Brands that cut through: Starbucks, Catch Spices, Edelweiss Tokio Life, Zoomcar, Colgate, Furlenco, Good Day, Dollar, Nimyle, Poco, Sugar.fit, Bindu, The Moms Co., iD, Too Yumm, DBS Bank, VLCC, ZEE, MTR.
Starbucks | #ItStartsWithYourName
Bud Light was in the news recently for engaging a transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney. That didn’t go down too well with some. It is ironic but not surprising then, that this beautiful Starbucks India film had to carry this disclaimer at the end: “This content is not intended to offend or cause distress to any group of people.”
The brand’s established ‘It starts with your name’ line readily lent itself to the inclusivity theme. There’s the right amount of friction to set this up. The performances are restrained and impressive, the casting impeccable. The transition from Arpit to Arpita announced by the Starbucks staffer blends the brand right into the plot. Starbucks has done a multiple level-up in stature with this film.
The transphobic comments online do not seem to reflect the sentiments of the customers one encounters at Starbucks. Will it sell more coffee? I am not sure if that’s the objective of this film. Will it imprint Starbucks as a warm, inclusive brand the youth and the open minded will relate to and create greater loyalty? I am guessing yes. For taking a stand, Starbucks, take a bow.
Catch Spices | Maa Ka Ehsaas | Kyunki Khana Sirf Khana Nahi Hota
Every mother has her own set of challenges. A commercial sex worker separated from her child, cooking for her and secretly delivering her meal, is a fantastic storyline and it has been told compellingly. From the choice and use of music to the filming, this doesn’t just tick the boxes but delivers a moving experience. While the story moves you, the brand remains firmly in focus and central to the plot.
Edelweiss Tokio Life | Mother’s Day | Zindagi Unlimited
The story of a woman who has lost her husband, going the extra mile to give her child everything that he would have had if his father had been around, has been scripted to enthrall. Unhurriedly told over four minutes, there is not a moment when it feels like a stretch. The makers have managed to retain some feel of serendipity in the reveal, even if one is able to guess that it is learning to ride the bike that is causing her repeated injuries. Performances are top notch, making this a must watch. That it is based on a true story makes it more endearing. The brand has also managed to underplay its role with humility and celebrate the mother, who makes a child’s life ‘unlimited’.
Zoomcar | #ApniHiSamjho
Delightful films that build recall for the brand with simple scenarios wrapped in warmth. The attempt seems to be to humanise the category by playing up the guest-host experience in different contexts. I’m not sure how this camaraderie plays out in real life with rented cars, but this could well set the tone for those relationships. The films also address both ends of the deal in a business like Zoomcar’s, supply and demand. The spots have been written and made so well that you don’t mind watching them over.
Colgate Strong Teeth | Paste Hi Nahin, Poshan Hai Yeh
Fresh! One one hand, ‘Poshan’ seems to be a strategic first. To sell toothpaste using a toothless granny was another. And the device of her adorable ‘cutting machine’ takes the pitch all the way home. Will get attention and will drive the ‘poshan’ agenda successfully.
Furlenco | Home Sapiens
Nice play on homo sapiens. The spiritual guru setting reminded one of a recent cookies commercial but that’s where the similarities end. Furlenco promises to make your home the place you won’t want to get out of, helped in good measure by this dramatic piece of communication.
Good Day | Choti Pal Bhi Hote Hain Great
The campaign has been taken forward quite interestingly from last year. This year’s films build on the ‘chote pal’ that was an absolute winner of a platform. The work is entertaining as was last year’s campaign and manages to sustain the tempo and interest. This year, one also notices some lovely regional language adaptations that don’t seem like adapts at all.
Dollar Lehar│Masti Ki Lehar
Outlandish? Yes. Clutter-cutting good? Absolutely. Banian and Tree maketh the banyan tree. Forgive the Bollywood tropes and the trophy girlfriend / female admirer and this is as good as any to make the brand get noticed. The colourful setting and Bollywood style action pique interest and retain attention.
Nimyle | Khushiyon Ka Farsh
Deeply insightful, this. Clean floors are most critical in households with kids. The idea of the kid playing frog in a school drama dovetails fantastically with the clean floors message and provides for great viewing, too. This has everything going for it in a category that hardly moves the needle creatively.
