is supposed to do – satisfy temporarily. See, the problem with such open-ended communication space is that it needs to resonate with the target audience. If both the agency and the client are able to crack this tough cookie, then this could be the beginning of an honest brand exclusively aimed at young adults, with innovative consumer and media initiatives springing up, one chocolate chip at a time.
Verdict: Peek Freans has just scratched the surface. Stay on track to be insight-o-licious (What? They are the ones who said ziyada-licious!)
Campaign: Weekly Voice Offer
Message: Dosti aisa naata (of Telenor and their customers).
Effectiveness: Loved it! Loved it! Loved it! I am not talking about the offer, but about the analogy drawn from it. It is simple, unique and delightful. I mean what is more adorable than a nana and a dada battling it out to determine which one of them gets the pleasure of naming their newborn grandchild? Well, some might argue not – but come on, this campaign is hands down the most heart-warming I have come across in a long time in this category. It has everything; great story, great analogy and great direction. My only regret is that despite having all the right ingredients, the script lacked memorable dialogue, which, had it been there could have eternalised it, like the SBI Life Insurance (India) copy did. That said, if they continue making campaigns like this, I have no doubt that the brand and the agency will come close to being ‘Heeray ko kia pata tumhari umar kia hai’ level of profound perfection.
Verdict: Telenor has set a precedent for original storytelling; let’s hope there is no rukawat in their tale of successful communication.
BRAND: Bank Alfalah
Campaign: Phir Badli Life
Message: Using the Ultra Cashback card turns your life into a set of Chicago or Nine or...
Effectiveness: Am I going to get it for this one or what! Known to be the resident song and dance expert for a prominent advertising agency for the past decade, I definitely want to say that “song and dance routines are not always right.” There, I said it. Song-and-dance is not always right when your audience cannot understand most of the words that are sung and danced to. And no one has the luxury of YouTube to do reruns. Despite song-and-dance routines being my creative signature, I found this one difficult to comprehend. I get that developing a flamboyant campaign for something as dry as banking is nothing short of a feat, but not getting the message across with clarity is nothing more than entertainment.
Verdict: Bank Alfalah was doing so well with dramatic storytelling like the noteworthy Karobar and Carnama campaigns.
Message: Motherhood is a super power that has the ability to fight all odds.
Effectiveness: I was dreading this year’s Mother’s Day. After seeing the pseudo-emotional communication of 2016, the only brand that stood out for me was Gul Ahmed Idea’s initiative. That was rock solid. This year, I didn’t think I would get to see something heart-warming. Thanks to McDonald’s, I was wrong. Yes, there is this race between Wall’s Mother’s Day story and McDonald’s and ‘who did it better?’ Frankly, I have seen Wall’s insight work as well for other brands, but the way McDonald’s insight was expressed was brilliant. It had that ‘aha!’ moment which I always crave for in a good story. It was not pretentious nor was it superficially-scripted. Kudos to McDonald’s and their team for this fresh take on a very stale marketing opportunity.
Verdict: Please McDeliver similarly soulful communication in future!
Mahrukh Shaikh is co-Founder and Idea Whisperer at Wundernerf. email@example.com