REVIEWER: SANTOSH PADHI
The chief creative officer and co-founder of Taproot India, Santosh Padhi, started his advertising career 15 years ago with Mudra DDB, Mumbai. After a 10-year stint at Leo Burnett, Mumbai, where he was executive creative director and national head of art (India), he started his creative venture, Taproot. He’s worked on brands such as McDonald’s, Johnnie Walker, Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Fiat India.
The new advertisement for Mahindra Verito by Interface Communications positions the car as a mature buyer’s car. Something that consumers would “Grow Up To”. The ad features actor Jimmy Shergill, who gets out of his car to silence a young, impatient driver’s incessant honking. He looks like he’s going to pick a fight, but cracks a joke to drive the point home.
What did you think of the ad?
It’s a good ad to begin with. Instead of claiming one of the relative product promises, be it space, style, extra legroom or mileage, they stuck to a human insight. To get Jimmy (Shergill) on board is a smart idea. In the initial part he managed to pull it off very well, except the loud laugh to himself. I don’t know if that was needed, the kids’ reaction was more than enough. But these things are very subjective and will differ from person to person. But overall, the way it’s done works. The way it’s shot could have been better. Apart from the big idea, knowingly or unknowingly one has to make the product look good in a very subtle way, especially in a so-called sub-glamorous category.
In a competitive sector such as automobiles, what must brands keep in mind?
I think a brand needs to be more truthful in terms of what they say. Consumers are a lot more mature and have a wide range to choose from these days, especially in a category like this. If you play your cards right, they can become the second leg of your campaign in many ways. If you have a marginally better feature compared with the competition, it’s better not to paint the town red with it, as features are add-ons. Unless they are really, really different, don’t sell the feature, sell the belief to them, as a belief lasts longer than a feature.
What is your favourite ad in this segment?
My all-time favourite is Honda Accord, the one which got a Grand Prix at Cannes a few years back. They dared to show the dead engineering tools in the television commercial, which never looked so nice except to the engineers. They showed almost every part of the car (to talk about their list of features) in a very interesting, engaging and relevant way. They just made the dead tools come alive. Simplicity is the most difficult thing to achieve, in life and in advertising as well. How simple is it? This film is a single-take, with very, very minimal post (production).
As told to Gouri Shah