Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Campaign Watch

Shiraz Malik, Creative Director and Partner, Half Full Studio, picks his favourite and not-so-favourite recent ad campaigns.
Updated 06 Mar, 2024 11:10am

People say it’s easy to be a critic, but I find it challenging because it forces your grey opinion into logical reasoning and hence pushes your thought to implementation.

Brand: Panther Tyres

Agency: In-house
Campaign: “There’s a New King in Town” featuring Babar Azam.
Message: Reliability and performance through its association with the strength and agility of a panther.
Effectiveness: The campaign begins with Babar Azam walking through an ambient-lit thespian warehouse followed by well-choreographed training shots. Although the setting of a moody training environment is a familiar trope in our cricket anthems, the art direction here stands out for its striking lighting and seamless editing. What truly elevates the ad is the artfully curated wide shots showcasing Panther Tyres floating in space. The ad effectively conveys the message of the tyre’s quality and the importance of road grip, while using a raw, dark and grungy colour scheme to evoke the suave persona of panthers. However, as the ad nears its conclusion, the momentum is abruptly halted by Babar Azam’s delivery of the tagline: “Level He Aur Hai”, marred by a lacklustre and nonchalant demeanour, and an unmistakable Lahori accent which falls flat and disrupts the ad’s otherwise smooth appeal.
Verdict: 7/10. Despite this flaw, the ad’s execution is commendable, drawing attention to its captivating visuals and creative direction.

Brand: Samsung

Agency: Adcom Leo Burnett
Campaign: Trade In To Trade up
Message: Purana phone lao, naya phone lay jao.
Effectiveness: This campaign cannot be the usual cookie-cutter futuristic commercial we have come to expect from Samsung. It needs to transcend its message across all sectors, catering to and marketing its services not only to a niche but also to the public, targeting both Millennials and Gen Z. This commercial checks all the above boxes with its clear and quick message, featuring A-list celebrities, like Hamza Ali Abbasi and Nayyer Ejaz in a rather quirky, character-driven plot. The premise is relevant to the audience as is its communication style – the Punjabi lingo and humour are right on the money. This 45-second ad is clear and fast-paced, capturing the attention and the intention of its service experience. Its contrast of characters provides an uncanny relatability. You don’t need long, elaborate, soppy plots to deliver impact.
Verdict: 9/10. Know when less is more and this was just right.

Brand: Shan

Agency: BBDO Pakistan
Campaign: Beti Ko Jeena Sikhaao Shan Se.
Message: Let’s support our daughters as they embark on a journey towards self-reliance.
Effectiveness: The ad opens with a relatable scene. A father teaching his daughter how to change a tyre. The emotional depth of their relationship is evident while a father’s tough love and rigour in teaching methodology are relatable and compelling to watch. The narrative establishes the theme of empowering women – and a woman unable to change a tyre is a common perception of their being reliant on men and being weaker. This beautifully crafted commercial intentionally casts unknown actors, making it relatable to the general public. The cinematography captures the intimacy of the father-daughter bond, with warm lighting and thoughtful framing enhancing the emotional resonance. The choice of music and lyrics further elevate the emotional tone. Verdict: 10/10. Flawless.

Brand: Josh

Agency: DKT Pakistan
Campaign: Sindhri Aam Khaega?
Message: Protection with pleasure. Ye kaam khule aam ka nahi.
Effectiveness: Boy, oh boy, did this campaign catch me by surprise. This condom ad stars the Pakistani-Zimbabwean model, Mathira, as the ambassador for Josh, promoting the sindhri aam-flavoured product. I never imagined we would stumble upon an ad like this in the Pakistani digital media and marketing landscape, and I am all for it. The ad wastes no time in jumping into innuendos, where we see Mathira watching the screen and reminiscing about a raunchy comment “Aam khaega?” She then goes to a nearby department store and asks for sindhri aam. The man initially misunderstands and tries to send her to the fruit shop, but he understands what she really means when she responds, “Ye kaam khule aam ka nahi, mujhe to khaas aam chahiye.” He gives the Josh product to her and she suggestively chuckles and exits the shop with josh sindhri. Like it or not, this ad is not for everyone. It avoids visual vulgarity but plays with the coarseness of the mind and desensitises the shame attached to it.
Verdict: 6/10. Not the most eloquent ad ever seen, but it helps in efforts to educate and implement.

Brand: Lemon Max

Agency: Spectrum
Campaign: Lemon Max Long Bar Cham Chama Cham
Message: One month, one bar.
Effectiveness: After the fiasco of cringe-making dance commercials for brands like Tarang and Gala, we thought the era of silly choreography was over. However, we find ourselves faced with yet another nonsensical ad featuring Madiha Imam and Wahaj Ali continuing their roles from the serial Ishq Jalebi. The ad begins with Wahaj’s entry into the kitchen, singing “Jab se mili hai wife, badli hai life, kismat chamke, cham chama cham cham.“ Does he insinuate here that he was the one responsible for domestic drudgery before his marriage? Moreover, it is difficult to imagine his wife being so happy to be passed on the role of a glorified dishwasher after him. Incidentally, the mother-in-law seems dejected at the ridiculously jovial couple, staging a stereotyped Pakistani household dynamic. I feel “Cham chama cham cham” consecutively ingrained in the song is simply annoying. From a commercial standpoint, we should aspire to expose our kids to better taste, both in music and the portrayal of family dynamics.
Verdict: 2/10. I will change the channel before it pushes my buttons.

Shiraz Malik is Creative Director and Partner, Half Full Studio.