On the Spot | Lavish production doesn’t mean quality

On the Spot | Lavish production doesn’t mean quality
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First Published: Mon, Dec 29 2008. 10 07 PM IST

Updated: Mon, Dec 29 2008. 10 07 PM IST
The year was dominated by one category: telecom. Of the six names I have arrived at after going over the crop of commercials, four come from this category. Of course, the fact that this category produces commercials by the quintal might have something to do with it.
On the other hand, overzealous and profuse production may not always translate into quality. One only has only to look as far as LG and Hyundai and the entire auto industry to confirm that suspicion. Here is the list of the top advertisers of 2008 in no particular order:
ITC Foods for Bingo
Now, zaniness is no longer a new idea given that all confectionery advertising is
single-mindedly so. But here, we have an inspired version of absurdity executed with authentic twistedness. And while not all ads work, there is still enough freshness here than in a year’s supply of Minto Fresh. Since we are talking about advertisers here, one must point out that ITC in its FMCG avatar creates advertising that is stultifyingly pointless. Looking forward to a dose of Fiama Di Bingo next year.
Motorola
Creating youth brands can be a bummer. Either you have a bunch of
hyperventilating cool people doing cool things or you give your brands “loads of attitude” which usually means that you have people with bad haircuts wear their jeans low. Motorola does neither and in doing so has created a believable language for the young. This is a technology brand with a flesh-and-blood connect to its consumers, at least as far as the advertising goes.
Idea
The wake-up year for a brand that was drifting along aimlessly. A completely
new landscape for the brand with an audaciously large canvas. I have my quibbles about executional details and an air of condescension that is beginning to creep into the campaign but, on the whole, this is a campaign that has completely made Idea a credible brand for the first time.
Airtel
After years of grandiose and largely empty posturing, 2008 marked a turning
point for this brand as it found its voice. The R. Madhavan- Vidya Balan commercials kicked off this new-found intimacy of expression that the brand lacked. The year has continued well, the DTH multi-starrer notwithstanding.
Vodafone
Another truly exceptional year for the brand that knows itself really well, no
matter what it is called. A string of chiselled masterpieces, all determined to do very little. The pug is back which is good news as is Irrfan Khan, which is not.
i-pill
Perhaps my favourite of the lot. Advertising is truly powerful not when it tells
engaging stories but when it solves complex problems. Here is a nuanced solution to a sensitive problem. The execution is honest to itself and the acting consistently top-notch. Grown-up advertising for grown-ups.
There have been turkeys of course, but this is not the time to dwell on those. Here’s hoping 2009 wakes up a few more categories.
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First Published: Mon, Dec 29 2008. 10 07 PM IST
More Topics: ITC Foods | Motorola | Idea | Airtel | Vodafone |