In the last decade, Pakistani advertisers have more than flexed their creative muscle when it comes to Independence Day ads. With a whopping 300% increase in ethno-tourism, a considerable number of brands have made a conscious decision to mirror Pakistan’s kaleidoscopic culture using earthy montage formats and keeping product-pushing to a minimum.
The strong emotional underpinning of ads such as Habib Metro Bank’s ‘Pakistaniat’ to Khaadi’s ‘Main Bhi Pakistan Hoon’ are a call for kindness, tolerance, acceptance of diversity while focusing on similarities – and at the end of it all viewers are served with realistic visual imagery that only makes us love our country a bit more and well, be a better citizen. In addition to this, local festivities, ethnic specialties, roadside food culture, beaches, mountains and other scenic vistas have taken centre stage; let’s be honest, when it comes to scenic views and delectable palate pleasers, Pakistan is a bit of a masterpiece. The government could pick any of them as a show reel to promote tourism in Pakistan.
1. The Rhythm of Unity – Morven Gold (1990s)
Despite the lack of storytelling, it is considered to be the patriotic tune that holds a very special place in Pakistani advertising and served as the inspiration for many ads since.
2. PTCL - Rhythm of Independence (2018)
Hits all the right chords in this instrumental homage to the diverse culture of Pakistan. A romance of dhol beats, the rabab, the sitar and the flute, the high-spirited audio complements a montage of shots; children at the beach, cricket matches in the streets, Mughal architecture, tombs, mountains, Sufi performances, deserts and food street culture. This ad is Pakistan in 90 seconds.
3. UFONE – Sohni Dharti Instrumental (2010)
Equally creative and poignant. Featuring a visually impaired flutist, the voice-over stirs the soul with a request to value the colours of Pakistan and be grateful for a country we can all call home.
4. Sooper – Rhythms of Azadi (2016)
Transports us to the rustic regions of Pakistan where life is simple and unmarred by the chaos typical of urban centres. Chunri-clad women make pickles at home, clothes are washed at the dhobi ghaat and colourful town carnivals are attended with the same vigour. The refreshing dichotomy between the sepia setting and bright red turbans, chunris and adornments quintessential of Cholistan Desert makes this ad a visual treat.
5. Vital Tea - Jashn-e-Azadi Aye Sar Zameen (2017)
Brings together different social segments and highlights how special we all are in our way. The TVC stands out for its emphasis on Pakistan’s unsung heroes – our skilled labour. From street vendors to painters and from tailors to wielders – Vital Tea stick to their characteristic advertising style and takes us behind-the-scenes in this three minute song.
6. Getz Pharma – Bahadur Quom (2019)
An ode to the resilience of the Pakistani people. Despite all odds, we always have and always will power through.
7. Moto Z - National Anthem (2017)
Featuring, the instrumental rendition of our national anthem, it stands out because of the way the different sounds that are highlighted. From the beat of kata-katt to the fluttering of pigeons, the composition connects the sights and sounds of Pakistan seamlessly in this revamp of the national anthem.
8. Bonanza | Satrangi - Azadi Mera Libaas (2017)
Breaks away from the predictable, scenic shots format that most ads resort to for Independence Day. The brand gave a feminist twist to freedom and highlights how women have broken free from societal stereotypes and expectations. Be it break dancing on the roof, or training for a sport dominated by men, women today are free in their skin and aren’t afraid to show it.
9. Khaadi - #MainBhiPakistanHoon (2017)
Stands out for its strong voiceover juxtaposed with images of thread and weave and a portrayal of the religious diversity in Pakistan. The visuals are a smart play on the fact that regardless of religion, caste or creed we all come together to weave the fabric of our society and only acceptance will make this fabric last seasons, centuries and beyond.
10. HabibMetro - Pakistaniat (2017)
Ringing in more inclusivity, it highlights the white part of the flag (the non-Muslims) as much as the green.
11. Strepsils – Khayal Rakhna (2018)
A masterpiece that brought together the voices of Ali Noor, the Viccaji sisters, Sara Haider and Ahsan Pervaiz. Khayal Rakhna is a rendition of the original by Alamgir and relies solely on the voice without musical support.
12. Jubilee Life Insurance - #CelebratePakistan (2014)
Takes us behind-the-scenes and celebrates our mazdoors who work tirelessly and create urban centres from the ground up.
13. Always – Always Azad (2019)
Although not the best in terms of production quality, it wins a little place in our hearts by showing the contrast between a privileged, school girl and a girl from a different social segment bogged down by responsibility.
14. Tapal - #CupOfFreedom (2015)
Tapal’s #CupOfFreedom draws A thought provoking contrast between the disgruntled young who feels Pakistan is just not enough and the immigrants who sacrificed everything for freedom.
Taniya Hasan is a content marketer