REVIEWER: SANTOSH PADHI
Not engaging: Santosh Padhi
Santosh Padhi, chief creative officer and co-founder of Taproot India, 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. Padhi has worked on brands such as McDonald’s, Johnnie Walker, Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Fiat India.
The new campaign for Tata Steel Ltd by Ogilvy and Mather India has been shot in a documentary style and covers the lives of its employees, who talk about how the brand and its values are so integral to their lives. The advertisements end with the tag line: Tata Steel—values stronger than steel.
Do you think the documentary style works for the brand?
One has to do justice to the idea. The idea should dictate the format, and the documentary style is one such format in the film medium. But having said that, formats do play a huge role—they could make or break the idea. Since I don’t really know the purpose of these commercials, I can only comment on the creative part of it and what it did to me when I saw them for the first time. I think they could have been shot a lot better, the writing should have been more engaging. They should have been a bit more aspirational or emotional. What saves these film is the Tata logo in the end, which is not a good thing.
Poor writing : The ads could have been a bit more aspirational.
What must brands keep in mind while using real people and stories?
It is difficult most of the time. The final creative product depends on how well the message is delivered. It is important for an agency to write the script in a way that the content (real stories), and how you shoot it, can take care of the delivery part. It is a different form of direction, and has the power to grab you for minutes.
What is your favourite ad in the business-to-business space?
The Epuron commercial which says “Epuron—the power of wind—let’s put energy to good use”. The film opens with a strange-looking character talking to the camera, admitting that he was largely misunderstood and that people didn’t like him very much, and he didn’t know why. The ad cuts to shots of him harassing people by ruffling their hair, turning umbrellas inside out, throwing sand in children’s eyes, rattling doors and windows of houses, etc. In each case, the victims react in a normal way, as if the man doesn’t exist at all. After about 40 seconds of beautifully shot sequences of him with just ordinary people, we see him meeting an executive, who shakes his hand and gives him an Epuron card—this is followed by the logo and base line. That’s when you realize that the character narrating the incidents is the wind.
As told to Gouri Shah.