A masterpiece of cliches

A masterpiece of cliches
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First Published: Tue, Apr 07 2009. 10 19 PM IST

Updated: Tue, Apr 07 2009. 10 19 PM IST
Brand: Sprite
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather India Pvt Ltd
Reviewer: K.S. Chakravarthy, national creative director, Draftfcb+Ulka Advertising Pvt. Ltd.
Spot: The Sprite ad has two guys playing carrom. A pretty girl passes by. One of them gets into his romeo act, trying to get to the girl by befriending her dog. The second guy asks the girl if she would like to play carrom and offers his dog-loving friend’s services for babysitting her dog.
Why I don’t like it: It’s not a bad ad. The premise is simple enough, the storyline consistent with Sprite’s positioning. But the scripting, casting and execution let it down. It is a masterpiece of clichés.
The Sprite guy is a dude. The friend is a crude, simpering buffoon and obviously, overweight, short and an all-round creep. His lines are terrible, his delivery of them worse. The girl is amazingly tolerant of his bordering-on-the-offensive attempts to impress her (hey, we have to complete the story, hero has to appear, Sprite in hand, etc., etc., right?). And when the oh-so-cool friend strolls up, it is an obvious no-brainer for the girl.
How I would have done it: The problem, as I said, is all in the execution. It is no award-winning script but intelligent handling could have made it watchable, even downright funny.
If the roles had been switched—dude loses, plain John friend gets the girl—it would have been a huge leap forward right there. And the funny thing is, this is exactly what the Sprite personality predicates. Even better, avoid the clichéd friend. Just cast an ordinary, everyday non-dude.
Next, make the first guy’s attempts a little more polished, a little more likely to succeed. Give the girl real character with old-fashioned stuff such as motivation, among other things. So here we have a sweet, innocent girl confronted by a smooth-talking, attractive dude and she actually finds herself drawn to him.
Would she swoon? I think not—she would become very wary. And up steps Mr Ordinary and offers her a pleasant, non-threatening way out. Would she grab it? The girl I would have cast would have.
Epilogue. Would she have come by the next day to live dangerously again? Probably. Would the dude finally get her? Maybe. But that would be long after our story got over—and we would have told an engaging, believable, even funny story in line with our brand character.
As told to Gouri Shah.
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First Published: Tue, Apr 07 2009. 10 19 PM IST