The return of the pug and mascots

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You could not have missed this on TV since it was all over the weekend IPL matches. I guess they had to listen to popular sentiment about the pug. The recent product ads (alerts, songs) did not feature the pug – was it a deliberate decision not force-fit the pug into everything Vodafone did? Or were they simply aligning themselves to the ‘make the most of now’ thought? I think the Helpline feature has been beautifully integrated with the mascot. A spot guaranteed to win hearts and metals.

But its difficult for me to imagine the pug featuring in every ad, including the product features. That would be a constraint, I think.

3519091.gif Decisions about mascots, brand ideas get changed along with new brand teams, agencies and so on. Even with teams working on a brand consistently, the tendency to change things because they *fee* fatigue has set in, is high. Because they have been living with the brand they get bored with a mascot, a baseline or an idea and whatever was created the previous year is thrown out of the window.

Brands like Amul, Zodiac and Santoor stand out for being consistent for decades. Amul has appropriated the topical humour route which has been attempted to be copied by several regional brands. The Zodiac look familiar today – highlighting the product has been on for several years. Even the first campaign, featuring the Zodiac Man was very distinctive. Santoor operates in perhaps India’s toughest market: soaps. In a category where ideas change with every year, to be consistent with the promise of ‘younger looking skin’ is creditable.

Other brand ideas/taglines/mascots that come to mind: Asian Paints: Gattu; Amrutanjan: Poye Pochchu (it’s gone!) Luna: Chal meri luna. A great collection of advertising icons can be found here.

Any thoughts on long running campaign ideas or ideas that should have been continued but dropped? Vice Versa?

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  1. Can’t really think of a mascot per se that I would love to see again. But I do have a campaign in mind.
    When we talk about campaigns that have become an integral part of Advertising history, one campaign certainly comes to mind – the Hamara Bajaj campaign
    I think this campaign got it right on every aspect. It strikes me as a beautiful example of how a campaign can retain its line and communication but still reinvent itself to adapt a contemporary flavor.
    The original campaign brought a feeling of almost nationalistic pride in the ownership of a Bajaj. Which worked bang on because I would assume that the client brief would be something on the lines of – work on the existing trust the product efficiency the brand enjoys , and create a Value / Imagery around the brand , which at that point in time Bajaj did not enjoy in the two wheeler market
    Cut to a decade later , when the Kinetics , and the Hero Hondas of the world were seen as younger, more hep and hipper ( never really got why they called them that) brands. Bajaj revives the Hamara Bajaj campaign still with the Iconic Hamara Bajaj line , but with bringing out that Bajaj like India today is young, vibrant and contemporary but takes pride in their Heritage and Tradition
    I think three things worked for them:
    1. Contemporary adaptation
    2. Heart string tugging look and feel , without being too cheesy
    3. And to quote you from another posting – A true and fresh expression of the consumer’s experience with the category or brand.
    All in all one campaign I would love to see again.

  2. Priyesh, thanks for the comments. Yes, reviving the Hamara Bajaj with a contemporary look made sense. But for some brands ‘moving on’ may be the answer. VIP suitcases made a big impact with ‘kal bhi aaj bi’ many years ago but junked it since they did not have to keep reinforcing the trust/heritage factor later.

  3. Hmm , very true.

    In that context i guess the hamara bajaj campaign in this day and age would be rather – unnecessary.

    yet, definetely a campaign that remains close to the heart.

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