Sunday, July 12, 2009

For some things money can't buy

Ok. Now you must be a dork if you can't figure out which ad(s) I am talking about. If not, let me elaborate: "There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard".

And without exception, you all thought of the word: "priceless". And that's what this post is all about! The priceless campaign of MasterCard. There's this Indian ad of MasterCard, that I must say is brilliant in its concept and execution (like all MasterCard ads).
Watch first. Till then I reserve my comments.

Rating - ****
Great ad. It is what every Indian would like to give his parents (well, I'd like to think so!). It has been built around the Indian ethos of taking care of your parents well and delighting them. So, I especially connect to it. (I hope to do the same some day!). There are so many other ads I have seen and can recall, but could not find them on YouTube.

Now, let me tell you how a typical MasterCard story goes (like you already don't know!).
It starts off with the narrator explaining the price of each thing. And it ends with how the cumulative effect of all this spending is that moment of joy, which is "priceless". And then, they end with the punchline.
I am certain most, if not all, of their ads are tailored around this story board. Atleast, the ones I have seen seem to revolve around this concept. It is said that this campaign was designed to allay fears that commodification has set in, and that materialism has taken over the world. And the punchline tells you as much.

But observe from my view, and you will see something more to it. Of course they are telling you there are some things that money can't buy. Which implies that for the rest (which is most), you need money. Notice how subtly they communicate that even for those "priceless" moments, you need to shell out those green notes! Which brings us back to what they have to offer. Spend money. So what if it costs you? You are left with those "priceless" moments. Which works well for a credit card and debit card company, don't you think?

And another highlight has been the association "priceless". For a thing that actually tells you that everything has a price (it's after all money, honey!), it has managed to own that brand property. And they have taken it beyond a punchword (can't call it a punchline!). To understand what I mean, at leisure, visit the site "".

They have heavily capitalized on that brand association and what you have is an ENTIRE site built on that platform (apart from their own official website). You have "priceless picks" (a pun on "priceless pics"), where you can upload and share pictures of the priceless moments you have had.
Then you have "priceless tv" which airs all their international priceless campaigns, from which you can choose and watch. Then they have their promotions and offers, with the best in lifestyle, entertainment, travel and shopping on which to splurge!

In all, a good concept!

And the campaign? Priceless.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fevicol Ads

Jogging down the memory lane, here are some of the Fevicol ads I really liked when I was young.

The first is this ad, which starts off with a shot of a man. Then you realise it's two, then 10... then maybe another couple of tens! Slowly, the ad reveals to you that they are all moving and shaking whilst on a slow-moving bus (can't blame it! With hundreds on tow, it's a miracle it's moving at all!).
You have women, children, men and even a cock on board. And they are moving across this Rajasthani desert. As most in rural India would probably know, that's what public transport means. That is, a bus overloaded much beyond it's capacity, so that they all innovative to make places for themselves (even if it means perching yourself uncomfortably on the headlights, as the ad depicts!). And as we all take in this huge feat of accomodating so many on a bus, the ad closes with the board behind the bus which claims "Fevicol. The Ultimate Adhesive". (As if to answer our question, "How are they all sitting there?!").

Check it out!

I love this ad, because nothing is said. All you have to do is figure it out!

The other of the ads is one where carpenters are working. They are watching this movie scene, which is like a typical Bollywood ham scene. There is a girl on a bridge, and she is holding onto her lover, who is about to slip off. And they frantically keep repeating, "Pakde rehna...chodna nahi".... the suspense builds. But much to the irritation of the carpenters, nothing happens. In frustration one of them gets up, to take the Fevicol dabba kept on the TV. Immediately, the hero in the movie loses his grip and is seen falling into the endless pit. Whereas, in another TV placed next to it, the hero is still continuing with "Pakde rehna...chodna nahi"!
Why? Because the Fevicol dabba is still on that TV !!!
Why don't you take a look yourself?

Simply creative!

The third ad I like is in tune with the above ad; the carpenters are in the ad. One of them is busy scrambling eggs, while listening to the radio. He stumbles up on an egg which refuses to crack. The voice-over on the radio goes "Dum lagakar ... haisha! Zor laga kar... haisha!". Inspired, our man decides that brute force is the only way he is going to get that egg to crack. He tries to hit it with a hammer. Much to his amazement, it slips from his hand, hits a pot, causes a hole in it and the water pours out!
Surprised, he checks on the hen that laid the eggs; only to see that it was feeding from an old Fevicol dabba! And the voice-over on the radio simultaneously says, "lagta hai yeh Fevicol ka kaamal hai.... tootega nahi!"

