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Leaving a mark

Reviewer: Emmanuel Upputuru

Founder and chief integrated officer, ITSA Brand Innovations Pvt. Ltd, Emmanuel Upputuru started his career with Alfred Allan Advertising in 1993. He has worked with brands such as Nestlé, Shell, Nokia and Limca, among others.

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Ad speak: Emmanuel Upputuru

What are you first thoughts?

This spot is very Tata Tea. It continues the pretty successful Tata Tea Jaago Re campaign. It questions the status quo. It provokes people to change behaviour and rock the boat. The commercial itself is well-produced with good casting and direction. The pepper-spray-happy character especially does a good job.

Tata Tea campaigns have always addressed social issues.

I remember the Shah Rukh Khan spot where he says, “I will put actresses’ names first in the credits". That to me was one of the best. The Power of 49 is a pretty good attempt to exploit one of the key issues raised by most of the political parties in the fray: women, safety and empowerment.

With the general election around the corner, will brands leveraging the voter sentiment benefit vis-a-vis high
brand recall?

It’s always beneficial to use current social trends and attach your brand to tell your story. However not all big brands are comfortable using elections and politics as a plank, because it’s a very sensitive subject. But having said that, it’s not contentious to ask people to vote. Women, called “the gatekeepers" in the marketing corridors, always form a good vote bank for most FMCG brands.

What would you have done differently?

The absolute core of the idea you are playing with here is that women can play a major role in the coming elections. Therefore I would have probably not shown one woman versus so many women who are “progressive" but too rich and comfortable to get out and vote. It could have been one smart woman versus another not-so-smart woman. It’s not necessary that the rest of the women have to be dumb blondes. The pepper spray is a slightly old idea, I wonder how the girl doesn’t know about the spray. I wouldn’t have done a story. I would have left the spot open-ended with room for dialogue.

As told to Suneera Tandon.

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