Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Jul-Aug 2020

Campaign Watch July-August 2020

Ahmed Mustafa, Creative Director, BBDO Pakistan, reviews recent Pakistani campaigns.

We creative writers, marketers and visual artists have a superpower (and a responsibility). The power of words, ideas and opinions. Words that can make a difference, ideas that can change perspectives, opinions that can make us think. Sure, we get the ‘make the logo bigger’ and ‘put the product and brand colours in every frame’ mantra.

However, there is always a way around this – and this depends on how the creative agencies manage their clients. In Pakistan, there are only a few creative agencies that are fighting the good fight and produce work that makes a difference; work that breaks stereotypes and is driven by great insights. Let’s appreciate some of this work ranging from: “Hit the right notes” to “Speak louder, please” to “Ear drums bleeding”.


Brand: Calcium Awareness

Agency: Adcom Leo Burnett

Campaign: #1000WaysICan

Message: Now every woman can say that there are a 1,000 ways she can live her life.

Effectiveness: Great media spend. I noticed this ad every time I came near a TV set. I wake up with the jingle in my head and I go to sleep singing “Abhi Tu Main Jawaan Hoon”. And that’s it – the only good thing about this TVC. The media buying agency really nailed the torture routine by airing this ad repeatedly on every single channel. I get the message that “to make sure you live your life to the fullest you need calcium” but could they have done this in a less annoying way? I guess they are really nailing their own advertising strategy: ‘Increase top of mind by torturing people’ It’s sure a no from me. I wish they had taken a more creative route.

Verdict: Ear drums bleeding!!!


Brand: Gul Ahmed

Agency: The D’Hamidi Partnership

Campaign: Pakistan Ki Pehchaan

Message: Gul Ahmed lawn is the symbol of Pakistan.

Effectiveness: Great art direction and casting. I see you opted for the dark-skinned girl, the one with freckles and the imperfect nose. Yes, the perfect formula for imperfect is perfect and that is great, but what are you saying? What is the key message you are communicating? I do get a subtle ‘Gul Ahmed clothes are for everyone’ as the underlining message but why is it stuck in the middle? Why not go all out? I see the inspiration taken from a couple of brands which really nail the ‘everyone is beautiful’ and ‘our clothes will bring out your beauty whatever size, colour, shape, age you are’ idea. Overall a good effort but I wish they had pushed themselves on the ‘Gul Ahmed is really for everyone’ message because I don’t feel the casting represents Pakistan in the way it could have.

Verdict: Speak louder please!


Brand: Reem Rice

Production: Shoaib Mansoor

Campaign: Dua-e-Reem

Message: Umm – not sure. Promise if you know, you will let me know as well.

Effectiveness: A classic case of no ideas and crazy budgets. You want the leading star of the industry? Done. The best costume designer? Done. Extravagant sets? Done. Expensive director? Oh, there he is... done and done! There are many flaws in this TVC. Let’s begin with a beautiful dua written by Allama Iqbal that is turned into a jingle with a one-sided message. I am sure the agency did the research before coming up with this idea, tampering with a Pakistani classic (they got the permissions) but they ruined the school day memories of the children who recited this dua.

For a minute I did think they were on to something, but it was just a minute. I can’t help thinking about the good/awareness/difference they could have had they not gone for OTT production, casting, and the Devdas looking set. Think about it. Remove Mahira Khan (not that it works with her) and the extravagant sets; would this TVC still have worked?

Verdict: Ear drums bleeding!!!


Brand: Generation

Agency: In-house

Campaign: Gulabi Chunariya

Message: The story of a three-yard-long fabric – dupatta.

Effectiveness: Yes, all brands have to launch their spring lawn collections and while we have all seen OTT and under-the-table lawn campaigns, featuring celebrities and girls partying wearing lawn, here comes this diamond in the rough. A small production in a studio with artists collaborating and feeding off each other’s energy and in so doing, coming up with a masterpiece. I am sure the agency was given a brief similar to those given by most other lawn collections. Yet the agency stuck to a simple insight – the dupatta as a symbol of our culture and a way to showcase their new collection. They did it by using a strong insight and telling a beautiful story. When an idea is strong, it sells itself. Beautifully done!

Verdict: Hit the right notes.


Brand: Shan Masala

Agency: Ogilvy Pakistan

Campaign: More than just a cook

Message: It’s not only a woman’s job to cook in the kitchen.

Effectiveness: This tearjerker of a TVC has been the talk of the town ever since it aired. It was a perfect mix of a great insight that also takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster. Thankfully, a small segment of our society is moving forward and breaking stereotypes and pushing forward the notion that ‘cooking is not only a woman’s job’ and ‘women are equally, if not more, capable of going out and earning the bread and butter for a family’. This TVC, while giving aspirational values to the target audience also acknowledges the women who work tirelessly in a ‘man’s world’ and who are often looked down upon for making this choice. This is an example of how the voice of advertising, the magic of words and the ability to make a difference comes together. Creative writers pick up your pens and make a note: you don’t have to sell your brands using a gender stereotype; you can also sell them by opening up that lens a little. Beautifully done! Bravo!

Verdict: Hit the right notes.

Ahmed Mustafa is Creative Director, BBDO Pakistan. m.mustafa@bbdopak.com