Rosy hues in bleak times

Rosy hues in bleak times
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First Published: Sun, Nov 23 2008. 11 30 PM IST

Updated: Sun, Nov 23 2008. 11 30 PM IST
The Coca-Cola ad takes the top slot in the Mint-Synovate-TVAdIndx survey in October as the best on-air advertisement. The runner-up position goes to the Vodafone ad, with the third place being taken by the Maggi noodles commercial.
That, however, does not stop our expert Santosh Desai from describing the Coca-Cola ad created by McCann Erickson as a “hare-brained Mowgli-meets-Diwali effort”.
Unlike other months, no single product category dominates the Top 15 list in our survey, which gathers the voices of 750 randomly chosen consumers across the metros of New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
From Coca-Cola to the IDBI Bank ad at No. 15, the ads project a dream-like world in these challenging times. They do it so well that you tend to believe them. Isn’t that the ultimate objective of advertising—making customers believe that their happiness rests in the product?
Also See: Top Television Ads in October (Chart)
Union Bank of India (at No. 4, with the highest brand recall at 93%) and Max New York Life (at No. 10) are the only two TV commercials which at least allude to the nitty-gritty of making dreams come true—perhaps due to the category they belong to.
Regulars Vodafone and Airtel are again among the Top 15. Continuing with its pug series, Vodafone takes the No. 2 and No. 14 slots. The Airtel ad, at No. 5 this time, espouses a different cause—the Delhi Half Marathon. However, it is somewhat similar to an earlier Hutch ad, says Desai. The second Airtel commercial, at No. 9, breaks new ground in more ways than one as the company launches its digital TV service. As Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World, asks, “How does one announce the late arrival of a 1,000lbs (454.5kg) guerrilla in a new category to make the entire diverse C&S (cable and satellite) country… sit up and take notice?” By bringing every one of its brand ambassadors together to speak for the brand and yet ensure that the celebrities do not overtake the brand.
That brings us to another endless debate—the use or overuse of celebrities. Except for the Chevrolet and Airtel Digital TV ads, none of the other Top 15 ads use celebrities. In a month full of satisfying, substantial work, as Desai describes it, only two needed the magic wand of our celebrities.
With general elections not too far off and several states in poll mode, Tata Tea continues with its attempt to blend a social message with its tea. The TV spot (at No. 6 in our survey) exhorts voters to wake up and exercise their vote—though Desai finds the protagonist a little too annoying.
The Chevrolet ad featuring Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan at No. 8 had the second highest recall at 92%. This TV spot also scored on the likeability and enjoyment index, at 96% and 94%, respectively, scores it shared with the Vodafone ad, which was No.2 on our list.
One commercial that missed the Top 15 rankings by a whisker was Asian Paints. “It is extraordinarily difficult for advertising to speak the truth and this one does so with such gentle grace,” says Desai about the commercial. How often does that happen?
Vodafone Customer Care
Ogilvy and Mather
This is one in a series of ads about a young girl and her pug. In this ad, the location is outdoors. There are a series of tents and the girl is sleeping in one of them. The pug is standing guard outside and keeps checking on the girl from time to time. The tag line: Happy to help, 24 hours.
Maggi 2-Minute noodles
Publicis India
A little boy in a swimming pool hears slurping sounds (“sudup sadap”). He runs to the house from where the sound is emanating and is soon joined by other kids drawn by the same sound. It turns out that Maggi has been cooked. The tag line: ‘Bhookh ki awaaz’ (The call of hunger).
Union Bank of India
Mudra Communications
A boy consoles his younger sister when she loses a tooth. He asks her to bury it, saying that a golden tooth will grow from it. She starts collecting broken teeth so that he can buy a racing car. The tag line: ‘Kyonki aapke sapne sirf aapke nahin’ (Because your dreams aren’t yours alone).
Airtel/Sponsor
Rediffusion Y&R
This ad was made in the run-up to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. It shows children leaving whatever they are doing to take part in the run. They are joined by more children and soon there is a huge congregation. The voice-over: ‘Aao daudein’ (Come, let’s run).
Tata Tea—Jaago Re
Lowe Worldwide
A man asks people waiting to get into a cinema hall why they are sleeping, and offers them tea. They get irritated, finding the question strange. The man tells them what he means—they are sleeping if they don’t exercise their right to vote on election day. Voice-over: ‘Jaago re’ (Wake up).
Britannia Cream Treat
McCann Erickson
An assortment of people are shown enjoying Britannia products: a man dunking a biscuit in his friend’s teacup, a grandmother distributing Britannia cake slices, a little boy helping himself to cream biscuits. The tag line: ‘Zindagi ki zubaan par ek tukda life’ (A piece of life).
Chevrolet Aveo U-VA Car/UVA
McCann Erickson
Football players on their way to a match are stranded. Actor Saif Ali Khan offers them a lift. The captain gloats, saying the local team will be in trouble. Khan just smiles. At the games venue, things become clear. Khan is part of the local team. The tag line: ‘Bada dil, badi car’ (Big heart, big car).
Airtel Digital TV
JWT
Rahul, just a regular guy, gets a rousing welcome at the airport. A host of celebrities, from R. Madhavan, Vidya Balan, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan to Kareena Kapoor, A.R. Rahman and Saif Ali Khan, escort him and welcome him to his home. The tag line: Come home to the magic.
Max New York Unit Linked Child Plan
Euro RSCG
A couple is ecstatic on hearing the first words from their baby: daddy, mamma and banana. The father, now ambitious, prods the child to say “Czechoslovakia”. Eventually, the child utters something that sounds similar to the proud father. Voice-over: ‘Karo zyaada ka iraada’ (Plan for more).
Cadbury Dairy Milk Shots
Ogilvy and Mather
It’s raining and a girl seeks shelter at a young man’s house. The man, both nervous and excited, pops a?Cadbury?Dairy?Milk?Shot. He has just one room, she says it’ll do. The tag line: ‘Chocolate aur dhoodh ke laddu’ (Laddus made of chocolate and milk).
Sony Ericsson AM/FM Radio Phone
Saatchi and Saatchi Advertising
A girl boards a trains, only to find her boyfriend is missing. He’s in another compartment. He plays a song (‘Jaane jaan dhoondta phir raha...’) on his cellphone at full volume. The girl hears it and the two are reunited. The tag line: I love my music loud.
LG/Reliance
K9
A boy on his way to buy his first mobile phone is wished all the best by various people—from children in a school bus to an elderly couple on a bicycle. In the shop, he is handed a Reliance LG 3000 mobile. The tag line: All the best for the first mobile.
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First Published: Sun, Nov 23 2008. 11 30 PM IST