In an industry driven by brand functionality and the belief that the consumer is dumb, it’s difficult for advertisers to keep their heads up while continuing their pursuit of insightful and memorable work and balance it with brand directives. Here are five campaigns that were able to overcome that age-old challenge (or not).
Kashmir Cooking Oil
Agency: Red Communication Arts
Campaign: Khaana Toh Bahana Hai
Message: Khaana is the favourite bahana that forms all bonds.
Effectiveness: The perfect example of a great execution for a terrible concept. If the lack of insight was not clear from the start, the ending made it so by showcasing sexist stereotypes of a woman being the rightful proprietor of a kitchen. This ad gives a unique spin to ‘heritage’, sending us straight back to the dark ages.
Verdict: Uses all the ingredients of the ‘formula’ of local advertising, but very surface-level, executionally-driven work, heavily reliant on star power.
Agency: IAL Saatchi & Saatchi
Campaign: National Classic Mayo
Message: Mix it, dip it, love it.
Effectiveness: The entire premise of a wife discovering her husband’s lack of love due to an inferior mayo that tongue-ties people is absurd. What is even odder is that the apparently inferior mayo in question is nowhere to be seen. ‘Strong branding’ principles must have led the geniuses to keep it out of sight, making the sauceless sandwich at the start look like an unappetising kebab on dry bread.
Verdict: Looks like the kind of work that the creatives had nothing to do with.
Campaign: Bold Body Spray
Message: Sirf Chalta Naheen, Daurta Hai.
Effectiveness: If there was ever a way to waste millions of rupees to create a communication that advertises a competing brand rather than yours, this is it. As if the execution is not poor enough on its own, the tagline draws all attention at the end to the well-known Indian maker of the same product. Had this campaign been for friendly cross-border relations, the communication would win gold.
Verdict: Zero points for uniqueness, along with strategy and a creative that actually harms the product.
Agency: Manhattan Communications
Campaign: CandyLand Toss
Message: When two delicious flavours collide.
Effectiveness: This is how to turn a functional and restrictive brief into a masterful moment of escape.
Take note advertisers: There are no dull products or briefs; there are only dull writers. The principle of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ has been perfectly applied here and the vivid visualisation and the tonality of the play on words capitalise on it perfectly while never compromising the brief’s objectives for even a moment.
Verdict: Nothing award-winning but scores 100% on what matters most: effectiveness.
Surf Excel Tez
Agency: MullenLowe Lintas Group/MullenLowe Rauf Group
Message: Tough stain removal, faster.
Effectiveness: Surf Excel seems to be running out of ideas pretty fast; even faster than they remove stains, apparently. This one tries to push the ‘aww cute’ factor for children who look a little too old to still be mispronouncing words. The one saving grace is the simplicity of the story that at least gets the key message across, but will undoubtedly be forgotten amidst the skeletons of so many similar storylines.
Verdict: Clear on messaging but zero points on insight or novelty.
Asad Hasan is Creative Director, Ogilvy Pakistan. firstname.lastname@example.org