When you are tasked with conceptualising a ‘clutter breaking’ ad that is ‘creative’ and ‘original’, you don’t want to be held back by unnecessary red tape. Clients want good, creative work, but will put a dozen unnecessary hurdles in the way. However, as advertising agencies, we too need to be careful. We can become so engrossed in telling a good story that we forget why we are telling it – to sell our clients’ products and services. We need creative liberty and unambiguous briefs, but we also need to respect the brand’s business and market realities and find a middle ground. Once in a while, when the stars align, we are treated to some good work that balances the brand’s requirements and the agency’s creativity, delivering memorable campaigns that stay with us. Let’s review some good (and not so good!) campaigns.
Brand: Bisconni Chocolate Chip
Campaign: Scratch Karo Win Karo
Agency: Visual Poetics
Message: Scratch more codes to win more prizes
Effectiveness: When I first saw this, I thought it was a trailer for a movie or a short film. It is shot beautifully and plays out like a movie trailer rather than a TVC. It features a group of kids who set out to solve the mystery of the scratch codes and find Cookiemon. There is a Stranger Things-y vibe to it, with plenty of mystery and good old-fashioned adventure. The message will not blow your mind – at the end of the day it is a scratch code campaign. But the way the story is told is sure to keep you hooked. Some points off for the brazen product placement!
Verdict: One (fairly) smart cookie.
Brand: HBL PSL
Campaign: PSL 2021 Anthem – Groove Mera
Message: Watch PSL from home but with the same passion and zeal
Effectiveness: As a die-hard cricket fan and former club cricketer, I think this year’s PSL anthem is brilliant. Hear me out! Unfortunately, PSL took place in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak. So here was the challenge: How do you get a cricket-crazy nation excited about their T20 cricket league when they can’t watch the matches in the stadium? The answer: by rallying them around an anthem that celebrates the joy of watching cricket with friends and family at home. Cricket is more than a sport in Pakistan – it is something that unites, thrills and inspires us. This anthem reflects that passion with simplicity and honesty, and that is why it works. The music is exhilarating; the beat is catchy, Naseebo Lal’s powerhouse vocals take it up a notch, Aima Baig and Young Stunners add in their flavour and the lyrics even subtly refer to the pandemic and the need to stay at home. From the funky and colourful effects, to the superstar players, to the montage of memorable moments from previous editions, it is all spot on. This anthem brings back some of the magic of PSL and at a time when it was needed most.
Verdict: Hit hard over long on for a six!
Brand: Hyundai Elantra
Campaign: Ace the Chase
Agency: Adcom Leo Burnett
Message: Get the car that keeps up with your ambitions and drives you to win
Effectiveness: This is an ad that could have been smartly executed and an insight that had the potential to be expressed so much more creatively. Instead, it fails on so many levels. The dizzying array of quick cuts leaves little time to register any of the car’s features. One of the few positives is that the TVC features some good looking and interesting shots that establish the futuristic and high-tech positioning the brand aims for, but this is offset by some pretty bad CGI. The worst part, the thing that just kills it, is the voiceover. It is completely off-tone, to the point of being comical. The copy is shabby and could have been much more impactful. Take pity on your ears and watch it on mute. As a petrol-head it pains me to say this, but this communication is hollow and disappointing, devoid of any real passion that car enthusiasts look for.
Verdict: Let’s park this one on Schitt Street.
Campaign: A Whole Lot of Love
Agency: Phreakin’ Digital
Message: Nurturing the generations of the future
Effectiveness: Mitchell’s chose to relaunch with an ad that was as refreshing as it was cute. And boy, was it cute! Smartly crafted, the ad is based on a simple yet brilliant insight – kids ask a lot of questions. They are curious and not shy when it comes to quizzing us about all those questions floating in their heads. Product placement is on the lighter side and the focus is on the insight rather than the consumption shots that we have seen a million times – and we are all the better for it. Even when the product range is shown, it isn’t in your face and tastefully done. The cute way that the kids ask all those silly questions grabs our attention and keeps us watching. It is not easy to make an ad where you need kids to be cute without coming across as artificial, so kudos to the team for pulling it off. The copy is spot on and links the emotional benefit (made with love) to the functional benefit (nurturing and nourishing) to deliver the message effectively.
Verdict: Love it!
Campaign: Pure Mango Pleasure
Agency: IAL Saatchi & Saatchi
Message: Pure mango pleasure
Effectiveness: A great example of a global idea adapted for a local market. Slice has always been advertised through provocative campaigns and this ad does a good job of toning it down just enough to be certified halal in Pakistan. Big juicy mangoes, dripping, finger licking pulpy juice – we can live with that, right? It’s shot beautifully with a refreshing look and feel, featuring tempting shots that make you crave fresh mangoes. The background song sets the mood and is memorable enough to stay with you long after the ad is over.
Verdict: Leaves you thirsty for more.
Sheheryar Jamal Pasha is Team Leader (Creative), MullenLowe Rauf.