Published in Nov-Dec 2021
By all accounts, 2021 was a miserable year. A global pandemic led to an economic recession, impacting everything, the ad marketplace included. However, as they say, nothing lasts forever and as I write this, the world is about to say good riddance to a depressing 2021 – although we are not out of the woods yet. Brands will have to evolve their messaging and move from Covid-19 safety related and reassuring messaging to positive and aspirational messaging. In fact, brands will have a crucial role to play in 2022, by projecting a positive outlook. As for 2021, here are some of the hits and misses we witnessed.
Adeeb Online (1st Urdu Digital Library)
Ads like these, which portray the message in such a poetic way, are a rarity. Simple and on point. A definite treat for Urdu lovers. I totally loved the acting and the delivery of the dialogues – I mean the shairi. A gutsy move at a time when ‘dancing-and-singing-for-no-reason’ seems to be the only way to sell a product.
Verdict: Muqarar muqarar.
Nothing can go wrong when cricket, music and Coke Studio come together. A perfect recipe to create the perfect anthem to dance to. Timely and relevant, the music brilliantly and dramatically fuses Punjabi rap and pop. Add to this, Atif Aslam singing with Faris Shafi and Talal Qureshi, and we have a musical treat. The track is beautiful and its inclusivity encapsulates the spirit of cricket. The catchy rap is not only a throwback to the history of Pakistani cricket; it evokes a desire to bring the cup home in a most awe-inducing way by igniting a patriotic spark within us. Coke Studio’s Cricket Khidaiye has made 2021 the year of Pakistan’s rap industry and the game of cricket.
Verdict: I am singing and dancing to the tune of magic. Game on hai!
English Biscuit Manufacturers
Simple is always beautiful. And no one captures simple better than Sooper. It would not be wrong to say that it felt more like listening to the voice of our hearts rather than just watching a commercial. From the joy one finds in a child’s hug, to the comfort of being with loved ones to a house that echoes with laughter, the simple joys of life leave us grateful for the countless blessings we are given. Dua-e-Shukr makes us thankful for the relationships and the moments that matter; a sentiment all the more special during the month of Ramzan in the year of a global pandemic.
Verdict: Iss karam ka karoon shukr kaisey ada.
I am at a loss for words after watching this ad. I tried to watch it a few times, but the result was the same. My question was and remains: why? There are a million ways to tell a story of an elderly couple who want a secure and peaceful life after retirement, so why copy, and that too frame by frame? Oh wait, they did add their product story, so at least they did something. Even Khalid Anam’s acting could not save it.
Verdict: Still looking for words.
Here is another ad with a celebrity as a brand ambassador and… ta da! What could have been an interesting and emotional communication turned out to be a completely made-up and not-close-to-being-insightful ad. From the no-brainer conceptualisation to the OTT pink execution – and no tempting food shots – Sajal Ali could have been selling anything. No?
Verdict: Can’t chill if such ads keep being made.
Pick up a current transition trend, add in a bit of hip music, Gen Z is a must and, oh yes, please don’t forget the celebrity – and our award-winning ad is ready. Who cares about the concept or creativity?
Verdict: There’s no joy in sharing this ad.
Sumaira Mirza is Creative Director, Ogilvy Pakistan.