Brands that cut through: Uber, UpGrad, Dream11, Flite, Amazon, Snuggy. Ghadi, Swiggy, Star Sports, Livspace, Classmate, InsuranceDekho, Dell, Jar, Cleartrip, UpStox, Ageas General, Gujarat Titans, Tata Power, Seagrams, Colors, Lays, Castrol, CRED, Tropicana, TVS StarCity, My11Circle, Frooti, Manyavar, Spotify, Cadbury, Jaquar, PharmEasy, DisneyPlus Hotstar, Bumble, Mohey, Munch, Dunzo, Vadilal, Boomer, Dabur, Tata Salt, Uni Cards, Wildstone, Maggi, Hyundai, Kotak Mutual Fund, Dixcy Scott.
It’s been a fortnight and the list of campaigns is rather big, thanks in part to the Indian Premier League that kicked off in March. What’s remarkable is the volume of work that stood out, each for its own reason/s. It’s also been pointed out to the reviewer that this column reads more like a justification of why a campaign has been featured rather than a review. I humbly submit: I’m no expert; this is a consumer view of why a campaign cut through.
Uber | Bas Socho Aur Chal Pado
A clear proposition that is driven home with the power of stories, inspired, as the films declare, by ‘real stories of unstoppable Indians’. They are certainly relatable everyday stories and definitely inspiring. These are also engaging stories of everyday heroes with everyone’s challenges where you find yourself rooting for the protagonist. My picks would be the ‘Runaway bride’ and ‘Mom (back) at work’. But all of the films deliver the message loud and clear. While the stories create love for the brand, the crisp message is unfailingly delivered, in a jiffy.
UpGrad | #UpGradAbroad
What an idea. The aged superstar turning into the angry young man, destroying the UpGrad office, is priceless. All because he is angry that the option available to students today (thanks to the brand) wasn’t available to him when he was young. Scripted to delight, created to entertain. With the message intrinsic to the plot.
Dream11 | Dream Big
So very often, a great piece of work dies a silent death after its screen time. It’s the follow-ups that build on the work that show the power in the legs of the idea. This is a lovely follow-up on the brand’s earlier work and deserves to be celebrated even standalone. Partners who make the dream come true is but one iteration. ‘Dream Big’ has more legs left.
Flite Footwear | Holi Khushiyon Ka Tyohar Hai, Zabardasti Ka Nahin
Flite hit the right notes when it coined ‘Sar Utha, Kadam Badha’. This Holi, the brand scored a winner that points to an uncomfortable truth that shrouds the revelry. Full marks to the brand for shining the torch on the ugly side of the festival. A real issue that many will relate to, but not many speak up about. While addressing the issue, the spot still manages to leave you with a positive vibe. On issue, on brand.
Snuggy Gold | Neela Matlab Geela
Who would have thought this is an ad for a diaper. The approach is way different for the category and refreshing. The brand’s agenda was to hook you with something spectacular and reel you in, and it succeeds spectacularly. The message ‘Neela matlab geela’ sinks in strongly.
Ghadi Detergent | #SareMaelDhoDaalo
You get a familiar feeling when you see this warm and fuzzy festive film, but the warmth overpowers the familiarity just as the grand old lady enforces a truce.
Swiggy Instamart | Grocery Delivery Fast-Fast
Swiggy will go down as a brand that moved the needle time and again with its communication. This set inspired by yesteryear oriental martial arts movies represents another tangent. What is admirable about the brand is its fearless approach to new approaches despite a more than successful campaign path.
Star Sports | Dhamake | #YeAbNormalHai
#YeAbNormalHai finds a new ‘Dhamakedaar’ fit in these films. The bomb squad plot and using the coloured wires to represent the teams works well. The cricketers add the needed attraction. The message of not underestimating the new teams, or those that haven’t fired yet, is unmissable. The ‘New Normal’ plank gets another layer.
Livspace | Unable To Cable | Love The Way You Live
Great use of the celebrity couple. Kohli as the Sikh looks and acts the part, competing with his better half in the acting department. The plot is straight out of the average living room. Perhaps just a little exaggerated with the use of the hair clip, perhaps not. But the problem of cluttered wiring is universal. The celebs and the hair clip helps draw attention to it. The solution follows.
Classmate | Enjoy Learning
Winsome stories of kids wowing their parents with stuff they’ve learnt, with the notebooks playing enablers. ‘Enjoy learning’ hits home with these home stories.
Insurance Dekho | Sukoon | Bharosa Kar Ke Dekho
Is it just me or is it surprising to see Farhan Akhtar befittingly portray the middle class office-goer so naturally? ‘Sukoon’ is a warm embrace of simple, everyday joys of home and loved ones. The soundtrack, the writing, the performances blend together to make the message stay.
