Published in Jan-Feb 2020
Shrinking budgets. Dwindling timelines. Non-existent briefs. This, my friends, has been advertising in 2019. Yet, despite the lack of clarity and input, agencies still relentlessly burn the midnight oil (and most of their souls) churning out whatever they can with whatever little they get. Sometimes, you get flashes of pure genius. Other times, well… you get what you deserve: Pakistani advertising.
So dust off your shovels and yank up your boots, it’s time to dredge through the mountains of blackened coal in search for those few shimmering diamonds created out of extreme pressure, stress and sh***y briefs.
Agency: Manghi Communication Solutions
Campaign: Don’t Cook, Foodpanda Karo!
Message: Your cooking sucks. Just order online like everyone else.
Effectiveness: I can tell that this was a budgeted execution, but with that said, the insight is spot on. A lot of us think we can cook but the reality is (like everything else in life now) there is an online solution that is a million times better, easier and cheaper. Foodpanda is gaining massive popularity among the new generation, since most of us a) can’t fry an egg to save our lives and b) believe that smartphones are the solution to all of our lives’ woes.
Foodpanda knows it and they are here to ensure that we stay out of the kitchen and on our devices where we belong. No need to speak to another human being. No need to get up from the couch. Just me, my phone and some delicious grub delivered straight to my door. Now that is good cooking.
Verdict: The kitchen is closed. Foodpanda wins.
Brand: KIA Sportage
Agency: MullenLowe Rauf
Campaign: Different is Good
Message: For the sissy hiding inside the man you should be.
Effectiveness: I don’t mean to be picky… but there were literally a thousand and one ways that the brand could have played up the big idea of ‘different being good’ in a 360° campaign. Instead, they centred the entire thought around a microscopic relationship between a father and his daughter – a relationship, mind you, that is far more common in every way than it is different. They took a seemingly adventurous-sounding brand like Sportage and softened it up for guys who do the things moms should be doing.
Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for role-sharing and being a good parent. I just don’t get what that has to do with a brand like Sportage. And even though I too wear nail polish and host tea parties to appease my three year old from time to time, it doesn’t mean that I would want to drive a car associated with a bunch of guys who do the same. I’m still a guy and like most guys, we want power and performance in a car, especially if that car is named Sportage.
Verdict: Different isn’t always good.
Campaign: Seedhi Saadi Khushion Ka Maza
Message: It’s the little joys that mean the most.
Effectiveness: As much as I like the idea of taking the time to appreciate the little joys in life, I was quite surprised to see the U-turn taken by Sooper in their
latest communication. Not just because it was so starkly different from what they have done in the past, but mainly because it just felt so... well, morose. A lonesome woman gazing aimlessly into the stars from an empty rooftop... A tired young man seeking comfort from the world in his mother’s lap... all tied together with a deep prophetic VO and gloomy soundtrack. It just felt so depressingly un-Sooper.
The thought also didn’t translate well across static media since most of the visuals just looked like people randomly staring off into space or sharing a generic moment together. Although the idea does have merit, I don’t foresee the brand sticking to this sombre-style execution for long.
Verdict: Seedhi Saadi Khushian never looked sadder.
Agency: Spectrum VMLY&R
Campaign: Brite Sab Right Kardega!
Message: Brite will fix everything… except the embarrassment you’ll face from walking around with a stain all day.
Effectiveness: OK, so let me get this straight. Here is a guy who has scalding hot tea splashed all over his shirt, takes a walk of shame across some foreign town, only to come home to his wife (holding an extremely artificially post-placed pack of Brite), who eventually cleans the said stain. The end. No insight. No relevance. Not even a decent reason to believe. If it was one of those instant stain removal laundry pens, then sure, that would have made some sense because it would have righted the wrong in the situation.
But it didn’t because Brite is clearly just a regular detergent and did what any other regular detergent would have done... cleaned a stain. It’s a wonder that people still buy this s**t – the brand and the ads. But I can safely say that it beats the last Brite ad in which the waitress became the customer’s wife. Nothing could ever wash that shame away.
Verdict: Some wrongs can never be righted.
Brand: Dastak Cooking Oil
Agency: Manhattan Communications
Campaign: Split the Plate
Message: Never waste food.
Effectiveness: In the world of Ronald Koetziers and ultra high-speed Bolt camera food shots, it is refreshing to see a cooking oil like Dastak taking on a bigger and more meaningful platform. Food wastage is an alarmingly common problem in our society and even though we are all well aware that millions of people are on the verge of starvation, it seldom stops us from sweeping food off our plates and into the dustbin.
And even though the execution was a bit overdone, I salute Dastak’s initiative for bringing much-needed attention to this growing epidemic and putting the purpose ahead of the brand. The communication was relevant to the category and above all, relatable to consumers. I hope that Dastak continues with this platform and engages in some on-ground initiatives to prevent food from being wasted in the future.
Verdict: Fed my mind, heart and soul.
Taimur Tajik is Head of Creative, Manhattan International.