Ad roundup: May 19, 2008

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It’s been a slow week for blogging. My telephone line at home has gone kaput and with it my DataOne broadband connection. The wonderful folks at BSNL have given me a docket number to refer and nothing beyond that for 3 days. Prompted me to call Airtel to know more about their broadband services. As if BSNL cares. And having my mom stay alone at home without a phone, made me think of buying a mobile phone for her. Amazing how BSNL contributes to the nation’s economy. Anyway, I was being a couch potato for a good part of the weekend and caught up on some ads.

First off the block – interesting approaches to conveying ‘reduced long distance rates’ by the three big players – Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance. Airtel is purely a director’s film and hats off for casting Madhavan & Vidya Balan. The chemistry between them is palpable and the film’s highlights are the silences and pauses. Highly watchable. Reminded me of the Nescafe series in UK where there was such chemistry between a newly arrived neighbour. If Airtel is all emotion, Vodafone is realism. The insight is the same for both Vodafone & Reliance – that when it comes to long distance calls we are frugal with words. Vodafone attempts to connect through realism and Reliance through exaggerated humour. However, I thought the earlier attempts with Irfan (‘kabootar to nahin bhejoge?) had better dialogue. Strictly on the parameter of conveying ‘low long distance rates’, I would settle for Vodafone for effectiveness followed by Airtel and Reliance.

Happened to see the Tamil version of the Airtel ad. The dubbing was awful. The cozy togetherness of the lead characters is totally screwed. I doubt if the average Tamil viewer will get all goose-fleshy seeing this. Which brings me to the Tamil baseline of Virgin Mobile’s ‘Soch zara hatke‘. It is ‘Maatthi yosi‘ (change your thinking) – nowhere near the zing of the Hindi line.

And then there were these full-of-self Hyundai ads. I can’t recall which variant goes where (Zing? Santro?) – the one where the husband-wife drive back home with a new car? Shorn of any realism, these scream, ‘I am an ad, watch me!’ achieving exactly the opposite. And the shot at humour with ‘Italiano’ accent falls flat. Can the ad be exported to Italy please?

Came across this interesting execution for Olay. The promise of ‘look younger than you are’ has seen numerous executions. This one twists the proposition to ‘camouflage your age’.

Olay camouflage

Via Ads of the World

Given the recent track record of Lever brands’ advertising in India, the Wheel effort (with a bunch of housewives doing the bhangra) is disappointing. The Bajaj TVC with two bikers having a face-off at the traffic signal is quite funny and hits the right spots. I guess bikers always check each other’s bikes out. The cockiness of the other biker (brought out nicely in the mannerisms & dialogue) and the subsequent flattening of his ego is quite entertaining. The aghast biker and the bark from the driver behind him is a nice come back.

This literally points in the right direction – the ad for Nokia’s GPS Navigation. Nice visual device of things pointing in the right direction; would it have been better if instead of people, ‘natural signs’ point to the destination? Just thinking. Nice spot, anyways.

Also refreshing is the Sprite promo spot – ‘kholega toh bolega’. Quite like the ‘naariyal phodo’ days of Diwali promos in terms of branding, this is a departure from the typical promo ads and the offer of talktime is nicely integrated into the film.

Citibank, as reported earlier, is back with its old tag line, ‘Citi never sleeps’. The ad is a classic, ‘we-are-so-great’ corporate ad. IBM too has a corporate ad going extolling us to stop talking and start doing. Would appeal to jargon-spouting CEO types. Interestingly, IBM has taken out print ads in National Geographic which tells us what they have been doing – talking about the Genome Project.

All in all, nothing outstandingly great…nothing to look forward to when in comes to advertising. Maybe I shouldn’t whine about my broadband connection going kaput.

5 comments

  • I have a BSNL connection at home and have enquired about their broadband – well I am given to understand that it takes minimum 20 days to get one- I am only guessing that the folks are caught up with the IPL now that their brand ambassador is also a team owner. The brand ambassador should personify the brand personality ( I understand that),but watching every move of your brand ambassador !!!

    As for the ads on T.V.- well there are some very interesting ones:

    a) Motorola- the father aping ( aspiring ?) the son. Nice insight and very neatly executed , one of my favourites does bring a smile.

    b) Royal Challengers Blore ( Dravid’s & mallaya”s Team would not blame if forgotten)- This brings out a laugh . After every wicket ( invariably Blore’s) this one is inserted . Dravid trying to look mean with his glares , Mallaya leading the team… ( ?) I am sure the irony is not lost.

    c) Saffola Oil- The father running a race and giving a lame excuse for not winning ! ( sounds familiar).

    All in all thanks to IPL, ads planned for the year are out. Do not expect any new ads during the rest of the year expect for maybe new launches !!

    Happy Viewing !

  • Thanks, Biju. Yes, the Motorola ad is enjoyable as it is insightful. Ditto with Saffola. As far as the Royal Challengers go, maybe they should change the baseline to ‘Same for Life’ – since they have only been losing! Or should it be ‘Dame for life’ given the attractive brand ambassador?!

  • I certainly do have a nominee for the most annoying ad currently on TV -the Mcdonalds flight attendant ad. I struggle to figure out what’s more annoying – the so called rocker (looks like a failed junior artiste from a b grade Dracula film) or his whiny screechy epileptic act, or the fact that the last time it played, it drove me to such pissed offedness that I now need a new remote.

    I’ve heard of child lock on tv, i think its time we have selective ad lock too.

    Viva la channel change button!

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bhatnaturally

Ex-ad man. Love advertising, Apple, tech, digital, design and all things creative. VP - MarCom, @Robosoft. Views personal. See disclaimer for more.

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