Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Refreshing – but rushed

Updated Sep 12, 2018 12:55pm
Did Bank Al-Habib’s Defence Day TVC really stand out?

Listening to milli naghmay releases the unhinged patriot in me – the type that bleeds at the words, and sobs uncontrollably at the accompanying videos. Somehow, these melodies conjure up images of nation building post-independence. Images full of hope, of new beginnings, of sacrifice. The song Aye Watan Ke Sajeelay Jawanon, which the late Madam Noor Jehan sang for Pakistan’s troops, is one such milli naghma that sends me into goose bumps every single time I hear it, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

On the occasion of Defence Day on September 6, Bank Al-Habib released an ad paying tribute to Pakistan’s heroes, and instead of a jingle, they featured Madam Noor Jehan’s Aye Watan Ke Sajeelay Jawanon – which is heart-wrenching and beautiful with a wide emotional and patriotic appeal.

The story is set around a woman’s memory of her soldier husband, a memory triggered by a family portrait with their young daughter. A series of army scenes intercut with moments this man shares with his daughter follow. We then learn that the soldier was martyred, and many years later, his daughter has become a soldier in his footsteps, and she stands there wiping away her mother’s tears at the end of the ad.

The narrative, though not new, is emotionally evocative. I will not lie, I cried during this ad, but I cried because of the song and its legacy, history and poignancy. The fact that it once again reminded me of the sacrifices our forefathers made for this country, and how we are still struggling today with the basics. I did not cry for the ad on its own.


Unfortunately, the execution felt lazy and rushed. The montage of army footage intercut with personal moments felt haphazard, and took away from the father-daughter moments. There was no obvious colour grading to differentiate the past from the present, so the visuals looked flat. All in all, it felt like the ad was relying on the power of Madam Noor Jehan and her song to carry it forward.


From a messaging perspective, I appreciated the fact that Bank Al-Habib and their agency, Bond Advertising, chose to showcase a father-daughter relationship, rather than the typical story of a son taking on his father’s legacy. By showing all the tender moments the father and daughter share, and then revealing her as having become a soldier, the message is simple – give time to your daughters, invest in them, and they will be the future of the country.

Unfortunately, the execution felt lazy and rushed. The montage of army footage intercut with personal moments felt haphazard, and took away from the father-daughter moments. There was no obvious colour grading to differentiate the past from the present, so the visuals looked flat. All in all, it felt like the ad was relying on the power of Madam Noor Jehan and her song to carry it forward.

This milli naghma certainly has the power to bring in viewers – I viewed the ad several times just to listen to the song, but beyond getting repeated views, I don’t think it does anything for the brand or its image. There are lots of videos out there that feature milli naghmey with archived footage of the nation’s heroes and images of war, and sadly, this ad is not much different from those.