To produce or not to produce, that is the question! (one that brand managers, creative directors and marketing directors ponder over, whenever a new campaign idea is proposed). In the best cases, advertisers have the dilemma of working out whether a big idea is worth executing or not. Then, in certain cases, some concepts leave us feeling as though the brand managers were too busy counting their blessings to notice what went wrong! George Parker correctly said that the only people who care about advertising are the people who work in advertising.
While audiences may not notice the nitty-gritties, we advertising folk never miss the opportunity to critically analyse creative (or not so creative) work. On that note, it is now time to brace yourselves as I take on the subjective task of reviewing some of the campaigns that have recently graced our screens and give my two cents on whether or not they had what it takes to build what we call ‘brand experiences’.
Brand: Bisconni – Chai Wala Biskut
Agency: Manhattan Communications
Campaign: Duba Magar Pyaar Sey
Message: Biskut – not biscuit – adds value to your chai.
Effectiveness: When I watched this ad the first time, the only thing that came to mind was “not another catchy dance number disguised as an ad!” But then I took a closer look and found that it was much worse. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a catchy campaign, but I feel there was so much more that could have been done to bring the idea to life than just another Tarang-style sing-and-dance routine with a clichéd guy-falls-in-love storyline. The theme Duba Magar Pyaar Sey complements the truck-art identity but it did not offer a relatable context. One thing I could not get my head around was where on Earth was this taking place – is it a concert, or perhaps a wedding? Or maybe it’s both at a chai dhaaba. There is also a five-second sequence in the middle where Kubra Khan poses in a million different ways while showing the product – it made no sense to me. The jingle, however, compensated for everything else.
Verdict: Tons of creative liberty – magar pyaar sey!
Brand: Morinaga – BF Chil-School
Agency: IAL Saatchi & Saatchi
Campaign: Nutrition On, Toh Worries Gone!
Message: Chill out, Moms!
Effectiveness: If you are a mum (or someone who has seen how mums operate in their native habitat), this insightful campaign will instantly click. The campaign highlights how kids often refuse to eat and follows three worried mums who did not stop trying to make them eat. The sequence begins in the morning, when mums prepare their kids for school, forcing them to have breakfast and then goes on to show situations where children refuse to have lunch and dinner too – all perfect times to give a child Morinaga. The message about chilling out makes complete sense here. The only part of the TVC that turned me off was when it abruptly shifted to Japan, where a Japanese doctor answered the mums’ question of ‘kidher jaun?’ and invited them to Tokyo when kids don’t eat.
Verdict: Great campaign, but the Japanese doctor needs to chill!
Agency: Bulls Eye DDB
Campaign: Jaagein Un Ke Liye Jo Waqai Ahem Hain
Message: Don’t miss out on little moments of joy.
Effectiveness: The message makes you rethink the amount of time and importance we dedicate to our job (especially us advertising folk), at the cost of little joyous moments in life that are important. This campaign does not exactly tug at the heartstrings, but follows the storyline of a young father who gives up his playtime with his daughter in order to attend to urgent office work (so relatable!). However, the storyline seemed very predictable, which I don’t think will help in retaining audience attention. What I failed to understand is how chai became the trigger-point for this realisation (normally it would help the father focus even more on his work). The message is very strong, but I feel the product’s role could have been strengthened in a different way. Chai sure ‘wakes me up’, but it has never exactly enlightened me.
Verdict: Audiences are wide-awake with this warm, pleasant campaign.
Campaign: Weekly Super Plus Offer
Message: Everything for seven days!
Effectiveness: With the amount of telecom offers launched throughout the year, this highly competitive category is known for giving agencies a tough time in terms of the volume of creative work required. Given this, coming out with a concept that is not just catchy but also clicks with the intended audience perfectly is a feat! As soon as I listened to the jingle, it instantly reminded me of Daft Punk’s single Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – while the execution featured a well-choreographed dance routine, incorporating contemporary and trending dance moves (some of them from the Fortnite online video game). The jingle was inspired by a song that connected well with young audiences and built something entirely new and refreshing.
Verdict: This. Made. Me. Stop. And. Notice.
Brand: Shan Foods
Agency: Ogilvy Pakistan
Campaign: More Than Just A Cook
Message: Cooking is not only a woman’s job.
Effectiveness: What initially felt like another brand simply jumping the #unstereotype bandwagon, turned into the realisation that this was an effective and fitting message. I frankly don’t even remember the last time I walked into the kitchen to cook a meal if my mum or sister were around; it is just something we take for granted – the food we get at home every day. This campaign showed men in our society a mirror and stood up for women who are expected to cook, even after a long day at work. There were, however, a few things I felt were wrong with the story. What if it had not been the daughter’s birthday? Would the father still have walked into the kitchen? This made it feel as though men cooking at home is just a one-time thing, since it was a special occasion. Why shouldn’t men do it more often?
Verdict: Definitely walking into the kitchen to cook up a meal myself!
Muhammad Ali Khan is Associate Director Creative & Strategy, Spectrum VMLY&R. He also teaches in the Masters of Advertising programme at SZABIST-Karachi. firstname.lastname@example.org