Arvind Sharma is the chairman and chief executive officer (Indian subcontinent) at Leo Burnett, the agency that believes “big ideas come out of big pencils”. He has been in advertising for almost three decades and continues to live by the philosophy: “Advertising is still the most fun one can have with one’s clothes on.”
Too Western: Arvind Sharma.
The new television commercial for fashion accessories maker Fastrack’s Blame campaign by Lowe Lintas India features a young girl who wakes up in a boys’ hostel. The campaign captures her storming out of the hostel in a mischievous manner. The tag line: Wanna Move On? Blame Fastrack.
Your first thoughts on the ad.
My immediate reaction was more positive as compared to the previous Move On campaign. Unlike the previous campaign, this ad manages to tap into a cultural truth, which is that the young today prefer not to dwell too much on their actions and quickly move on to new things. Regret is not part of their vocabulary. However, it is not always easy for them to live by this philosophy because they are under constant moral scrutiny. By offering to take the blame for their actions and giving them their desired space, Fastrack attempts to create a purpose for its existence which was missing earlier. It does try something refreshing but falls short of exploiting the full potential of the premise.
What could have been done differently?
While the protagonist in the ad is admirable, the audience would probably find it difficult to relate to her or the situation since both are still too Western in their depiction. I would have liked to see the same concept played out in a more real context because that is when the brand will become truly relevant to its audience. Also, while Fastrack seems to be offering to take the blame, it is not really clear as to how it actually does so.
Falls short: The ad fails to exploit the full potential of the premise.
Any past commercial of Fastrack you’ve liked?
From a pure execution standpoint, the His Story and Her Story campaign broke the clutter. The idea of the same story being told from the point of view of the boy and the girl was a good one.
Is it a fun category to work in?
Without a doubt, it is an exciting category to be in. We are a young nation with constantly evolving tastes in fashion. There is a need to constantly innovate in order for a brand in this category to stay relevant in the minds of such a dynamic, demanding audience.
Any international ad in the same category that you’ve liked?
The Puma Here’s to the After Hours Athlete is one campaign that stands out. It latched on to a powerful cultural fuel in the market which resonated across the target audience. It is crucial for brands to understand the cultural environment in which they function because it is only then that truly powerful insights emerge and put the brand on the right track.