2020 was a bad time for advertising. Everyone wanted to jump on the entertainment or charity bandwagon with little or no knowledge of the mindset changes taking place among audiences as the pandemic took hold. We are living in a world where insincerity within advertisements is sniffed out from miles away. Your message needs to be anything but preachy and superficial. Have Pakistani brands realised this yet? Let’s see.
Agency: Soho Square – Ogilvy Pakistan
Campaign: Coke & Music
Message: Coke Studio is coming soon.
Effectiveness: This is the 13th year that Coca-Cola has officially begun the music season. You know it is time for Coke Studio when they release an ad at this time of the year, although this could have been done with a press release or influencer posts on their official pages. Why did it have to be a one-minute global ad with a soundtrack from eight years ago? I appreciate the effort but aren’t we about done watching global ads adapted for Pakistani audiences? At a time when Pakistani audiences are becoming smarter, this ad came as a memo about why we needed this change to begin with. Go colloquial or go home!
Verdict: Just another well-shot global ad that doesn’t resonate with the audience.
Brand: Kashmir Cooking Oil
Agency: RED Communication Arts
Campaign: A family tradition since 1962
Message: A perfect blend of nostalgia and desi traditions.
Effectiveness: Food and nostalgia – two things that make Pakistanis go weak at the knees and if a brand marries the two in their commercial… oh boy, we have a winner! Kashmir has definitely started to move away from the industry trend of making a sale through a dance routine and grasped the opportunity to go straight to Pakistani audiences’ hearts. A well-written voice-over, delivered with powerful vocals by Anzar Sehbai. We have all had a bara ghar in our lives, where everyone congregates to make memories and share a meal together. This ad is an ode to every Pakistani who has lost touch with their bara ghar as it ignites nostalgia of places, people and food. I am craving my nani ke haath ka pulao just as I am typing this. Wasn’t this what the brand wanted? Mission accomplished!
Verdict: This is what makes Pakistani audiences swoon.
Agency: Mashion Studio
Campaign: Let’s Celebrate Choice
Message: Celebrate courage. Celebrate choice. Celebrate life.
Effectiveness: After decades of celebrating a traditional and society- approved image of shaadis, MoltyFoam have made a monumental shift in their approach and audiences are welcoming this with open arms. Courage is definitely rewarded and this brand with this ad can be an example. Watching the MK duo on-screen was magic and the emotions and dialogue delivery were done just right. No added or exaggerated emotional drama or prolonged explanations. It was short, crisp and flowed just the way a story should.
Verdict: The nanhi pari has been redefined and we are all up for it!
Agency: JWT | GREY
Campaign: Shaan Se Shine
Message: You are unstoppable and so is your shine.
Effectiveness: I have long been looking for a brand with mass targeting to instigate a conversation around gender equality. But is this the right way to do it? No doubt the ad had a good insight and the brand’s heart was in the right place but the execution could have been better. The digital influencer amplification campaign that followed was the saving grace. (Who remembers the Kendall Jenner-Pepsi fiasco?) We got a new talking point and the daily struggles working women go though received overdue attention. People have started talking and women are opening up about the issues they face.
Verdict: Has the ingredients to be a winner.
Agency: Ogilvy Pakistan
Campaign: The Artist
Message: We’ve got Ahad Raza Mir and we know it!
Effectiveness: Every time music starts to play in Pakistani commercials you know what is coming next – an unnecessary and excessively choreographed dance routine. This is why this Velo ad and Ahad Raza Mir came as a breath of fresh air. Where else have you seen a single man hold the attention of audiences for 30 seconds straight while selling a product? Candid dance moves that actually looked spontaneous. So rare... just so rare. It would be a pity not to give credit to Mir for his exceptional on-screen presence and effortless charm. Velo did everything right to target their TG and make their product look desirable, aspirational and COOL. But was this all they were looking for? If I find it cool would I buy it? 2020 has made us shift from building affinities to creating solid affirmations. Maybe this was a year too late. Nonetheless, we had Mir on our screens dancing it out and we can’t complain.
Verdict: You have our attention. Now what?
Mahreen Azam is Senior Creative & Content Manager, BBDO Pakistan. firstname.lastname@example.org