REVIEWER: JUHI CHATURVEDI
The first television commercial (TVC) Juhi Chaturvedi made was for the soft drink brand Sprite. “Do Jhaadi Ke Peeche (Go Behind the Bushes)” spoofed rival beverage Mountain Dew. Chaturvedi, executive creative director at Bates India, made her debut as a movie scriptwriter this year with the sleeper hit Vicky Donor and has worked on brands such as Tata AIA Life, Titan, Cadbury, Stayfree and KFC during her 15 years in advertising.
The new TVC created for The Hindu newspaper by Ogilvy & Mather is woven around the theme of the people running the country setting a bad example for the young. The ad depicts a professor initiating a classroom debate on a rural development Bill, dividing the students into two groups. Just as a student begins to speak, the others start attacking each other with notebooks and chairs. The ad ends with the tag line: “Behave Yourself, India. The Youth Are Watching.”
Since the last ‘Hindu’ ad was a reaction to ‘The Times of India’ (‘ToI’) ad, would it have been difficult to come up with something equally strong?
Making an ad for The Hindu which has as much impact as its printed articles do on its readers must have definitely been tough. But I don’t think the agency or the client have made this ad to outdo their previous ones. It’s simply done to demonstrate what the brand Hindu stands for, to depict a reality in a strong and impactful manner. While the last campaign took a stance against tabloid-styled newspaper writing, this time the task they took up was much stronger.
Has the “students in a classroom” scenario been used too often since the famous Airtel ad?
The classroom scenario is being used too often since the famous Dabur Lal Dant Manjan’s “Raju, tumhare daant to motiyon jaise chamak rahe hain (Raju, your teeth are sparkling)” ad. The point is that it really doesn’t matter. If the story needs it, that’s fine. The message at the end is what really matters. Of course, young people hang out in canteens and clubs too and not just in the classrooms, but for this kind of an ad, the classroom setting is perfect.
Your first thoughts on the ad?
I thought the ad was absolutely brilliant. It’s so honest in what it’s saying. The performances, the way it’s treated in black and white.... There are such wonderful subtle nuances and the use of Vaishnava Jana To really gives me the goose bumps. We have had Gandhi in our country. When will there be another one like him… I wonder about that every time I see this ad.
Does the ad cross the line on how far you can go to mock the Indian constituency/government?
Disagreeing with the government or having a point of view on it, how does that make anyone less Indian? I would say go as far as possible if you have to depict the truth, and this ad does it brilliantly. Today, if your child says he/she wants to become a politician, parents will make sure to talk them out of it. Who are they going to emulate? Who are they going to follow? Which leader in today’s times can be a role model for my child? Do we have these answers? I repeat, where is or who is today’s Bapu?
Maybe it’s time to cross the line; maybe on the other side of that line we will find the kind of leaders for whom an entire nation’s youth is waiting. We’ve heard of path-breaking advertising doing good for brands, maybe this “line-crossing” advertising will do great for the country.
What are the challenges a media company faces in making its TVCs?
Both the agency and the client need to work as a team. The challenge is when the trust is missing and you have to make 10,000 changes. I am not saying that’s the case every time. Sometimes, the deadlines are so short and unrealistic that it’s physically impossible to produce a great TVC. Directors aren’t sitting free to do our ads. When such situations happen, you have to go ahead with whatever works within that time frame and yes, it does show up in the end result.
What would you have done differently?
Nothing can be better than what has been done in this ad. It’s perfect as is. I wish I was part of the team that made this great ad.
Are there limitations in making an ad for a newspaper?
A newspaper is the only written document, only proof of our society on a daily basis. It’s not an easy category to work on. Also, people have strong relationships with their newspapers and each one thinks he is reading the best one and for the right reasons. So yes, it’s a bit challenging to make ads for a newspaper that pleases the sentiments of its readers.
Any ad in the same category that you like?
The Lead India campaign done by ToI was great.