And think of this; they actually show how we re-use stuff in India. Cut an empty, used Fevicol dabba to give chicken feed. Now, if this isn't an eye for detail, I don't know what is!

Rating - ****

Now the things that I like.

First of all, I must hand it to the creative head. I mean, here's a mundane thing: an adhesive. I don't think anyone prior to Fevicol would have actually thought of branding an adhesive. It seems like a low-involvement product. What does it matter what adhesive you use? Instead, Pidilite has an amazing number of funny and creative ads for this product, which is no doubt their flagship brand. And come to think of it, you would actually smile when you see a dabba of Glue! How many can actually make you do that?!

There is one thing you will notice in most (if not all) ads. They always have a rural setting/backdrop. The Indian rusticity is what stands out, and they have a generous dose of humour to support it! They borrow scenes or instances from daily life; whether it be the overcrowded bus; or some carpenters at work. And that is their best strategy. Especially involving the actual users of the product, like carpenters, in their ads. And it works for them even more, as they were the first to undertake direct marketing to carpenters; and not just hardware stores and timber marts, like their competitors. Now, Fevicol is almost a generic term for "adhesive" (or "glue"). And that is its biggest achievement. Not all products become generic to the product category. "Building Bonds" is what Pidilite's tag line says and that "bond" is what drives the creative messages. Even over the years, they have played around with the strength and have evoked in us the sense of what an adhesive is supposed to deliver - offer the best bond.... jo toot na paye!

Even the Fevicol logo, with the two elephants tugging at *something*(many claims to it - a ball stuck with Fevicol; or a piece of wood stuck with Fevicol) and still struggling is a sign of "mazbooth jod".

For me, when I was younger, Fevicol was that white goooey thing, which had that unique smell when I would open the dabba. It was my aid in many projects and art work. Later on, easier glues and transparent gums in tubes came and replaced atleast the stationery segment. But even though its a little messy, everyone did buy it!

Let me conclude with the hope that my mazbooth jod with this blog stays!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ek Idea pe chal padega India - Idea's New Campaign

Hi folks!

A long time since I wrote on this blog. But here's one ad I felt like writing about.
Also because it happens to be contemporary.

This one is the latest from the Idea Cellular stable.

The ad features a news channel reporter trying to get an 'expert' opinion as to whether technology has made people unfit and lazy; the 'expert' doc, being AB Junior. As he walks away from the shoot to attend his wife's phone call, he gets an "idea". He exhorts the public to "walk when you talk"! "Now, which doctor has asked you to stick to a place, while talking?!" he questions. And the rest, as they say, is history! It becomes the nation's mantra - "walk and talk".

The old, the young, the women, the children.... all take to it, like a duck to water! Whether in a busy train, caught up in a lift or in the parking lot; people are following the "instruction" to a T.
And the heavy India, sheds a few pounds.


The doc is out of work !!!

Coz his idea worked!
And he's left swatting flies!


Rating - ****

Now, what I liked about the ad?

Well, for one it addresses two issues at one go: Firstly, our fixation with the mobile phone; rather excessive dependance on it. We all spend a considerable time on phone (not me personally, but I am the exception and not the norm!). And the second is, the 'growing' health concerns. Modern lifestyle has rendered most of us incapable of taking time off to try and shed some flab. Well, if not the time-crunch, blame the laziness! So, the ad combines the two issues and tries to give us a solution: walk when you talk!

(I personally, can't stand in a place and talk, if on the mobile phone. I walk while talking; so in a sense I connect to this ad. And I think most of you would agree. So, it's like a great customer insight put across well!)

Off-late, IDEA seems to gravitate towards including socially relevant issues. As cases in point let me cite a few. One ad had AB Junior as the village sarpanch, and he comes up with an 'idea' to stop communal violence. He declares that people will only be known by their phone numbers. And voila ! The idea clicks.

They actually modified this ad and released a new version recently, since the government also intends to come up with the Unique Identity Number for all the citizens of India. So move over phone numbers, Indian citizens will have their own identity numbers! A very smart move to stay in the minds of the public, by being relevant!

Another very recent ad, was the "education for all" ad, where Abhishek literally "mobilises" education for all! Watch the video to know more.

So what works for Idea?
They creatively use their brand property, i.e. "Idea" (the name of the brand as well!). The ads communicate how an "idea can change your life". And including socially relevant issues indicates their interest in the junta of India. And the ads also include their signature tune and "What an idea, Sirjee!" punch line for good measure. Great attempt at getting the brand properties ingrained into our psyche.

