On the spot / Santosh Desai, CEO, Future Brands
Desai says there was some very good work in May, albeit largely from one category. Listing his picks of the month, he says, ‘I am leaving out one of my favourites, Fastrack, from the list, since I was involved as a consultant in the thinking.’
Finally, the brand has found its voice
Rediffusion-Dentsu, Young & Rubicam
The first real work from Airtel. This is a brand that has always tried to do ‘big’ work and, in my view, ended up producing lazy, pretentious work that never quite ‘sticks’ to the brand. This is the first campaign where Airtel has come close to finding its voice. The idea of romance being a long silence interrupted by hesitation, the idea of a telephone call being a substitute for a lover’s gaze, the idea of communication as being open rather than about saying anything is all captured effortlessly. The acting is flawless, and the narrative stays within itself. The only crib—this is not an ad that can be repeated so many million times. Use it as you would a delicate, subtle fragrance.
A fabulous asset, a pesky nuisance
Ogilvy and Mather
The triumphant return of the pug. Classic Hutch-turned-Vodafone territory. After a few contrived pug commercials, the brand has rediscovered its deft touch. The shorter versions are more effective; again, this is not a commercial where a million different situations are required. A word of caution, though—the pug looms large as a millstone around the brand’s neck. It is a fabulous asset and a pesky nuisance rolled in one. The brand would be well advised to bring on the canine only once in a while.
Fun, with a touch of humanness
Ogilvy and Mather
A simple story, told really well. What I like about the ‘young’ work that comes from this brand is that it retains a humanness while doing so. Otherwise, for some strange reason, the depiction of youth has an artificial, unnatural feel to it, and fun gets reduced to having hot babes slithering in one’s general direction. Here, the acting is priceless and rings true. This is a brand that is consistently connecting with its audience through its advertising. Pity about the product, though.
‘Just get Irrfan Khan off the air’
The Hyundai commercial, with its faux-Italian pretensions, was too easy; the what-seemed-funny-on-paper-but-insanely-absurd-on-screen Microsoft commercial likening Windows to a dog deserved pity; and the Shoppers Stop ad was pointless. The McDonald’s rocker ad was most annoying but, in spite of despising it with all my heart, regrettably, it does not quite make the cut. So, it comes down to Vodafone. Yes, it is a much better ad than those pointed out. But if you set the standards as high as this brand has, even a minor slip should be avoided. Just get Irrfan Khan off the air. I love the man’s acting, but he just does not work for the brand. He has an ingrained cockiness, a deep, abiding contempt for everyone else that he communicates in every word and gesture. Lose him. Do him a favour, let him focus on winning an Oscar.
It has a very real feel to it
Wish I had made this ad...
Max New York Complete Life Insurance Solutions
Dealing with death has always been a communication challenge for life insurance companies, and when someone steps in and does things differently, it makes for an interesting change.
Rohit Ohri, managing partner, JWT India
I like the ‘lightness of touch’ used in this particular piece of communication to handle the ‘I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about-it’ issue. The ad is a gentle reminder that life hangs by a very thin thread and that we all need a safety net.
Great creative work, brilliantly executed. It has a believable and very real feel to it. The ‘it could happen to me’ factor hits you, bang on! The casting and performance... Just right! This Max ad talks to young adults in a language that connects with them. Its ‘present-continuousness’ is what makes it, in my opinion, very persuasive.
Contrast this with stereotyped grey-haired widows wiping dust off the photographs of their departed husbands as they thank them for their insurance wisdom. An image that immediately creates walls in the minds of customers... I don’t want to think so far ahead now.
The Max ad gently opens customers’ minds to the unpredictable nature of life and the possibility that this could happen... Now.