Published in Jan-Feb 2022
Advertisers, creative storytellers and marketers have been influencers way long before the term ‘influencer’ became a part of marketing lingo. We tell people how to live their lives as they sit on their comfy couches scrolling through Facebook or switching between TV channels. From how to look, what to wear, what to eat, how to decorate their homes, how to meet people and what to drive, practically every facet of their lives is taken care of. This is the power of advertising. The power we ad men and women have. Yet, only a few creative agencies are putting this power to good use. So, let’s react to a few influential masterpieces... click away – “Like, Haha, Wow, Angry.”
Brand: Cadbury Dairy Milk
Agency: Ogilvy Pakistan
Campaign: Kuch Acha Hojaye, Kuch Meetha Hojaye!
Message: Andar ki achayi ko bahar chalakne dou!
Effectiveness: Okay, so let me get this straight. Here is a modern girl from a modern family wanting to pursue her Master’s but Daadi wants her to get married just because she wants to have fun? Here is Dairy Milk solving a decades’ old issue of women being treated unfairly, with a bite of “milk chocolate.” Firstly, who serves chocolate with tea? Secondly, the girl leaving the room when the family brings up the topic of marriage is so 18th century. I remember Dairy Milk’s Eid campaign, which ran five or six years ago, showcasing an “Angrezi bahu” and the parents-in-law welcoming her with wide-open arms. From that to this, the brand’s narrative journey has been rather regressive. Disappointing!
Campaign: Jazz 4G – Super Soch Ka Partner
Message: Bhai soch achi tou kia kuch nahi hosakta!
Effectiveness: Now this is what I call very smart. Insights – check; idea – check; understanding the target audience – check; brand relevance – check; execution – check. This campaign ticks all the right boxes. In a world where everything is becoming smarter, Pakistani advertising is still struggling when it comes to exploring smart ideas and coming up with smart insights. Hence, I was surprised by the u-turn taken by Jazz in their latest communication. It was a massive shift from the glitz and glamour, song and dance approach of their previous communications – and what I loved most about this campaign was how they showcased product relevance in such an insightful way. Brilliant! I hope Jazz carries this forward to continue to keep it real. Jazz is jazzing it!
Agency: M&C Saatchi Pakistan
Message: Soch ko khaki lifafay se azaad karo
Effectiveness: Finally, a ray of hope in Pakistan’s conventional advertising jungle. These days, finding both an insight and an idea in a campaign is a rarity, and to my surprise, this piece of communication had both. In a society where talking about feminine hygiene and contraceptives is considered taboo and carrying a brown bag is synonymous to carrying something ‘shameful’, this TVC addressed the issue by highlighting consumer behaviour with a smart, powerful situational idea: people wearing brown paper bags on their heads while encountering ‘shameful’ situations. What big brands never had the guts to do, KhairKhwah did. Although it was a low budget campaign, the direction could have been a bit better. However, all in all, it’s an exhibit A – you don’t need big budgets and known faces to communicate something as important as this. Brands and agencies, take note: “Apni soch ko unimaginativeness se azaad karo”
Brand: Nestlé Fruita Vitals
Agency: Ogilvy Pakistan
Campaign: Nestlé Fruita Vitals Falsa
Message: Still trying to figure it out!
Effectiveness: Clichés, clichés and more clichés. I don’t know what is more of a cliché. The thought, the concept or the situation. From the overdone 3D liquid, driving in an old car with scenic backgrounds, bonfires with friends by the campsite, the girl sensually flipping her hair, or the jingle; this commercial has everything that has been done to death. Who cares about relevance, messaging, brand engagement and positioning, right? There was so much room to explore and develop the message engagingly. With falsa being a summer fruit, visual depictions of the season might have helped in creating that relevance.
Agency: RED Publicis
Campaign: Wedding Jackpot
Message: We are here to assure you that “Jahaiz aik laanat… nahi hai.” Effectiveness: This right here, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic example of “we don’t care about insights, insert song and dance.” Big budgets, big director, amazing sets, average cast, below average execution, pathetic song and an even more pathetic, out-of-sync cringe-worthy dance performance, no concept and well... let’s not talk about the insight because there was none. With campaigns running across the subcontinent against dowry culture; where parents spend a lifetime gathering property, cash and material wealth in the quest to fulfil their duty towards their daughter, this ad has revolutionised the concept of dowry… from jahaiz to jackpot. Wah.