Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Campaign Watch

Published in May-Jun 2023

Rameen Fasih reviews the latest campaigns.

Ramzan ’23 came with a plethora of campaigns that were seen, noticed and appreciated. During Ramzan everyone knows what to talk about, but the period that follows it leaves everybody clueless. So, we see very functional, to-the-point campaigns (nothing wrong with that), but they do become a bit monotonous, predictable and, well, boring.

Yet, even with functional campaigns, there are some ideas that astonish and then there are some that make you think, “Did they really spend money on this?” Flipping through TV channels, I saw ads that make me feel many things; happiness, sentimental and sometimes angst (because the ad is lazy). Here are my two cents on the ads that made me feel something.

Brand: Pepsi

Agencies: Cheil Dubai and Alt Story

Campaign: Ab Har Ghoont Strong

Message: Pepsi’s taste is now stronger. Yes, that’s it

Effectiveness: The ad starts with a very scenic shot. The police are following a vintage car on a road in the desert. You feel like this is Texas, very Hollywoodish. They succeed in building up curiosity and the ad ends in an unexpectedly funny way. You smile, they tell you Pepsi is now stronger, success! The insight was ‘Targeting Gen Z,’ the cool, hip, drip (I’m lost, I’m a Boomer) generation that makes decisions based on ‘vibe’ – and that vibe has to be cool! Gen Z needs to know Pepsi has changed and they need to try it. The ad made me feel… appreciative of the nice try.

Verdict: The ad passes the ‘cool-vibe-check’. Gen Z might try the new Pepsi. Maybe I will too (even though I’m a Boomer).

Brand: Cornetto

Agency: We Are Transmedia (WRT)

Campaign: Pakistan’s Favourite Chocolate Cone

Message: Gift your crush a Cornetto and express what is in your heart

Effectiveness: Cornetto has always promoted the innocent love of a guy and girl, and how they can express it by simply exchanging Cornettos. A bit overdone now, but can you overdo love? The insight may be old but it is still relevant. The ad features Hasan Raheem (heartthrob for girls) and Noor Khan (guys’ favourite), but we don’t really know what is going on. The story wasn’t thought through. The brief probably was: “There will be a guy, then there will be a girl and then there will be Cornetto!” The effort to build the story was missing in spite of the fact that the insight of ‘romantic expression’ had so much scope. The ad made me feel… ‘meh’.

Verdict: Good for fans of Hasan Raheem or Noor Khan, but delivering the message? Couldn’t quite do that.

Brand: Telenor

Agency: Ogilvy Pakistan

Campaign: More Se Zyada Faida

Message: You get a lot of faida with Telenor for less money

Effectiveness: We see a few scenarios in which Wahaj Ali gets more than he expected. Basically, his life is like a cool breeze. Now the ad tried to relate this to Telenor, as in, if you have Telenor, you get more than what you expect. How true this is, we don’t know, since the ad didn’t try to convince us either. Random things are happening. Random scenarios, random dances, random people coming out of nowhere, random everything. The insight was absent. The message is vague. The execution is confusing. The ad has Wahaj Ali. That was probably the only strategy. The ad made me feel… clueless?

Verdict: Wahaj Ali might attract viewers, but when it comes to the product – it wasn’t marketed at all.

Brand: Ufone

Agency: JWT Pakistan

Campaign: UPower

Message: UPower solves all your phone problems

Effectiveness: The ad starts with a girl who is having… Umm, a problem with her phone. And then we see a boy who has no data, followed by a girl with slow-speed internet. You could think this is an ad for internet packages. But is there more that we don’t see? The ad ends with all the youngsters standing in gaming character stance, with internet packages AND calling minutes that are more in number but not talked about – just randomly shown at the end, with ‘gaming stances’. The insight probably was to target Gen Z through dance (they are dancing in the ad) and gaming, and market Ufone’s 4G packages, but some components of the package seemed to have been ignored – or maybe they wanted to ignore them. There is something off-key about this strategy.

Verdict: Dance is cool, the wardrobe is cool, insight, okay. Effectiveness? Where is it?

Brand: Rahber

Agency: Manhattan International

Campaign: Thanday Ko Rakhay Dair Tak Thanda

Message: Our product may be simple, but it’s effective

Effectiveness: There is one thing I love about Indian ads; how bizarre they sometimes can be. This one by Rahber fits into the same category. Fawad Khan’s face is covered with blood while he is tortured by a gang. A pretty graphic beginning, but the ad turns into a funny situation when we learn that Rahber keeps water cool for the longest time. The simplest products need the most bizarre marketing, and they got it right. The strategy was to show Rahber in a way that is memorable, making a product that nobody thinks about stick in one’s mind. The execution could have been more on point; it would have made the ad even better. The production is good and shot beautifully, but the copy and the delivery not so much. When it comes to communicating, the ad gets the bizarre bit just right, communicates the functionality of the product, and succeeds in being memorable. It made me feel… like we are headed in the right direction.

Verdict: Serves the purpose. Makes you laugh and although the execution could have been better, 10 points for the idea.

Rameen Fasih is Senior Content Strategist, Ishtehari.