Much has been written about the Cadbury’s Payday campaign. It’s got the advertising & marketing community talking and most of the reviews are positive. The company says ‘the new commercial highlights the celebratory occasion of payday, which is an important event in the life of every middle-class Indian.’ As many have pointed out, it is a clever occasion-based association which allows for the brand to be recalled in the right context, every month. The choice of song and the activities done around it (SMS alerts immediately after your salary is in the bank) make it all buzz worthy.
The brand’s advertising is eagerly looked forward to, given the landmark ads in its track record (see related post on ‘the trouble with setting high standards‘). Two things struck me when I saw the Payday campaign: the earlier ‘pappu pass hogya, Miss Palampur and the recent ‘Kenya kidhar hai?’ ads equated CDM with life’s everyday special moments. For me, the message was that any small reason is good enough to have a CDM and does not deserve a special or momentous occasion. This campaign is meant to attract small town India, I would presume, and the objective is to equate the meetha of payday with CDM. A payday is still a momentous occasion for many – specially in the Tier II towns – it is a special day. Isn’t there an inherent conflict?
Secondly, I may be the only one feeling this way – but I think there is a tinge of ‘Bharat viewed through India’s eyes’ in this campaign. We sometime accuse foreigners of seeing India in a pre-conceived way. Similarly, a lot of urban India thinks that ‘this is how the hinterland is’. By going retro, leveraging a decades-old song, packing it with a song and dance routine, an overly made up hero is there a hint of bemused city slickers smiling benignly at the goings on in Bharat? Also, Cadburys has had a premium aura to it. Whether it is a low SKU product being advertised or the high end Temptations it appealed to the sophisticates. With this one, are they running the risk of pissing off the urban audience? What’s your verdict on the ad?