With both Eids, the World Cup season and Independence Day all wrapped up, this quarter has really given advertisers ample time to flex their creative muscles. Marketing-centric groups such as Khalid Alvi Marketing Next are ablaze with debates on campaign after campaign. From Ariel’s bold and rather controversial take on aurat ki jagah ghar main hay issue to Coca-Cola’s Hum Aik Hain campaign – the ad world has a menu of campaigns to choose one’s most least-liked ad from. Here is a quick overview of some of the yays and nays that caught my attention in the last couple of weeks.
Production Agency: The Red Films
Campaign: Bykea Toh Samjho Bhai Kia
Message: Bykea is as reliable as the proverbial, helpful bhai.
Effectiveness: Bykea’s ‘Samjho Bhai Kia’ is a loveable campaign bang on the subcontinental insight that we tend to ask for simple favours from people by referring to them as bhai. The campaign is a smart play on the brand’s name and proves that a small insight goes a long way. Not to mention that the look and feel of the TVC is culturally relevant, grounded and local. Add to the mix a light-hearted, feel good jingle and you have a memorable ad. Overall, this ad gets points for its accurate resonance of Pakistani street culture. Although I am probably not their target audience, the ad gave me massive #relate feel, especially in the shot where a Bykea driver delivers groceries to an aunty who could not go out due to bad weather. That aunty is me, I’m that aunty. Ah! The magic of ads that get subcontinental insights right!
Agency: Ammar Rasool/Rocketman Films
Campaign: Dadi Cool
Message: Waves is cool?
Effectiveness: First of all, a moment of silence for iconic singer of the seventies/eighties – Sir Boney M, true king of Euro-Disco, who thankfully did not live to see the day Waves butchered one of his bestsellers. From marketing groups to women-only groups, there was a collective sigh on the internet followed by a big ‘why’? Waves have been trying to be the ‘it’ thing since quite some time, whether by dabbling in fashion at the International Fashion Festival Canada or by taking on household name Bushra Ansari for their recent campaign. A legendary comedienne like Ansari could have really helped the brand up their humour game but instead she ended up playing the subcontinental version of Aunt Agatha, who buys flashy leather jackets from garage sales, smells of cheap cigarettes and is generally avoided at parties because of her over enthusiasm to fit in. They also on-boarded Faiza Saleem for the PR outreach of this campaign and all I want to say is Waves is spending too much money on bad ideas, perhaps hoping that all this star power will have their target audience flocking the outlets.
Brand: National Foods
Agency: IAL Saatchi & Saatchi
Campaign: Nayi Soch Ke Naye Zaiqe
Message: National Foods is as progressive as the people who love it.
Effectiveness: This ad features in this piece for one reason: progress. Gone are the days when masala brands were about housewives singing and dancing in the kitchen, cooking korma while their husbands were busy being ‘men’ and reading/watching news. This TVC portrays the dynamics between couples from different age groups, cooking together and having fun. It deliberately highlights that girls/women don’t magically transform into Salt Baes the minute they are born and that a married girl can be clueless about cooking, in which case she either runs to her mum for help or turns to her new best friend Google. The husband on the other hand isn’t your typical sartaj and helps out whenever needed and sometimes cooks even better than she does. National Foods through consistent marketing efforts have been trying to break away from the ‘Kitchen Ahead: Only Women Allowed’ label and have succeeded in doing so to some extent.
Agency: Soho Square
Campaign: Rap Battle
Message: Summers are lit with Sprite ka hit?
Effectiveness: Sprite tapped into the booming underground rap scene with a TVC that shows rapper Faris Shafi going into a somewhat rushed rap showdown with Meharbano. The rap battle integrates the brand’s tagline Apni Pyaas Ko Sprite Kar and wins big on the freshness factor. However, as much as I liked the idea, the execution does not do justice to the concept or to Shafi’s mettle. The feel of the TVC is rushed and choppy and just when viewers really get into the rap swag vibe, Shafi’s rapping ends abruptly followed by Meharbano awkwardly and rather forcefully plugging in the brand tagline. The first half of the TVC really seems like the ad would accrue new levels of street cool. Sadly it falls flat mid-way and doesn’t even manage to register the battle in the viewer’s mind.
Brand: Adamjee Insurance
Message: Adamjee safeguards dreams and aspirations.
Effectiveness: I have no problem accepting that advertisers probably make emotional ads for people like me. The ad is chockfull of emotion as it shows children from underprivileged backgrounds working from an early age and putting their dreams on hold in the hope that someday things will get better. The children add another layer of vulnerability so that you almost feel you are there looking into their hopeful eyes. The VO adds to the poignancy with a tightly-written script that aims at your heart from the start with an unwavering grip right to the end. The visual language and mood shots are real and do a great job in triggering your primal instinct to protect. Massive win for Adamjee for this ad that actually makes you want to be someone’s nigheban.
Taniya Hasan is a content marketer.