We, who create work at advertising agencies have the toughest jobs. Okay, maybe not as tough as bricklayers working in 40 degrees centigrade or soldiers on the border or neurosurgeons, but still, it’s tough! Heartbreaking, frustrating, soul-wrenching. They say if you have worked at an ad agency, you are equipped to deal with any kind of rejection in life, given that your brainchild is aborted minutes after conception or months into gestation. It is traumatic. Plus, with free access to everything great, wonderful and sexy happening around the non-Shariah compliant world (salt on the wounds), it also leads to one of the cardinal sins – envy! But miracles happen. And in this war of idealistic creatives and risk-averse clients, sometimes there are bonds that are made due to sharing common suffering and individuals who were inherently different, suddenly see eye-to-eye. That’s when magic (almost) and good stuff happens. Here are a few campaigns that I thought deserve mention. Or not – because everything is subjective isn’t it?! And I’m no expert – because the other deadly sin is pride!
Brand: KFC Pakistan
Agency: Orientm McCann Pakistan
Campaign: KFC Value Box
Message: KFC Value Box has great value!
Effectiveness: The brief for this must have been: “We just want to glorify the KFC Value Box.” The simpler the brief; the simpler the copy. And that, I believe is the secret of this ad. They simply picked the word ‘value’ and blew it out of proportion in a series of over-the-top ads that got the message across and made people laugh. Watch the entire series and you get the same single-minded message in a different way: there is no ‘value’ in anything except the KFC Value Box. I have always wanted to make ads that border on the ridiculous end of exaggerated but most of those invariably serve as ice breakers in high-stress presentations while the client waits for the ‘real stuff’. If nothing else, this deserves an encouraging applause for getting the go ahead! And thank you brand manager for not taking yourself too seriously!
Verdict: Unbox the fun!
Brand: Nestlé Nesvita
Agency: MullenLowe Rauf
Campaign: Nestlé Nesvita Move+
Message: Mein Strong Tou Life Strong.
Effectiveness: Neat. Clean. Cute. Simple. Short. Snappy. And they used the affable Iqra Aziz, who every woman between the ages of 18 and 30 adores – the right target if you want them to start calcium replacement early in life. I love the girlie sets, the relatable settings in this series of four spots and the casual, spontaneous, unaffected language of the script. And great timing guys. This campaign has the perfect launch time: A scorching summer, when doctors say you are sweating calcium out of your bones.
Verdict: No bones to pick with this one!
Brand: The Citizens Foundation (TCF)
Agency: Concept by Kiran Murad, produced by Y Productions
Campaign: TCF Zakat Campaign 2019
Message: Meray bhi hain kuch khwab.
Effectiveness: Now this is the kind of stuff that gives our soulless industry a living breathing soul. A meaning and a purpose. I am sure this was a pro bono project where people of our industry put their skills together to create a piece of compelling communication without compromising production values. TCF has historically used relatable insights to create moving zakat campaigns and this is one of them. How many times have we asked young kids "Baray ho ke kia bano gay?" A simple idea linked to a complex cause. I hope and pray this touches the right hearts and pockets.
Verdict: Labour of love.
Brand: Shan Shoop
Campaign: Shaan Shoop for all ages
Message: You’re always a child inside.
Effectiveness: A literal depiction of your brand promise is a foolproof formula to get the message across. However, it runs the risk of being too obvious and basic. Unless done well. Shan Shoop brings out the child inside you. And that is exactly what they showed – and in a very lovable way. A calm, soothing, sing-along execution which managed to make the noodles look fun and delicious too. In an industry which thrives on jingles (mostly those that make you wish you had no ears), this delightfully hummable one is the reason why clients continue to insist ‘we want a jingle’ and ad agencies continue to keep at least one jingle option in their deck. If only the talent looked a little less Turkish or Polish or wherever the ad was shot. That’s my only reservation.
Verdict: Singing praises for Shan Shoop.
Brand: Bold Body Spray
Agency: MCS (Manghi Communications Solutions)
Campaign: Bold Body Spray
Message: Be bold. Change the game.
Effectiveness: Our very own Axe for Pakistan. But better. Because it makes women AND men swoon with lust and desire. No, I don’t have the pleasure of knowing anyone who uses Bold body spray but this is what the ad says. Or shows. Boys, do you really want a security guard with a big, curled moustache lusting after you? Oops I apologise, some of you might want that and more! I should be politically correct. But you can want it with some class right? This is a cheesy, over-acted drama that seems to merge the Axe effect with a 007 Bond hero! “You are very bold!” says the boss lady in the end. “You are very embarrassing!” says the mortified me!
Verdict: Something smells rotten!
Mehr Hamid is Creative Director, JWT | GREY.