Santosh Padhi

For around 16 years, Santosh Padhi, chief creative officer and co-founder of Taproot India, has worked on campaigns for brands such as McDonald’s, P&G Tide detergent, Johnnie Walker, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, The Times of India, Fiat India, Bajaj Auto, ICICI Bank, Luxor writing pens and Perfetti Van Melle.


The new campaign for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate shows a young man approaching a girl at a bus stop and asking for a piece of the chocolate she’s eating. When asked why, he says his mother says one must always eat something sweet before doing a good deed. She obliges—and then asks about the good deed. He smiles and says, “I thought I would drop you home."

What did you think of the ad campaign?

Brilliant. It’s a very nice idea with perfect choice of cast, which not only made the difference to the film but, in a subtle way, targeted the right age group—which consumes the most chocolates. When you have a good idea, keep everything simple. And that clearly reflects in the commercial, as it has become a mandate to have things loud in this category. This TVC (TV commercial) clearly erases all the myths one follows in this category.

How does this campaign match up to the previous ads for Dairy Milk?

They have been pushing the bar year after year by getting fresh insightful connects that are relevant to the consumers, like the Kuch meetha ho jaye campaign starting with celebrating together. Then they brought in the Pehli tareekh to this Shubh arambh. This is a classical example of campaignable thoughts that are very different from each other, but still fit under the Kuch meetha ho jaye umbrella brilliantly, which is not an easy task.

Which is your favourite ad in this category and why?

Rolo Cola (this is like Poppins). It’s the TVC where a kid opens a pack of Rolo. A good boy offers one to the small cute baby elephant, the elephant extends his trunk happily to grab the Rolo, the kid puts the Rolo in his own mouth and makes faces to the elephant, the elephant feels really bad and sad and walks away. Cut to 10 years later, when the kid has grown up and is walking with his friends in a procession, wearing the same sweater to establish that he is the same guy; suddenly you see a trunk coming in and slapping (him) hard. It’s the same elephant he refused to share the candy with. The line says Too good to share. I loved it because it’s a product-centric ad and the way the elephant was being used, i.e., for its strong memory.

As told to Gouri Shah.