Swiggy | #AapKiskeSaathDekhoge
Swiggy and cricket seem made for each other. This IPL season, the brand scores again, with a motley mix of characters pitching Swiggy and Instamart. The work is bonded by the glue of cricket and togetherness, under #AapKiskeSaathDekhoge.
Dell | Changing The Way We Learn
Schooling has changed forever with the infusion of screens in the pandemic and some part of it is likely to stay. The PC maker looks to take the lead here with an energetic celebration of the new way of learning. Boosted by a vibrant soundtrack and sprightly kids, this is a colourful ode the target group will groove to.
Jar App | Bachao Jar App Pe
One may not remember the rest of the movie but some scenes are unforgettable. This is a recreation of one such hilarious scene with telling impact, thanks to the original star and the making. The message of ‘savings’ dovetails nicely with the plot.
Cleartrip | They Missed It, You Shouldn’t
Here’s some nice use of celebrities, letting them play who they are and weaving them into the context. The problem with letting celebs play who they are here, though, could be that the context is discounts on hotels and air travel. Nevertheless, the films work well to establish the sale.
UpStox | #OwnYourFuture | Make Companies Work For You
‘Make companies / CEOs work for you’ is a smart and original take from the stock trading app. Staying a tad irreverent helps the brand stand out in the category. Keeping it light helps in engagement.
Ageas Federal Life Insurance | #FutureFearless
A lot of effort must have gone into making the young Sachin come to life. Tech is used to drive home the ‘Future Fearless’ thought. And the thought is aligned with the category.
Dream11 | Aap Dream11 Khelo | #YeMainKarLetaHoon (2022)
So #YeMainKarLetaHoon was not a one-season-wonder. The makers manage to infuse some fresh air with the same campaign line and its interesting new manifestations.
Gujarat Titans | Aava De
One was expecting another music video anthem but this is no less. In fact, ‘Aava de’ has a nice ring to it coming with the narration. Checked with some friends who speak the language for what they thought of the spot. The feedback was that the understated tone reflects Gujarat’s, even when the attitude says, ‘Bring it on’.
Tata Power | Solaroof
Ab Aapka Ghar Kamayega
Aapka profit partner
Are we on the cusp of a solar wave? The films certainly seem to suggest a major shift to solar roofs in the offing. This is the most compelling way to induce people to shift to solar energy.
Aside: While a Japanese airline was urging people to relieve themselves before the flight to reduce weight and hence carbon footprint, Ryan Air’s CEO suggested charging people to use restrooms on flights. Which had a better chance of working?
Seagram’s Imperial Blue & Colors TV l Happy Holi
‘Men will be men’ takes on an arguably family-friendly avatar this Holi, thanks to Colors TV and Seagram’s Imperial Blue.
Frito Lay’s India | #TooHotToStop
Get a good actor and you can pull off the unthinkably ridiculous. This bit of exaggeration is helmed and helped by Ranbir Kapoor. ‘So spicy it makes you cry’ is set up smartly in a post wedding plot.
Castrol Magnatec | Non-Stop Protection Dance
Proof again that exaggeration works when done right. Especially with humour. The work helps shake drivers out of their slumber and spare a thought for their car engine.
CRED | CREDbounty
Karisma Kapoor in white at the store reminds one of the yesteryear detergent commercials for sure. The film doesn’t seem to have the impact of the brand’s earlier work involving celebrities. Is the ‘charged’ connect a bit tenuous? That said, it doesn stand out and it will get noticed.
Tropicana | Goodness Jo Dikhti Hai
Tropicana seems to be turning towards a more youthful stance, more in sync with ‘cool’ soft drinks. Perhaps that’s where the new bottle came from too, to target a younger crows. Transparency translates into ‘Goodness jo dikhtha hai’.
TVS StarCity Plus | #StarWaaliBaat
Up until the ‘floodlight’ pitch, this one was a complete winner. Reeling out product attribute after product attribute elaborately perhaps pulls this down. Having said that, the beginning is good enough to keep one hooked.
My11Circle | India’s Biggest First Prize
‘Larger than life’, literally, is the idea here. Or actually, gigantic. It aligns well with the pitch: India’s largest first prize. Makes one wonder what the prize is.
Manyavar | #TaiyaarHokarAaiye (2022)
Short spots, all of which have Sr. Bachchan speaking to the audience in wonderful Manyavar outfits. But what makes them stick is that each of them is a nice slice from a wedding-goer’s mind. From garnering social media likes to being suspected of being gate-crashers, they are slices worth hearing.
Frooti | Frooti Together
The spot rides on fantastic visualisation and production, and of course the celebrity endorser’s narration, to tell ‘the story of Frooti’. While the ‘together’ message is spelt out, what comes through organically is that the drink has the goodness of mango.
