Create a narrative that fits the star

Create a narrative that fits the star
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First Published: Tue, May 06 2008. 10 32 PM IST

Zubin Driver, head, Cell 18
Zubin Driver, head, Cell 18
Updated: Tue, May 06 2008. 10 32 PM IST
Ad Review | Zubin Driver
Head, Cell18, a division of Television Eighteen India Ltd
Zubin Driver, head, Cell 18
Spot:The surrogate ad for Haywards 5000 beer features Bollywood toughies also known as “real men” Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty taking on some gun-wielding bad guys at a bar. Armed only with some really strong Haywards 5000 soda, the duo flatten out the entire gang, and finally celebrate with some really strong beer…er…soda.
Why I don’t like it: The film has no idea. It has two big stars, who are used like cheap stuntmen in the film. My problem with big star advertising is that most of the time people try and get away with havingno idea, just because theyhave a star.
The film is also a mix of a tacky version of the Matrix and a bunch of C-grade action shots. It’s not enough that the plot is corny—Sanjay Dutt and Suniel Shetty take on a gang of guys by popping soda bottles—but the viewer is supposed to be enraptured by this display of absolute insanity and get inspired to drink Haywards 5000. The fact that Haywards 5000 is a strong drink for tough guys gets diluted completely.
How I would have done it: I would look for an idea first. Create a narrative out of the idea that appealed to the target audience. Sanjay Dutt has huge traction with tough guys, as does Suniel Shetty. They need to do things that celebrate their toughness, not things that reduce them to jokers.
Ad: Haywards 5000, Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Take, for example, how Marlboro created the Marlboro man, and thus created a whole category of “tough guys smoke” in cigarette advertising. It would be interesting to create a narrative that suits the star…for instance, an Aamir Khan has an image of being an intellectual, well-rounded actor. Can he be used in a very clever narrative?
A Shah Rukh Khan has an image of a pure entertainer…and one who does not take himself very seriously. Can he be used in parodies, clever comic roles that bring to the table his image, his strengths as an actor? Sanjay Dutt stands for someone who speaks “dil se” (from the heart), and his notion of strength is actually a “strength of heart”.
Can a narrative emerge from there?
As told to Gouri Shah
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First Published: Tue, May 06 2008. 10 32 PM IST