Published in Nov-Dec 2019
Every year, marketers and advertisers set out to win hearts, sell their products and remain as relevant as possible. The year 2019 saw many familiar faces continuing their brilliant work, and others absolutely tank their campaigns. So, let’s have a look at some of the ads that made an impression... Good and bad.
In the past, our colonisers used the divide-and-rule strategy to rule the Subcontinent and it worked out well for them. Years later, they left, but not the hate they left behind. Over time the us-versus-them mentality strengthened and spread in every direction... Religious differences, provincial differences, cultural differences, sectarian differences... The list just goes on and on and on. Coke’s Hum Aik Hain ad was a salute to unity and inclusion. It used a modern-day rendition of the iconic song Hum Aik Hain and paired it with beautiful cinematography showcasing the diversity of Pakistan and its people. Some of the shots could have been cooler, but nevertheless, it was a beautiful and inspiring film. It softened the hearts of many, and with it, planted the seeds of tolerance. If Coke and other brands too continue this conversation, maybe, just maybe, we will see a day when we accept the differences among us and finally start identifying ourselves as Pakistanis before anything else.
The verdict: A celebration with a message.
The first time I watched the Jazz 25-year anniversary ad, it was on mute. The stunning and enchanting visuals completely mesmerised me. So, I restarted the ad and heard it on full volume... And I wish I hadn’t. The film and the narration had absolutely nothing to do with each other. The ad was in a fantasy and edgy space, whilst the narration was in an inspirational one... Case in point: Sanam Saeed walking on water and interacting with fireflies while her narration is talking about changing the world. Absolute mismatch. If they had edgier copy to match the feel of the film or a more inspirational film that matched the copy, it could have been a great ad.
The verdict: Maybe next time.
Diamond Supreme Foam
The latest campaign by Diamond Supreme Foam was sheer and absolute genius. They attacked their competitor, Molty Foam, head-on without even using their name, and they did it everywhere... In their TVC, in their digital posts and billboards across Pakistan. Their TVC was a witty and fun film; the wife gets mad at her husband for ordering a Diamond Supreme Foam mattress online instead of sticking to the ‘Papa Jaani’ recommended one – and their billboard and digital content echoed the same message, adapted brilliantly to their respective mediums. Granted, Diamond Supreme Foam was sued by Molty Foam and had to stop running their content – but they had already won. Their campaign was the talk of the town... And is still liberally shared by Pakistanis across the world.
The verdict: Loved it.
Surf Excel has evolved the Ramzan advertising game with their intelligent campaigns. In a month where our TV screens are bursting with clichés, Surf Excel has consistently been a breath of fresh air with advertising that captures the essence of Ramzan beautifully. They cracked a brilliant direction a few years ago by exploring the lesser talked about facets of devotion, such as kindness, good deeds and selflessness. Since then, they have delivered on their Ramzan communication, year after year. Their 2019 ad focused on eesar (altruism, brotherly kindness) and we all became red-eyed and sniffly when Salim finally gave his ‘salamati ki dua’ to his friend Adil. It was an endearing film, setting a new benchmark in Ramzan advertising.
The verdict: Inspiring goodness in viewers every single Ramzan.
Dadi Cool was just plain weird. I failed to see the point of the ad or the point it was trying to make. It had a granny who goes from grumpy and hot tempered to Dadi cool when she opens her Waves freezer; and from there on out, Dadi is just dancing around to a remixed Daddy Cool, trying to be yo, but her yo-ness falls flat. Maybe it was her expressions, her clothes or her vibe, but Dadi cool was neither here nor there. Perhaps had they brought granny to life differently, it could have been a silly and cute ad. Having said this, the ad does cut through the noise with a razor-sharp knife. Like it or hate it, you notice it and find yourself tempted to discuss it. You remember it. If top of mind was Waves’ aim, then good job. Mission accomplished.
The verdict: Dadi ain’t that cool.
And this rounds up some of my hits and misses for the year. However, for me, 2019 was a bit of a bore in advertising. It lacked the wow-ness I felt the last few years had. So here is to a more creative 2020. May we witness some of the best ads yet.
Vanessa Nabia Muzaffar is Associate Creative Director, Ogilvy Pakistan. email@example.com