Published in Nov-Dec 2017
When it comes to patriotism in Pakistan, two things stand out – music and mothers forcing their kids to wear green and white clothes. Music has always played an important part in reviving the national spirit in people. It has moved the nation in times of war and played a huge part in the celebration of victories. We all have that one favourite song that really ignites a sense of patriotism within us, making us proud to be a Pakistani. In 2017, many brands turned to music to celebrate the jazba junoon for Pakistan. Here are five campaigns that centred around celebrating the love for our country.
Agency: Adcom ZenithOptimedia
Campaign: Strepsils Stereo
Message: A tribute to one of Pakistan’s favourite national songs.
Effectiveness: First of all, whoever came up with this, you guys deserve a raise! This is the stuff brand managers’ dreams are made of. I am a patriot at heart and I felt that the last decade had been really tough on us as a nation. We need all the positivity we can muster to lift ourselves and our image. Unfortunately, the reality is that in the past 10 years, our young may have lost the kind of connect with our country that we had while growing up. Coming back to the campaign, Strepsils Pakistan have done a wonderful job in reviving an old classic; paying tribute to the great Alamgir with this A capella rendition of Khayal Rakhna. The video is vibrant and dare I say, quite un-independence-like. Shedding the sherwani for funky styles and reflector shades, iconic singers and most importantly, the biggest winner for me is a STRONG BRAND CONNECT. A smart way to connect the young with the country again. The amazing digital response and trending on social media shows it is a sure-shot winner.
Verdict: Fun, fresh and festive.
Campaign: Main Bhi Pakistan Hoon
Message: Celebrating the spirit of inclusion.
Effectiveness: As creatives, we love to receive briefs that have no baggage; no salvaging dying sales or launching an SKU... Independence Day is one of those instances when clients are as positive as you are, the goal is equally clear and spirits are high. Khaadi’s Independence Day campaign touched upon a sensitive issue this year: inclusion. A bold subject, ramped up by the powerful vocals of Meesha Shafi. Khaadi wanted to remind us that the white in the flag is as much Pakistani as the rest. With ‘Main Bhi Pakistan Hoon’, Khaadi signifies that as individuals we may be different, but we are bound by the same common thread.
Verdict: Thought-provoking campaign.
BRAND: HabibMetro Bank
Concept & Producer: Javed Jabbar
Executive Producer: Alia Chughtai
Lyrics: Ali Hayat Rizvi
Campaign: Pakistaniyat – Celebrating 70 Years of Pakistan
Message: Pakistan is our one true identity.
Effectiveness: I was pleasantly surprised by this campaign. I did not expect a brand to make such a selfless campaign. As creatives, we always look to build brand connect or relevance. However, this campaign truly celebrates nationalism without forcefully putting the brand in. Beautifully shot and with the strong message of our one identity, this one had me really connect with the thought and spirit of being a Pakistani. I liked how they named all the minorities and said we are all one. I liked how it talks about our soch ki aazadi and insaniyat. I liked how they have put a positive spin on the word Pakistaniyat... before this, I had only heard this term in a negative context, when someone littered or drove on the wrong side of the road.
Verdict: Strong message, great execution.
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Pakistan
Campaign: Coke Studio
Message: Celebrating Independence Day of Pakistan.
Effectiveness: Let me start by saying that I am a huge Coke Studio fan. I have been following it since season one and I can’t get enough of it. I even hooked my three-year-old son to the songs. In the past few years, Coke Studio has been celebrating Independence Day with a national song, sung by the featured artists of the season. The last two songs were phenomenal. However, this year, they opted for the national anthem. My first thought was, why? Why would you want to feature a piece you can’t experiment with? You can’t change the arrangement. You can’t change the melody. You can’t play around with the words. I thought that if anyone could rise to the challenge, it would be Coke Studio. Did it work? In my opinion, NO! The song lacked passion and the visuals were morbid. I wanted to see pride and love for our country on the faces of the singers. Instead, they looked expressionless, blank and lost. The same feeling was reflected in the song. It was the wrong choice. Coke Studio has produced such powerful and memorable songs in the past. This time, it just didn’t work.
Verdict: The expectations were high but it didn’t deliver.
Agency: The Blue Dot
Message: Celebrating all that is great about Pakistan.
Effectiveness: This campaign ran for about four months and concluded with an Independence Day song paying tribute to the different icons of Pakistan. Now please don’t hate me for what I’m going to say. I admit I have been guilty of doing the same thing in the past, but now, whenever I hear a heavy voice-over with clichéd zoom-in, zoom-out shots, I snooze! We have seen and heard it too much. There is nothing new; nothing that we don’t know already or that makes us think. I feel that the marketing team needs to become a little braver, step out of their comfort zone and look for something fresh and new. The music as well just didn’t appeal to me at all.
Verdict: It was... Hey look! There’s a bird outside my window...
Saher Shakil Hashmi is Creative Director, MullenLowe Rauf.