Reviewer: Emmanuel Upputuru
Emmanuel Upputuru, national creative director for Publicis India, has spent around 12 years in advertising and has worked with brands such as Shell, Dabur, Shriram Honda, Kawasaki, Nokia, Mother Dairy, Gillette, Limca, Sprite, Motorola, Maruti and American Express Bank.
The new ad for Apex Ultima paints from Asian Paints tries to establish the long-lasting property of the product. It shows a magician trying to make a castle disappear. He performs the trick, but the castle still seems to be standing. That’s when he touches a wall, only to realize that while the paint remains, the walls have actually disappeared.
What did you think of the ad?
To be very honest, I didn’t get it in the first place, neither in the second place. It was only a competitive streak (I will get it before you can get it) in me that forced me to crack the idea embedded in the spot—that when the building disappeared, only the paint stays. Wow. There is so much chaos around the magic that the girl who gives the key clue to us, “Hey, it’s just the paint!”, is lost. It’s a demo ad, but when you have to show that “Hey look this is the idea, please get it”, it’s not fun any more. The shot where the magician pokes into the “paint” is too desperate. It looks like a big-budget film. So I am pretty disappointed with it.
What are the challenges of advertising a category that has low consumer involvement?
Actually in a low consumer involvement category you can do great work. Look at the advertising around adhesive brand Fevicol. Because I believe in a low-involvement category, all you have to do is bring about salience. Sounds like a planner’s answer.
No magic here: The ad looks like a big-budget film.
Are there any brands that have done a good job of it?
The best example comes from the Asian Paints stable itself. The Har Ghar Kuch Kehta Hai is a benchmark in many ways. The ad showcases different shots of a family in their home.
What is your favourite ad in this category?
I wish I could say Sony paint. One way to look at the category is paints. The other way is the brief: long lasting. And in the latter a lot of good work has been done: Reynolds “Mole”, where parents use a permanent marker to draw a mole on one of their identical twins to tell them apart; Fevicol’s “Moustache” ad; Camlin’s “Sindoor” ad. And internationally what comes to mind is a spot where an old woman keeps getting calls, because during her college days some guys wrote her name and number on a toilet wall. And Asian Paints also gave us the legendary “Sunil babu” ad. It would never enter any international award book, but it told the story in a simple, endearing and memorable manner.
As told to Gouri Shah.