Spotify | Mazza On
The brand manages to use a range of superhit songs with great effect, helping the ears tune in instantly and keeping one glued. In this set, it demonstrates with humour and music how the app can successfully provide an escape from the most unbearable of situations ranging from TV news debates to traffic snarls.
Cadbury Dairy Milk | Unacknowledged Superstars
A great initiative from the brand that follows in the ‘Thank you’ series. From films that urged us to thank watchmen, milkmen, domestic help and drivers, among others, the brand is getting into action with this initiative. We can be sure there’s more.
Jaquar Lighting | Bath + Light
The brand takes its problem, places it in the centre where the audience can see it clearly, makes a few jokes about it, and then shatters it with the solution. The legacy bath fittings brand is getting into lights. And it makes a bold entry into the new space with this film.
PharmEasy | Take It Easy
Bankable and versatile would be an understatement for this Khan. Here there’s three of him doing the ‘Take it easy’ dance to underline the brand’s stance. The brand retains what has worked well for it and adds energy with the star. It keeps getting better. Just one thing though. The ‘Kharachnatyam’ protagonist was possibly more of a natural dancer than Khan.
DisneyPlus Hotstar | #ThodaRukShahRukh
So DisneyPlus Hotstar continues to take us on this SRK+ trip. Even if one is certain that this is a ride, it is still a joyride.
Bumble | You’ve Got This
What if this was the best move of your life? The video urges the young to overcome the butterflies and make the first move, with some song and dance. Not the best Bumble work we have seen, but still stands up to be counted.
Mohey | Naye Rishtey, Wahi Confidence | #DulhanWaliFeeling
The last time the brand tried to send a message taking on ‘Kanya Daan’, the expected angst was evident on social media. This time though, it has steered clear of controversy even as it makes an important point, using the same star. From dating sites to matrimony to jewellery to bridal wear, the tilt towards equality is unmissable. Now the challenge is to get it right and stand out. Mohey does.
Munch | Thalam | #ConfidenceKaCrunch
What’s with boat races? From diapers to chocolates, it seems to have found favour this season. This film starring Samantha Ruth Prabhu packs the punch needed to get noticed.
Dunzo Daily | #RIPFridge
Enter Dunzo. RIP Fridge. A simple and clever idea, executed well.
Vadilal | Natural Gulab Jamun | Har Dil Bole Vadilal
There could be no better person playing this role than ‘Gulab Jamun Uncle’. The brand gets him on board and that’s half the job done. They still needed to get the other half done and manage to, quite well too.
Boomer | The Biggest Bubble
‘The biggest bubble’ gets a larger than life interpretation and casts its spell on the world. It should also manage to impress the audience.
Star Sports | #IPL2022 | Super Shaam | #YehAbNormalHai
The film seeks to portray and add to the excitement ahead of the first match of the IPL this year. It does that, while also making one smile with some well done humour.
Dabur Vita | Taste Mast, Immunity Zabardast
Sonu Sood does a brand endorsement that aligns with his fit physique. And the brand takes a dig at chocolatey drinks to make its immunity pitch. I wonder how the competition will react.
Tata Salt SuperLite | #NamakBadalnekaSocho
The pain point of ‘less salt’ is real and relevant. That’s underlined here to very good effect before the brand urges people to change the salt instead – to the SuperLite offering. Thoroughly entertaining, rooted in insight.
Uni Cards | #UniSoFlexi
Gimmicky but gets your attention. The play of three instalments comes through, thanks to the idea.
Wild Stone Code | For Those Who Live Fragrances
Connoisseurs of body perfume? That’s new. Takes the conversation and category one level up. It certainly is a pleasant deviation from the tried and tested deodorant communication routes.
MAGGI Masala-ae-Magic | Roz Ka Khana Kamaal Bane
Why should only guests and special occasions deserve tasty food? A homemaker makes the everyday food for her loved ones special in a jiffy here, thanks to the magic of Maggi masala. A brilliantly packaged idea that makes the case for using the product everyday.
Hyundai | India’s No. 1 SUV Maker
A reunion is always a great idea. That of a football team from childhood is even better. Besides that, what we have here is great shots of cars taming terrains set to a lovely soundtrack, juxtaposed with the team in action – then and now. Very watchable film that announces at the end that Hyundai is India’s number one SUV.
Kotak Mutual Fund | Balanced Advantage Fund | #GoAutomatic
The catchy jingle puts ‘automatic’ front and centre, time and again. The humorous treatment helps keep the communication light and breezy. Well-shot film delivers the returns.
Dixcy Scott | Body Language Jo Cha Jaaye
The ‘body language expert’ brings to focus the uncomfortable truths of innerwear we live with. Those inconveniences lead to awkward body language, as the films show. Just in time for the great Indian summer.