Binging on brainstorming sessions, devising executions that defy monotony but not the budget and pushing clients to challenge the ordinary; we are all fighting the same war every day and if the timelines are abusive, then every night. We are all perpetually starving for approvals. So as we review the following campaigns, it is so utterly important to realise that the judgement on a campaign is not based on the work of concerned agencies. It can never be. For more often than appropriate, brands are reluctant to try the full extent of what has been proposed. Worse, there is no money to do more. Most ideas that make it have been through reverse metamorphosis, turning brilliant campaigns into caterpillars. Nonetheless, here are a few headliners from 2021 that stormed our newsfeeds, alongside what we thought of them.
Brand: Ali Xeeshan
Campaign: Numaish Qubool Nahin
Production House: Abdullah Haris Films
Message: Jahez khori band kero
Effectiveness: A pledge against the age old tradition of dowry visually translated in an epic fashion by the maestro Abdullah Haris; the whole concept is remarkable. However, it is ironic given that buying the brand’s clothes will pressure the parents to buy the most lavish dress available, and this is a highly moving display of our cultural stagnancy. But where they chose to display it and how deeply it may or may not have penetrated the social segments most hit by such practices is a question that makes the campaign a little hard to judge. Certainly no news of this video being played in small towns or the message being furthered into actual points of change is present online. But a round of applause for the thought behind its cinematic execution is in order.
Verdict: Beautiful insight into an ugly society.
Brand: Peshawar Zalmi
Campaign: PSL 2021
Message: Z Kingdom
Effectiveness: The prodigy, Abdullah Siddiqui, is a genius. Perhaps due to his age, his output is refreshing and instantly connects with younger audiences. Combine this with stellar production value and faces of the likes of Mahira Khan and Esra Bilgiç, and you have a sixer on your hands. Although the nature of the anthem steers far away from the cultural context of Peshawar and may not resonate with how the public feels about cricket, it sure sways the urban elite. This one’s for the playlist.
Verdict: Pitch perfect!
Campaign: Summer Lawn 2021
Message: Now or never
Effectiveness: A good starting point for others to take up and do something better with. With this particular lawn launch, Khaadi became one of the very first fashion brands to use a plus sized model, celebrating beauty and its urgent need for appreciation. Often women delay their need to beautify or the thought of purchasing certain clothing, feeling that either it won’t suit their physique or they should hold the thought until they lose enough weight to pull it off. This is so, so common. Rooted so, so deeply. It is a surprise that more brands have not acted on this insight, prompting women to feel comfortable in their bodies and demand a now or never spirit from themselves. Although the thought was not as elaborate or expansive, being pioneers in its communication is what makes Khaadi take the cake.
Verdict: A good starting point for others to take up and do something better.
Campaign: Slice – Pure Mango Pleasure
Agency: IAL Saatchi & Saatchi
Message: Pure mango pleasure
Effectiveness: It’s 2021. Brands are becoming woke, or are supposed to be moving in that direction. But can anything beat a hot actress seducing the pulp off a mango to entice the nation with juicy fantasies? Not for Slice Pakistan. They believe it is the only right way. The mango must be wooed. However, what they did do differently was the use of their background score. Using a folk classic like Mein ta ho ho gayi qurban, the traditional spin on things was a daring move and worked like a charm. If not for sexism, the brand still pushed at least some boundaries.
Verdict: Mahira and the mango are both seeing other people now.
Brand: Lahore Qalandars
Campaign: PSL 2021
Message: Bol Qalandar.
Effectiveness: Imagine a few men hovering over a small television at a paan shop, locked into the final few wickets on screen. Imagine their team scores. Imagine them bursting into wild, frivolous fits of bhangra as they lunge to celebrate, lighting up the entire street with laughter, unity and passion. That is true, cricket happiness. How do you replicate the exact spirit on television? Enter Lahore Qalandars. We don’t know if the Lahore Qalandars were actually short on their budget, reeling into a production disaster, or intentionally played a masterstroke with star players going wild on Punjabi beats by Abrar-ul-Haq; but the Lahore Qalandars anthem perfectly captures our provincial spirit and soul. You forget the hearts on the virtual set. You forget the production value. You forget it all when you see your favourite faces living the Lahori dream.
Verdict: Lahori enough.
Eiesha Mubasher is Associate Creative Director, Adcom Leo Burnett. firstname.lastname@example.org