Independence Day topical ads: FOMO at play again

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In 2015, men’s grooming brand ‘Below The Belt’ created a print ad which appeared in The Daily Telegraph’s sports section covering the Wimbledon event. The ad was a humorous reference to Djokovic playing on one of the hottest days of the year.

Topical ads

Here was a topical ad done right: it used the news of the day with a clever link to the brand and placed it in the right context. There are several such examples of topical ads working to the benefit of the brand, thus making marketing sense. In my view, topical ads work best when they have a surprise element marked by a quick turnaround from the brand team to capitalise on a topical event (one of the reasons why Amul hoardings are so endearing).

This ad was apparently done in 3 hours in connection with England’s rout of Australia in cricket during the Ashes series in 2015.

There’s another kind of topical ad which attempts to make use of a known calendar event – e.g. Independence Day, Holi, Eid, Diwali etc. As with every year, several brands brought out topical ads to mark India’s Independence Day. This year too the ads were marked by a distinct sense of FOMO with force fit of the brand. The difference this year however is the reliance on a long format web-only film as opposed to a print ad. Here is a collection of ads with the Independence Day theme. I thought almost all, except perhaps of Bajaj Avenger the brand was a force fit to the theme. Aside from the above, a few others caught my eye:

Borosil: national anthem

The tune of the national anthem has been featured before, but here the brand had a natural fit.

Ambuja Cement: Salim aur Shankar

I could anticipate how the climax would end – see if you can midway through the film.

While it is a sweet film, I really wonder what value the #WhatsUpOnYourChhat hashtag adds. I know it is mandatory to add a hashtag so as to complete the ‘360-degree’ approach and all that but I’d be surprised if it gains traction on its own on Twitter with user contributions. In my view, brand initiated Twitter hashtags (which are linked to an ad campaign) should be ownable and allow for some creative contributions from Twitter users.

And then there was a full page ad from the Hero Group supported by a web film. Here too, the link to the message is tenuous limited to word play on ‘heroes’.

What’s your view on Independence Day topical ads? Do comment in.

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