Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

A Few of my Favourite Things

Batool Habib Curmally, Head of English Copy and Associate Creative Director, Spectrum VMLY&R, picks her favourite ads.
Updated 31 Oct, 2023 04:53pm

Bonus Tristar – Dumdaar Dhulai

Agency: Spectrum VMLY&R

With a dash of humour, nand-bhabi nok jhok and most importantly, dumdaar dhulai, Bonus Tristar does it again. Following its earlier hit ‘Bonus Mila’, this recent ad of Bonus Tristar has me. The dramatic moments are insightful, well-timed and create great engagement; from the gasp of the first splash, the smug superiority of the nand, to the moment one thinks matters are about to come to blows via the ad’s quip on ‘dhulai’ – this ad drives home the message of dumdaar dhulai, with Bonus Tristar saving the day.

Sabhyata – Diwali #RedefiningCelebration

Agency: P se Picture

In celebrating womanhood, Sabhyata takes the path of compassion, empathy and kindness to demonstrate how the older generation paves the way for the new to progress in the workplace. Truly redefining celebration, this beautifully crafted, insightful ad tugs at the heartstrings and speaks volumes about the realities of challenging the biases against women in the workplace. For the protagonist, in her vulnerability lies her strength. Young female professionals in South Asia can only dream of meeting their version of an incredible boss like Sheeba Chadha, who continues to astound with her gift for acting.

PathKind Labs – #HumFarkNahinKarte

Agency: SG Dream Media

“Illness doesn’t choose which home to go in and neither do we.” There is no greater care we can offer humanity than to serve with dignity and kindness – a message that is modelled by PathKind Labs in their #HumFarkNahinKarte campaign, as they highlight the alarming statistic that 98% of transgender people are either abandoned or given away. Challenging biases against the marginalised, PathKind Labs demonstrates their commitment to go beyond the call of duty without any care for ‘log kya kahenge’. This ad speaks to my heart – it holds up a mirror to society’s attitudes by showing the utmost respect for humanity and bringing forward the heart-breaking plight of little children who are abandoned.

EFU Life – Aaj Ko Manao

Agency: MullenLowe Rauf

EFU Life’s ad ‘Aaj Ko Manao’ is all about living in the moment, while choosing a secure future that promises savings and protection. The ad is relatable to a wide audience through the scenarios it highlights; quality time with family, playing cricket, celebrating parents’ achievements and giving them the assurance that they too can now take it easy. The scenario I appreciated the most was the one that highlighted the importance of allowing oneself moments of rest and relaxation. This ad is a welcome reminder – an inward sigh of relief – of the importance of taking a breather from the stress of daily life.

TUC – Blame the Bhook x Cricket

Agency: IAL Saatchi & Saatchi

In Pakistan, cricket is a beloved sport. In those moments, tensions are palpable as everyone sits huddled around the TV erupting into shrieks of frustration or jubilation. TUC has successfully used humour to encapsulate these tensions. I loved the use of ASMR to emphasise biting into that TUC biscuit – that crispy crunch that is so comforting and familiar you can almost taste it. With instrumental music representing the traditional TUC Halki Phulki Bhook jingle, and timely cues to amplify each sound, this ad makes one feel like one is sitting right there watching the match. The tension between the couple unfolds, ending in cherished moments of laughter.

The Up Collection | Sapphire x 7Up

Agency: Alt Story & BBPR

Edgy, bold, vibrant, chic – the Up Collection is a visual smorgasbord of 7Up’s brand identity coming to life in a clothing range for today’s Gen Z. Adding designer flair to everyday wear, this fun and aesthetically pleasing collaboration between 7Up and Sapphire West embodies abstract patterns, minimalist looks and bold colours, with branding to add that little extra oomph. Modern and sophisticated, this ad encourages young people to embrace their individuality and be real in the moment. I love the flamboyance and flair.

Surreal Cereal – (Fake) Celebrity Endorsement

Agency: Onwards

Cheeky, clever and brilliant – there simply aren’t enough good things I can say about Surreal Cereal – a quirky UK-based high-protein, low-carb, zero-sugar cereal brand – and its marketing tactics. This outdoor campaign had me in stitches – at first glance, it all looks like regular celebrity endorsements… until you read the fine print. Imagine the ingenuity of leveraging the names of ordinary people who just happen to share the same name with famous personalities – and without incurring exorbitant costs. ‘Dwayne Johnson’ is a London bus driver, ‘Serena Williams’ is a student, and ‘Michael Jordan’ is an average person from St Albans. A budget-friendly way to get attention that truly delivers the best possible bang for their buck!

Unilever Pakistan – Living Wages for #LiveableIndependence

Agency: Alt Story

Galloping inflation has been crushing for everyone in Pakistan, but none more so than people struggling to survive on their paltry minimum wages. Putting this issue under the spotlight, Unilever highlights the simple fact that the minimum wage needs to equal a liveable wage, challenging participants to consider how they could meet their own needs on a Rs 32,000 budget. This is an insightful, thought-provoking and eye-opening public awareness campaign. I appreciate Unilever’s way of using this experiment as a launch pad for change, speaking for those whose voices often go unnoticed.

Batool Habib Curmally is Head of English Copy & Associate Creative Director, Spectrum VMLY&R.