Raksha Bandhan: Ad man Piyush Pandey’s favourite sibling ads

Ad man Piyush Pandey recounts his earliest memories of Raksha Bandhan and how ‘thoroughly spoilt’ he was as a child, having been the first son to be born after seven sisters


Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

Mumbai: For ad man Piyush Pandey, the earliest memory of Raksha Bandhan, the festival which celebrates the bond between a brother and sister, is when he was perhaps one or two years old in his home town Jaipur.

“I was the first son after seven daughters (one of them being actor and singer, Ila Arun) so I was thoroughly spoilt,” laughs Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather.

His younger brother, filmmaker, Prasoon Pandey, was born a few years later.

As a one-year old, Pandey needed both his arms to accommodate the rakhis his sisters tied. “I had them right up to my shoulder on one arm! They had to move over to the other arm to accommodate them all,” he said, adding, that for many years, his mother would give him crisp Rs.2 notes to hand out to them all. The festival continues to hold a special significance for the Pandey family, which makes it a point to get together on Raksha Bandhan each year. In honour of the festival, which will be celebrated on Thursday, he picks five ads that celebrate the bond between siblings.

SBI Life Insurance : No matter how old you get, your younger siblings will continue to be the ‘little ones’ for you. And an advertisement that beautifully captured that relationship, was the one created by Ogilvy & Mather for SBI Life Insurance. The ad opens in a train, where two old women, sisters in fact, are narrating their reason for the trip to a fellow passenger. They are on their way to meet Chotu, their younger brother. The ladies are mighty pleased that they have found his favourite ladoos, too. When they reach and press the doorbell, Chotu, a tottering old man, opens the door to find a surprise box of ladoos with a lit candle on it. The sisters waddle out of their hiding place, singing happy birthday for their not-so-baby brother. “The beauty is in the thought that no matter how old you get, you will be a baby for your older siblings. That, it will always be, as it was in your childhood,” said Pandey.

Amazon India : The latest ad for e-commerce giant Amazon India tugs at the heart with its commercial for Raksha Bandhan. “The film beautifully captures the sentiment that nothing, not even the gifts they (Amazon.in) deliver, can be a substitute for love. In today’s day and age, technology can help you keep in touch with people. But the joy of meeting someone you love is unmatchable,” Pandey said. The film shows an aged father hurrying around the house trying to pack his belongings. His middle-aged son watches him as he struggles to remember everything he needs for the trip—medicines, tickets et al. However, he doesn’t really approve of his father’s plan to go visiting his sister for Raksha Bandhan, given his frail health, and instead offers him the option of sending her a gift through the Amazon app. The father looks up momentarily to explain that while the gift will reach his sister in good time, he will miss seeing her smile. For that, he must go himself. The ad ends with the thought that while Amazon can deliver gifts to your loved ones this festive season, only you can deliver the love.

Surf Excel : One of the earlier ads from the Daag Ache Hai (stains are good) campaign by Lowe India, captured the beautiful relationship between a brother and sister. “It’s a lovely ad which showcases how even when you are little, as an older child you naturally feel protective towards your younger brother or sister. The sweetness of this relationship is brought out beautifully,” said Pandey. The ad shows two children, siblings, walking back from school when the little sister trips and lands in a puddle. She’s about to burst into tears when the older brother decides to humour her. He pulls up his sleeves and pounds away at the puddle with his fists because it dared to hurt his sister. Covered in muck, he looks up, smiles and says “Sorry bola” (the puddle is apologising). The sister, stunned by the histrionics at first, breaks into a smile. They walk home together and the ad ends with the tagline—Surf Excel: Daag Achche Hain.

Idea Cellular : A young female motorist, stops on the road to ask a policeman for directions. It’s Raksha Bandhan and she notices that his wrist is empty. She asks him why he hasn’t got any rakhis on his hand, to which he replies that he’s on duty and hasn’t found the time. She pulls out a rakhi and ties it on his hand to thank him for the dedication with which he works to ensure everyone’s safety. Overwhelmed, the policeman checks his pockets but is apologetic that he has nothing to offer her as a present. She brushes it off, but he insists on handing her his mobile number so she can reach him should she ever need to. The ad ends with the message that having a bond between the public and the police is a good idea. “There are so many people who forego their holiday and time with their families, to ensure that we are secure. This ad makes us sensitive to that sacrifice,” said Pandey.

Cadbury 2015 : While the festival celebrates the love and bond between a brother and sister, this ad breaks the notion that women need men to protect them. “I also picked this because it shows how the relationship between brothers and sisters has evolved over the years. Today they are friends, and they are equals. Even today, my sisters will tease me and say ‘have you increased our allowance (on Rakhi) or no? Inflation is high!’” Pandey said with a laugh. The ad opens with two siblings bickering. Refusing to address her directly, the brother asks his parents to tell his sister to at least tie the rakhi with love, as it was with this promise that he would protect her. The sister cuts him off to tell him that she can take care of herself. “Why do you tie a rakhi then?” asks the exasperated brother, the sister smiles briefly and points to the box of Cadbury chocolate, that he saves up each year for. She laughs as she opens the box, and fends off his attempt to get some chocolates. “I know how to take care of my chocolate as well,” she said.

READ MORE