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Timed to surprise

Reviewer: Sandeep Bomble

Sandeep Bomble is managing partner and executive creative director at Mumbai-based advertising agency PEOPLE Worldwide. In a career spanning over 20 years, he has worked in agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather and J Walter Thompson. Bomble has worked on brands such as Pond’s Institute, Nakshatra jewellery, Onida, and Maharashtra Tourism.


The ad for Rado’s new watch DiaMaster by Publicis Milan shows actor Hrithik Roshan walking into a swanky hotel lobby, evidently for a business meeting. In the middle of it, he reaches to retrieve something from his briefcase and realizes that it has disappeared. He spots a waiter walking away with it and starts running after him. The next sequence is a Bollywood-style chase scene with the waiter and Roshan running through lobbies, elevators and air vents, with shots of Roshan sporting the watch. The thief turns out to be actor Lisa Ray, who had planned the whole thing to get him to a surprise party. Tag line: Time to surprise.

Your first thoughts on the campaign.

While the idea is fresh, at least for an ad campaign, the execution is too forceful, in the sense that the storyline falls a bit flat when seen in the campaign. It might have been a good idea in theory. Also, the script comes across as a bit weak, I was left wondering what the occasion was. Why the surprise? As a consumer, if I could be a part of this plot, fancy and fiction slightly overlapped. So overall a neat idea, but the execution makes the script appear weak.

Does the campaign do justice to the product?

While it does succeed in depicting the roughness and sophistication of the product, with enough action and drama around Hrithik’s chase—you do get to know that it’s scratch-proof, shock-resistant, etc.—it does not showcase the beauty of the product. There are very few moments when one can grasp the product in the campaign.

What would you have done differently?

For starters, I would have stayed away from the celebrity endorsement. I’m not quite sure if Hrithik makes for a good brand fit here. The use of Lisa Ray also is a bit abrupt as she is only shown in the last part of the advertisement, appearing for barely a few seconds. Secondly, I would have chosen another idea of “surprise"—something more believable, and around the idea of gifting or an occasion.

Any watch campaigns globally or in India that have caught your attention?

I can recollect Aamir Khan’s advertisement for Titan a few years ago, where he is in the Mangal Pandey look, picking a watch to match his outfits. Print campaigns for brands such as Tag Heuer and Longines are sophisticated.

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