Poco | Performance
Ridiculous works. Bizarre works. In advertising, they do. The boss-employee framework allows for watchable boss-bashing. The phone helps in the bashing, making this work for the brand.
Sugar.Fit | Diabetestan
This went live three months ago, one learns on YouTube. Building on the Diabetestan concept is a new film. Framing Diabetestan and Normalistan as nations was a novel idea. Sugar.fit being the visa one needs to back to normal(istan). Told entertainingly too.
Bindu | Cool Toh Bindu Hai
Again, bordering on the silly, but harmless silly one thinks with even the poster in the boys hostel adequately covered. The politician and hostel plots are written to bring on the smiles. Shorter edits would perhaps work better. Nice to see a new beverage brand arrive on the scene with some cut through advertising. The work usually gets better when a brand arrives with this intent.
The Moms Co. | For Every Mom Through Every Change
Featuring real life moms who are achievers and professionals and capturing the challenges they face was a good idea. A cross section of them are seen here. The work is very relatable, said two I checked with. It makes them look up to the brand as a community of mothers that it wants to be. The sisterhood of motherhood, so to speak. And The Moms Co. is there for them.
iD | Khaana Khaaya?
When a mother asks if you have eaten, she is saying that she loves you. Period. Befitting, coming from a food brand. The batter is the hero painted by the dosa chef.
Nescafe Classic Cold Coffee | Jo Banaye Special Ban Jaye
A playful, relatable slice of life comes to life here. Household chores when the cleaning help doesn’t turn up has become a shared responsibility in most houses since Covid. It’s hard to imagine that the boy (or anyone for that matter) will get away with making the cold coffee, but let’s suspend disbelief and enjoy the show. It’s good fun while it also works for the brand.
Airtel Family Plans | Perfect For Every Kind Of Family
Family plans. They can work not just for the family but also those who treat you like family. Who better than flatmates for this pitch? And as they say, it’s available for real families too.
Equitas SFB | Itni Badiya Interest
This nani is a rockstar. How do you keep saying something like ‘higher interest’ and keep viewers interested? This is one way to do it. The Gujarat Titans players chip in too. The dance moves and soundtrack are a hit with some of the young kids I showed it to.
ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund | Maa Ke Saath Investment Ki Baat
The shock value of this campaign should have ended when the talk veered to ‘investment’ but it surprisingly did not. Aligned with Mother’s Day, this ‘late entry’ project clicks with the mutual fund’s agenda.
upGrad | Skip Excuses, Fast Forward Your Career
Simple, straightforward but the films still manage to retain the quirk with the execution. The brevity helps drive home the message before the viewer than think about exit mode.
Too Yumm | No Palm Oil | Namkeen Ke Shaukeen
Filmy fizz, Varun Dhawan, deliver. ‘No palm oil’ registers while offering a cocktail of Bollywood slices, replete with the director, crew and a lot of action.
DBS Bank | Fixed Deposit | Always On Your Mind
Music. Restaurant. A team meet discussing soccer strategy. All that everyone can think of is the bank and the interest it offers. Repetition helps reinforce the message. It helps that the spots are over in a jiffy.
VLCC SPF 60 Sun Defence | #DhoopKyaRokegi
It’s nice to see the choice of an athlete to endorse the sun defence cream, rather than a typical model or “perfect” star. It also perhaps reflects on the audience the brand wants to address – not just sports stars but those who have to brave the sun everyday.
ZEE | #MyFirstStoryteller
Wonderful use of babies to spell out a simple message. Moms are the first storytellers and that description of them suits a broadcast / entertainment network beautifully.
MTR | #SecretIngredient
I am not a fan of the social experiment format but when it is used to spotlight a human truth, why not? It also got me thinking. Would kids that young be actually able to spot their respective moms’ cooking? Hell, yes. Moms do add love to the dish as the brand says, but each person who cooks certainly brings about a certain flavour. Endearing truth.
Equitas SFB | Circle of Life: Revathi
One more true story of transformation enabled by the brand. When a brand is actually changing lives on the ground, it deserves to be celebrated.
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