Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

A new path to… where?

Updated Nov 13, 2018 01:02pm
Bank Alfalah’s new campaign will leave you wondering what it is about.

Jumping on the bandwagon of Naya Pakistan, Bank Alfalah launched their new campaign which encourages people to choose the path less travelled and seek change by being different and persistent. In principle, the message is great and so are the hashtags, #Nayesoch and #Nayarasta. The execution, however, left me confused and judging by the comments on social media, I am not the only one who felt this way.

The theme of moving forward and being different is demonstrated through four different storylines; a cyclist on a journey, a bun kebab specialist experimenting with western cuisine, a band persisting in making music and a father-daughter duo challenging social norms. Each story gives a visual interpretation to the famous Junaid Jamshed song, Hum kyun chalein, uss rah per, jis rah per sab hi chalein, which is the background score for this ad.

It seems that the storylines are inspired by real characters and/or places – the clues are found in the chef story (reminiscent of the bun kebab stand called Street kitchen in Sindhi Muslim Society in Karachi) and the band which is performing the actual background score of the ad (and an acknowledgement that making music is a collaborative journey with its own challenges). However, this link to real life is not as clear for the remaining two stories.

Now, this being an ad for a big brand, there had to be the crucial ‘product shots’, hence cue in the somewhat lost and misplaced shots of a Bank Alfalah employee walking in, then the interior shots of a customer service centre and the open/closed sign being flipped. The app featuring a service called Alfa (which I had to Google) also makes an appearance towards the end, making me wonder if the whole commercial was leading up to this moment.


The storylines are simplistic and don’t create emotional moments. The ad feels generic and if you remove the token Bank Alfalah shots, it could have been about anything under the bright blue sky. There was nothing connecting the narrative to the bank, except a forced hashtag.


As beautiful as the ad looks, it is chaotic and fuzzy on messaging, which raises the question – what was it about in the first place? What is this #Nayarasta that the bank is promoting? Is it the Alfa app or a new way of doing things? Is #Nayesoch a social message for the greater good? And are these themes linked to the services offered by the bank? The copy that appears with the ad on social media doesn’t do anything to clarify the objective of the campaign either. It remains as elusive and abstract as the ad itself.

‘As Bank Alfalah reveals its new path towards change, a road less travelled by, it hails out to its employees and customers to embark on this journey as well. The Way Forward means being different, calling out for change when needed and being persistent. And so, we move Forward.’

The execution is a very literal decoding of the themes #Nayarasta and #Nayesoch and the storylines become mere examples to illustrate the same point in four different ways. It’s as if the creative team imagined all these possible scenarios in which people could demonstrate #Nayesoch and #Nayarasta, and in trying to keep everyone happy, compiled all the ideas together into one ad. The #Nayarasta is visualised through an actual route that the cyclists take, and the #Nayesoch is depicted by the daughter-father duo.

The storylines are simplistic and don’t create emotional moments. The ad feels generic and if you remove the token Bank Alfalah shots, it could have been about anything under the bright blue sky. There was nothing connecting the narrative to the bank, except a forced hashtag.

The current execution would have worked better as a series, where each storyline was developed as a separate spot, thereby making more of the journey to a new path and getting to the emotions underpinning this journey and ultimately creating the link between the bank and the journey. For now, I am no better informed about the bank, their ethos and their services than I was before I watched the ad.

Sheherzad Kaleem is a documentary filmmaker based in Dubai. sheherzadk@gmail.com.