Speed Breaker

Reviewer: Prathap Suthan

With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Prathap Suthan, chief creative officer and managing partner at Bang In The Middle, is known for his work on campaigns such as India Shining, Incredible India, and Samsung mobiles’ Next Is What.


The digital campaign for Honda Mobilio, the new premium seven-seater car, by Mash Up and Blazar, both divisions of GroupM India, features stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma as a car salesman. The ad begins with Sharma being pulled up by his boss for staring at a woman in the office. In his typical style, Sharma replies that he was admiring the car. He then goes on to exalt the features of the car to his boss and a prospective buyer, who also happens to be a beautiful woman.

What did you think of the ad?

I didn’t particularly think much about the ad. Another long-winded product catalogue. Set in an automobile un-characteristic plot. Delivered within a contrived situation. Quite devoid of any taste. However, it could well be a killer for those who love the exaggerated skew. And there are millions who thrive in a world of unpolished living.

Do you think this strategy works for Honda?

The strategy of using one kind of advertising in digital, and another in mainline, is flawed. People will not absolve any brand of crassness, just because they only saw its digital advertising. Or its TV advertising. The visual medium is one medium. We can’t and don’t compartmentalize our minds. On the celebrity issue, I wish Honda had thought a little harder before plonking for the gentleman. Again, who exactly is a celeb? What makes a celeb? If the celeb is smaller than the brand, then the brand is the loser. And worse, if the celebrity is only a celebrity according to an uninfluential segment, then Honda is sacrificing its equity, and walking into a wall of problems.

Considering that this is a digital campaign, does it help create buzz around the brand?

I am not sure about the buzz part. But it does create a rather strong reaction. Overtly negative. About digital campaigns, length is of no significance if the content isn’t brilliant. You really don’t have to create surround communication for awesome content. We are talking about a medium where 140 characters become epics. Where 20-minute short films blaze. Where a simple photo (shower inside Mumbai Metro) causes frenzy. And where even simple .gifs get a million shares. The world is no longer divided between old media and new media. Film content that plays on TV is almost equal to YouTube, etc. Considering that there is already partial osmosis between the old and the new, most TV commercials are almost instantaneously available on the Net. The distinction between a digital and regular campaign is fast blurring.