With mobile services cluttering the market (count in MTS, Aircel...apart from the already existent BSNL, Airtel, Vodafone, Tata Indicom, Reliance et al), this campaign stands out, as evidently they are not telling us about their schemes, offers or value-added services. Infact, nothing at all about it! (Unlike Airtel's Vidya Balan-Madhavan promos; or the cute Zoozoos. Maybe more on that, later!).

Only time can tell whether these campaigns favour this brand. For one, I would never change my service provider (I have been a loyal Airtel customer; for the past 6 years!). Smart ads can't get me to change it; coz well, stepping back to reality, network coverage and allied services is not comparable (that's my perception, atleast). And I have not seen an "Idea" fanatic customer (you will find that in hoards, atleast for Airtel! Take me, for instance).

So thumbs up for the ad campaigns. Whether the idea takes off.... let's wait and watch.

Till then, all I can say for the campaign is ...."What an Idea Sirjee!"

Friday, April 4, 2008

Utterly, butterly Delicious !

Yes, no one is a stranger to this yummy one-liner which immediately prompts us to smack our lips in anticipation of the very tempting butter !!! And, the Amul girl or Amul baby was here to stay.
It is touted to be the longest running ad campaign ! Thanks to Sylvester DaCunha, we had an adorable mascot for the butter.And later, the Amul ads gained mileage for donning the role of a social observer.And are the ads really satirical ? Well, I don't think so ! The catchy lines injected with the right dose of humour dishes out just a lot of fun. And yes, there is an entire collection from 1976, available online !! On the Amul site ! In fact if one scans through them, one can get an insight into the socio-political fabric of those ages. So what are you waiting for ?

Have a look :
To read on the Amul topical story :
To have a look at the topicals :

I shall leave you with a few samples (so that you might be tempted to have a look!)

On the first test tube baby.

Promoting national integration.

On "Women's Reservation" Bill which created a furore in the Parliament and was stalled- '03.

On the issue of high-level of pesticide residues in colas/soft drinks.

Team India celebrate after winning the inaugural ICC WORLD TWENTY 2007 cricket World Cup in Johannesburg.

CHAKDE! INDIA: the Bollywood movie with focus on women's hockey featuring star-actor Shah Rukh Khan playing coach of the Indian Women's Hockey Team to bring fame to India.

Bollywood film Fanaa release held up in Gujarat due to agitation over star's comments on Narmada Dam Project.

On the ban of Da Vinci Code.

Richard Gere, Hollywood actor and Shilpa Shetty, Bollywood actress in a controversial incident in public at an AIDS function in India.

Indian fast bowler Sreesanth’s aggressive on-field behaviour with Australian batsmen during the second One-day International at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, India.

Hope that was fun !

Spoof....on Ads?!

I bet you've seen this one.
Ah, we were so touched by the poignant message.
'Save water. Save life'.

And then, this arrived:

Food for thought, eh ?

[P.S. Click on the pics to see an enlarged version]

Diwali Ramzan Ad (Print) - Action Aid India Society

This is one print ad I've been dying to get my hands on.

I wanted to just show this to all of you; or remind you in case you had forgotten. This simple yet hard-hitting ad drives home the point like nothing else. This was an ad by the Action Aid India Society, requesting help for the victims of Gujarat carnage. Why talk on and on about it when I can show it to you ? I'm sure the image will suffice.

And yes, I got it off another site....Thank God for the internet !

(In case you can't read the fine print; it says "Who are we to draw the line?" )

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Vodafone Ad

After a hiatus, here I am !

Finally, one ad inspires me to immediately pen my thoughts on it !!!
The ad begins with the 'birth' of a may fly. The narrator begins by saying that the may fly has a life-expectancy of just one day. The may fly doesn't feel miserable about it. Instead, "he fills his day with the things he loves". The ad goes on to show how the may fly swoops and glides and savours every moment it has. And then, the narrator ruminates on this and says, probably there's a lesson in this for "us longer-living creatures". He continues, "Just think; if we embrace life like the may fly.... what a life that would be..."

The ad ends with the punchline: "VODAFONE- Make the most of now."

What works for me ?
The whole animation! It is eye-catching and simple; aesthetic and interesting. I especially enjoyed how the may fly plays 'tennis' and tries its hands at juggling. And also how it ends up with its 'life-partner' (if you could call it that!) at the end of the ad. What I liked most about the ad is how it makes you conveys its message beautifully without being didactic. And the punchline: "Make the most of now". Couldn't have said it better !

Rating- *****

[P.S: In the process of searching the net for this video, I realised that this very same ad has been released much earlier in other countries. Here, I shall put the video with an Australian voice over.]