Reviewer: Josy Paul
In his own words, Josy Paul is chairman and “chief creative culprit” of BBDO/Proximity India. He has created “acts, not ads” for PepsiCo, Wrigley’s Doublemint and Gillette. His motto is to “think like the navy, deliver like the pirates”.
Old-fashioned values: Josy Paul.
Volkswagen’s “Once in a lifetime offer” TV campaign on the Polo and Vento models by DDB India shows a Parsi man who is finicky about keeping his vehicle, the Polo, clean. It uses the idea of reincarnation to depict that once you have a Polo, you’ll come back for it. In this ad, the Parsi man dies and is reborn just as obsessed with his car.
What do you think of this ad?
Parsis. Passion. Worship. Rebirth. Post-life progression—all these come together in this commercial. It’s the return of the dikra— that affable bawa often accused of being more passionate about his car than his wife. The ad keeps the Parsi gene alive with a watchable mix of intrigue and interest. In a sense, it’s a happy public service ad for the “endangered” community and celebrates good old-fashioned values like the never-ending relationship between a man and his machine.
Car crazy: The ad is a watchable mix of intrigue and interest.
How does Volkswagen fare as a brand and in its positioning?
Volkswagen has done a commendable job of popularizing the VW brand in India in a short time of three years. The brand is seen as tough cars built for Indian roads. The cultural and social context of the brand will take time to establish as it is relatively new.
Are there enough clutter-breaking ads in this category?
There have been many landmark ads in the car category over the last two decades. Starting with Tata Estate (one) in the late 1990s, in which a chauffeur with a very British accent (played by Roshan Seth) suddenly breaks into chaste Hindi. There is the Chevy Optra “Karva Chauth” ad which integrated the Indian ritual fluidly into the product benefit. Then the M800 ad with a playful Sikh child imploring “Papa ki karan, petrol khatam hi nahi hunda (Papa, what should I do, it just does not run out of petrol) ” to Maruti’s recent spot, “Kitna deti hai (How much does it givE?) ”, capturing India’s fixation with mileage.
Any international ad that you absolutely loved?
See the charming commercial for the Volkswagen Passat 2012 referred to as “The Force”. A little boy, about five years old, wanders around the house dressed as mini Darth Vader. He goes from room to room, trying to summon “The Force” against an exercise bike, a baby doll and a washing machine. But “The Force” doesn’t seem to be with him. But when he heads outside to work his magic on his dad’s 2012 Volkswagen Passat, he is shocked that his power finally works as the engine roars to life—little knowing that his father has started the car by remote control from the kitchen.
As told to Anushree Chandran.