Reviewer: Prathap Suthan
With around 20 years experience in the advertising industry, Prathap Suthan, national creative director, Cheil Worldwide, is best known for his India Shining ads. Suthan has worked with brands such as Reliance Industries and General Motors.
The campaign for Pan Vilas, has Bollywood actor Manoj Bajpai playing the part of a nawab. The ad emphasizes the fact that Pan Vilas is the choice of people like him who like to indulge in the good things in life.
What did you think of the ad?
I really like the campaign. Nice and easy, and a plot waiting to be taken. Though, for a moment it took me to a paint film based on a similar gentleman and a dusty white palace. But I suppose that’s just my overdosed advertising mind. The world of the nawab is a great area. Lots of assurance, easy nobility, old world charm and a natural credibility. The product certainly isn’t a force fit. The casting and other details are in sync with the nawab’s lifestyle. Including the moustache and his obsequious retinue. His kooky world offers an entirely new brand world. The beauty lies in his fancies—shauq. An open palette to create lots of quirky stories. What a jealous opportunity!
The good thing is that it doesn’t overtly tell me that it’s a new brand. It’s been planned to make it look as though it’s been around. I think that’s a great trick. I also like the fact that the blue colour takes me to Pan Parag—blue being a default category colour. While it’s far from Pan Parag’s slapstick world, humour is very much there, but contemporary.
Does Manoj Bajpai fit the bill as brand endorser?
I doubt if anyone else could have pulled it off better. I think he has done a fabulous job with the character. What’s also right about him is that he doesn’t bring in any conflicting upper-class baggage. Most of his cinema avatars have been earthy, and that works efficiently to build the nawab. It’s very believable that this eccentric man could be a paan consumer. Perfect fit. Any other rich man set-up, and there would have been serious issues. In fact, this restrained yet shauq-filled nawab can propel the brand up the SEC (socioeconomic class) ladder.
With an increasing focus on healthy foods, what challenge does a brand like Pan Vilas face?
The marketplace will be tough to battle. Anything to do with switching addictive brands needs diamond-tipped efforts. People with addictive habits are extremely protective about their personal brands. Replacing anything that has been long consumed is one gigantic task. I am not sure if any habit brand will face new health challenges. The “bad unhealthy side” is already known, and no brand can come in flashing that life is going to get healthier. I mean everyone knows guns kill. No arms brand can deliver life, can they?
As told to Gouri Shah.