REVIEWER: TITUS UPPUTURU
With around 15 years experience in the advertising industry, Titus Upputuru, national creative director at Dentsu Marcom, has worked with brands such as KFC, Afghan Telecom and Electrolux.
The new ad for Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) by Leo Burnett India features a man shocked by his colleagues, who frequently accept and demand bribes. He’s itching to report the matter but doesn’t because he’s worried he will lose his job. But a big win on KBC means he can stop worrying about his debts and complain about the corruption without any fear.
What did you think of the ad?
The bit about advertising that fascinates me is when product stories leap out of under-1-minute constraints and make large, beautiful statements about life. That’s probably why people say advertising and brand-speak can influence people and have an impact on popular culture. I remember Benetton’s campaign done by (Oliviero) Toscani, which created a huge controversy because it showed edgy images that bordered on the disturbing, over a decade ago. In that sense, this ad can influence too, albeit positively, because it comes in a time of India waking up to corruption. The casting is correct (the chhota aadmi standing next to Lambuji makes for a great frame), the dialogues are good (the lollipop bit) and the timing (in terms of acting) is apt, and all these factors make for excellent repeat viewing.
Does it help for ‘KBC’ to pick a theme such as corruption?
I like the fact that the film rewards a man who stands his ground by not taking a bribe his entire life. It is also a commendation for those who stand by their values—that, ultimately, there is a reward. If you take the lid off the execution, it does fall into the familiar. This ad redeems itself by staying away from pandering to the greed aspect of the money—the core product of KBC.
How does this compare with last year’s campaign?
I prefer this over the previous commercial. This one makes a larger statement and reinforces the key proposition of KBC as against positioning the show as a mere question-answer session (Koi bhi sawal chhota nahin hota). The new commercial takes us back to the core of KBC, bang on. After all, the show is not as much about gaining knowledge as about gaining money.
What’s your favourite campaign in this category?
In the programming/content category, I like the HBO Voyeur idea. How they got the whole of New York city to assemble in front a large building wall and projected series of videos on it, making it appear as though you were seeing what is going on inside those houses. TV is a bit of voyeurism and the HBO idea brought it alive so amazingly. Another one that has just won the Clio Gold for DirecTV is fantastic—specially?the way it’s shot. Two robots breaking each other’s necks in a house while a man saunters around pausing them each time he walks in and out of the room. What direction! The message: You can pause from any room.
As told to Gouri Shah.