REVIEWER: KAUSHIK ROY
Kaushik Roy is the senior creative director at Contract Advertising. He has been in advertising for more than 14 years and was part of the team that launched the INS Think Print Awards. His print and film work has won him laurels at the ABBY Awards (Advertising Club Bombay awards) and AAAIs (Advertising Agencies Association of India awards). He has worked on brands such as ITC, Tata Steel and Live-in Jeans.
The latest Volkswagen (VW) Polo television commercial by DDB Mudra highlights the car’s Bluetooth feature. The ad features a young mother playing a prank on her schoolgoing son in their Polo.
Your first thoughts on the ad?
The good thing about this ad is that it doesn’t look much like an ad. It looks real, as if you are standing next to the car and actually witnessing the story unfold. It also puts a smile on your face at the end, always a sure sign that the penny has dropped pretty well.
Are brands using children in commercials for recall value?
Brands which use children meaningfully touch the viewer more effortlessly. There’s something inherently pure and charming about children in ads, provided the insight rings true, like the VW Darth Vader ad from 2011. So if done well, it ups the recall value, but more importantly, at a deeper psychological level, one tends to trust a brand that uses children more. It’s like saying, the guys who really understand children must be good guys.
Are children an influencing factor in buying cars?
I believe the ad builds on the fact that children are indeed influencers. But it does that in a subtle and clever way. It doesn’t make the child mouth car-praises or the doting mother put the child to sleep in the comfy back seat or use any such time-tested clichés. What the brand does instead is tell a story about a well-bonded family inside a car, which both adults and children can enjoy, and thus remain relevant in all the stakeholders’ minds.
What would you have done differently?
It’s a subjective thing, but I don’t support the idea of putting fear into children’s minds, in jest or otherwise. So I probably wouldn’t have used the “punishment by God” idea.
Do commercials in the automobile category lack innovative ideas?
It’s unfair to single out the automobile category. All one can say is that it would be great to see more ads in every category which don’t look like category advertising just a few seconds into the commercial.
Any memorable ads in the category?
The truly inventive Skoda Fabia cake ad, which shows chefs making the car out of various goodies. The timeless Honda Cog ad and the Volkswagen Safe Happens ads.