Thank goodness, the era of depression is over. The advertising industry and audiences are finally recovering from the information fatigue caused by the overwhelming flood of redundant, pandemic-led communications. The last 18 months seemed like a breeding season for industries like telco, banking, home delivery, hygiene products and e-commerce portals, which practically took control of everything and made the most of the situation. The shift from that overtly advertised ‘new normal’ to the old normal feels refreshing and to some extent, festive. Here are some great and not-so-great examples of campaigns that made it through and emerged as winners.
Brand: Blue Band
Agency: JWT | GREY Pakistan
Campaign: Blue Band Chotu
Message: BlueBand Chotu Roz Laao, Mummy Har Din Yummy Banao
Effectiveness: I saw this ad on Facebook and totally fell in love with it, despite my strong reservations about consuming margarine, or worse... giving it to kids. It is remarkable how the consumers (kids and mothers) were projected in a genuine and relatable manner. If disseminated smartly on TV, these communications can do wonders for the brand by creating awareness and fuelling trial and repeat purchase. Not to mention the jingle which sounds rooted and nostalgic, yet put the product centre stage.
Verdict: Chaa gaya Chotu.
Brand: Comfort Fabric Softener
Agency: We Are Transmedia
Campaign: The Lawn Season
Message: Comfort is here to spare you and your clothes from the horrors of ‘The Lawndemic’
Effectiveness: Dark humour has depth beyond our imagination. If properly used, one can literally say the most difficult of things in a light-hearted way – as was done in this campaign. The film focuses on the madness of ‘lawn season’ and its victims who are being rescued by the hero – Comfort Fabric Softener – which can protect your clothes from the wrath of laundry detergents. What I loved about this campaign is that it is an insightful commentary on popular culture, fashion and the obvious redundancy of visuals that plague fashion films in Pakistan. It may come across as a ‘funny commercial’ to the general audience but as an ad man, I can see the guts of the brand manager who approved such a concept amidst a veritable Juma Bazaar of conservative marketing communications.
Verdict: Comfort went zag and totally nailed it.
Agency: Synergy Advertising
Campaign: KFC Feel Good
Message: Celebrating 100 Restaurants.
Effectiveness: Déjà vu, déjà vu, déjà vu… these words echoed in my head while I was watching the TVC. The easy thing would be to blame the creative agency or the brand team here but that would be unfair because the real culprit is not the intent, but the execution. For the last 10 years, we have been looking at the same Shutterstock young people, shot with the same old glare-washed technique, doing literally the same thing. This is what happens when we try squeezing the same sugarcane stalk for the umpteenth time, so let’s just stop doing that. Creativity is imagination plus pragmatic borrowing; the latter is what we need to work on. What we see today on our screens is something we borrowed 20 years ago from a media that was entering the age of globalisation – and which has changed quite a bit since, with the advent of Bigo, SnackVideo, TikTok and so on. There are a lot of young people experimenting with what they know and churning out really good work, give them a shot and you will be amazed by what they can do for your brand.
Verdict: Borrow something new.
Brand: Mountain Dew
Agency: BBDO Pakistan
Campaign: Yaar Hein Tou Paar Hein
Message: Adventure is incomplete without Mountain Dew
Effectiveness: It’s been ages since we last saw local faces in a Mountain Dew commercial so yes, it was refreshing to see this happening. The ad is part of a series that focuses on two friends (Fahad Mustafa and Ahad Raza Mir) giving their adventures a daring twist with Mountain Dew. Another notable shift was in the tagline, whereby the global version “Do the Dew” was accompanied by a local Urdu tagline “Yaar Hein Tou Paar Hein” which gave the brand a Pakistani texture. They also made an effort to shoot the English language version which becomes slightly more entertaining towards the end.
Verdict: Mountain Dew ki naiyaa paar hai.
Brand: Sufi Cooking Oil
Director: Shwetabh Varma
Campaign: Thematic 2021
Message: Struggling to infer one…
Effectiveness: Inspired by a 2015 Vistaprint commercial, this TVC is an excessively long drama showcasing a son’s return to his dad and rejoining his restaurant business. The foreign dad attempting to have a dialogue with his Pakistani son in Urdu is painful to look at. On top of it, a lousy ADR job failed to save the day. Having said that, the plot was meaty enough and had potential to become a well-told story. The absence of a strong brand role screams the absence of a creative agency or a brand custodian. The biggest struggle was figuring out the role of Turkey in this father-son equation but then it was obvious enough... Oops.
Verdict: Tharak-e-Turkey tark karein… Naqal karein toh aqal se karein.
Fahad Bombaywala is Creative Director, M&C Saatchi World Services Pakistan.