Ads that kept us engaged during Ramzan and Eid, according to Shahrezad Samiuddin.
With a muted Ramzan and a subdued Eid because of Covid-19, the PIA crash and impending economic crisis, it has been a difficult and introspective time. Not surprisingly, many brands did not release campaigns, opting instead to wait and watch. So this year there was an extremely short list of brands that adapted to the new normal and tested the waters. Here is what worked and what didn’t.
1. Surf Excel’s Eid Campaign
Surf Excel’s traditional focus on neki (good deeds) during Ramzan just became all the more relevant during the Covid-19 lockdown. In case anyone was wondering how to do their bit during these difficult, restrictive times, Surf Excel’s little angels showed us exactly how. And they did it while maintaining social distancing. Have to say this was one of the few Ramzan/Eid 2020 campaigns where actors truly demonstrated social distancing on screen. With their message of hope, the Surf Excel bachas returned this year to a new world, with the same message, resonating even more powerfully this time around. God knows we needed it.
2. Ariel’s ‘Eid Mubarak To Our Unsung Heroes’
When was the last time you thought about local traffic policemen without a smirk on our face? While everyone talked about medical workers fighting the virus on the frontlines (and rightly so!), thank you Ariel for drawing attention to the immense pressure traffic policemen are facing both personally and professionally during this time. If during lockdown you were stopped by the traffic police and politely reminded to go home after running your errands, you know that Ariel’s salute to these unsung heroes is a worthy one.
3. Stay Strong Pakistan In Covid19 - Tapal
Technically this is not a Ramzan campaign, and is only included here because it was released during the holy month. As the world fights an unseen enemy and countries around the world grapple with unprecedented difficulties, Tapal’s message of strength and hope is reassuring. Against a montage of images of frontline workers and locked down cities, Tapal’s latest marries hope and patriotism with a reminder to Pakistanis that they have dealt with hardship before and can do it again.
4. Eidi Bann Gayi Eidipaisa - Telenor EasyPaisa Eid Mubarak
The Eidipaisa pun really works in this ad. And kudos to the creative team for drawing attention to the heart-breaking reality of social distancing between grandparents and grandchildren. However, with the new normal conditions we are all operating in, I have to say this ad made me cringe because of how close the ‘family’ of actors was sitting. As more and more news of TV personalities getting the virus (likely while shooting) trickles in, one can’t help but ask, are all the actors who worked in this ad okay? And can brands please be a little mindful of on and off screen social distancing for actors during this time? Please see Surf Excel’s Ramzan 2020 campaign for reference.
5. Neki Ki Mithas Jam-e-Shirin Kay Sath
Jam-e-Shirin’s message was positive, but it has ended up at the bottom of the list because it seems like the creative team stayed with its first thought and firmly within the box. A little more creativity could have been made this one more memorable. Though, I have to say, there was a spot of great acting by the house help’s daughter. But the whole, ‘Help out your domestic workers, especially during new normal conditions”… yeah we know.
Shahrezad Samiuddin is a pop culture junkie and a scriptwriter. email@example.com.