Mumbai: There’s a new wave of advertising sweeping over Indian channels, only it’s not really new-new.
Click here to see a slideshow of images from old ads that are making a reappearance on TV
In fact, it’s old: Thus, there’s 1990s pin-up girl Lisa Ray swirling in swathes of vivid floral patterns in the original iconic ad for Garden sarees, and there’s funny man Javed Jaffrey and side-kick Rakesh Bedi riding back on a rickety old scooter with their “It’s different!” campaign for Nestle India Ltd’s Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce.
There’s more to this reuse of old ads than just the effort to tap nostalgia, say experts.
Tapping nostalgia: Brands such as Garden and Bajaj Electricals are airing their old ads.
“It is less about nostalgia and more about juicing value out of what you still consider is a strong meaningful property in difficult times,” says Anand Halve, co-founder of Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Garden and Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce, for instance, are also likely to launch new campaigns soon. Hence the use of an old favourite in the run-up to these launches makes sense. “We have used the TV film medium rather sparingly in the past few years, due to the large number of channels resulting in fragmented viewership. Hopefully, our decision to use the TV medium for this festival season will bring awareness of the Garden brand to a newer generation of consumers, while reaffirming its position with its loyal saree-wearing audience,” says Shilpa Shah, director at Garden Silk Mills Ltd. The Lisa Ray commercial, currently being aired on mainstream news and general entertainment channels, will then be run selectively on regional channels in strong saree markets.
The use of old ads is also acknowledgement of their success. “Why do we still use the ‘It’s different!’ campaign? It’s quite simple…it works,” says Emmanuel Upputuru, national creative director at Publicis India, which handles the account for Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chilli Sauce. Other experts say that only iconic and relevant ads can be reused thus.
It also helps that these ads now being aired on TV, despite being iconic, weren’t overused. “Most of these brands didn’t particularly have heavy advertising spends, so in that sense these properties weren’t destroyed by over exposure,” says Chlorophyll’s Halve.
K.V. Sridhar, national creative director of Leo Burnett India, adds that these ads are still relevant because they enjoyed an iconic status in a media-dark period. Satellite television took off in India only in the early 1990s.
Still, there are some companies that, while sticking to their old campaigns, are contemporarizing them.
Bajaj Electricals Ltd is one example.
A little over two decades ago, the company launched its “Jab main chota ladka tha…” (When I was a small boy...) ad. After recent research showed that this was the one thing about the brand consumers still remembered, Bajaj decided to reshoot the ad. “It made sense for us to go back to a property that was iconic,” says R. Ramakrishnan, executive director at Bajaj Electricals.
“Could we have run the same old commercial? Perhaps not, as the imagery wasn’t contemporary enough…, but we tried to stay true to the original,” he adds. The story, imagery and the song, however, remain the same.