Home / Industry / Success formula: gentle emotions rule the waves

An emotional connect. That is what viewers respond to best, our latest Top of the Mind ad survey shows.

The best on-air advertisement in the month of May, according to the Mint-Synovate-TVAd Indx survey—which covers 750 randomly chosen consumers—is Airtel National (STD). It is followed closely by another Airtel TV spot with the same theme and the Vodafone pug series.

So, whether it is the Airtel couple, actors R. Madhavan and Vidya Balan, expressing their love through prolonged silences over the cellphone or the Vodafone pug’s devotion to the cherubic girl, it is these gentle emotions that, quite literally, rule the airwaves.

Agrees Future Brands CEO Santosh Desai: “May has turned out to be a better month, with some very good work, albeit largely from one category." The two Airtel ads also figure in his list of favourites, though for different reasons. “This is the first campaign where Airtel has come close to finding its voice," he says. In the case of the Vodafone commercial, he says that with this ad, “the brand rediscovers its deft touch".

Even Max New York Life Insurance’s TV spot (at No.9 on our list), which JWT India managing partner Rohit Ohri dubs the best ad, falls in this category of “emotional connect".


Our feelings about death and the resultant refusal to even think about the repercussions make life insurance a difficult subject to work upon, says Ohri. The advertisement, therefore, breaks new ground as it talks in a language that connects with viewers. “The Max ad gently opens customers’ minds to the unpredictable nature of life," says Ohri. Gentle is the word here, again.

The usual suspects—Cadbury (with its Gems at No.2, against Perk’s No.1 position in April), Parle-G (moving up two ranks to the No.7 position)—are all there on our list, as their creatives continue bringing out new series of eye-catching work.

There’s one surprise. For a month that saw a lot of the Indian Premier League action, on and off the field, when many companies had cricketers endorsing their brands, only Pepsi’s M.S. Dhoni commercial finds a place in our rankings—that too at No.11. Was it a case of too much of a good thing, or viewers’ ennui?

Rival fruit drinks—Slice, Maaza and Rasna—fought it out during the month, heralding the season of mangoes. And Slice mango drink took a big slice of the cake, with its spoof on the Kamasutra. Its “Aamsutra" campaign with actor Katrina Kaif scored 100% on brand recall and likeability, winning, overall, the sixth position.

Airtel National (STD)

Rediffusion-Dentsu, Young & Rubicam

A follow-up to an earlier ad; a man (actor R. Madhavan) away on work calls up his wife (actor Vidya Balan) to say goodnight. He has already called eight times, she tells him, but both stay on the line, waiting for the other to disconnect. The voice-over: ‘Kabhi pyaar ke beech dooriyan na aayen’ (let distance not come in the way of love).

Cadbury Gems

Ogilvy and Mather

A scientist chases five children from his laboratory, but they get to the rooftop and stick Gems onto his telescope lens. The excited scientist mistakes these for new planets. Till the kids gobble up the Gems, leaving the man distraught. The tag line: ‘Hamara masti ka partner’ (Our partner in fun).

Vodafone Customer Care

Ogilvy and Mather

The Vodafone pug is always there to help—when a girl has to dress for school, he fetches a missing sock; when she goes fishing, he brings her a net. He lick stamps for her to put on envelopes. When she forgets her tie, he runs after the school bus, the tie clutched in his mouth. The tag line: Happy to help.

Airtel National (Roaming)

Rediffusion-Dentsu, Young & Rubicam

Actor R. Madhavan is in the elevator, ready to leave home. As he lingers at the door, reluctant to say goodbye, actor Vidya Balan, who plays his wife, promises to call him 50 times a day while he is away. As the elevator door closes finally, the voice-over talks about not letting distance come in the way of love.



Actor Ranbir Kapoor does it all for fellow actor Deepika Padukone’s bottle of Pepsi. Holding forth on the concept of ‘Youngistaan’, he inspires youngsters to go on and achieve the impossible. Just as he does, seizing the Pepsi. The problem is, it’s not hers. It belongs to a man reading a book on torture.

Slice mango drink


Actor Katrina Kaif lures a young man with a Slice mango drink. Raising the bottle to her lips, she introduces him to the pleasures of drinking pure mango juice in a Slice bottle. Enticed, the young man walks up to her, covers her eyes and takes away the Slice bottle.


Grey Worldwide

A teacher commends a schoolgirl, Neha, for her painting of a busy street. Jealous, another girl drops water on it. But Neha, who has been snacking on Parle-G biscuits, makes a quick recovery. She labels her painting “A Rainy Day" and goes on to win the prize. The voice-over: G stands for genius.

Saffola Gold

McCann Erickson

A couple congratulate their son on winning a race. When it’s the father’s turn to run, he becomes breathless, and loses. Worried, his wife picks up Saffola Gold when she goes shopping. A song plays in the background: “Babu, samjho ishare... dil yeh pukare... (catch the signals your heart is sending out).

Max New York Complete Life Insurance Solutions


A woman calls out to her husband. Getting no response, she searches the house—and finds him on the terrace, coffee cup upturned. She fears the worst. The voice-over: ‘Musibatein bata kar nahin aati, Life mein rahiye hamesha tayyaar’ (always be prepared, troubles come unannounced).

Nokia Nseries/Eseries


A young girl in an auto rickshaw checks her phone for directions to a friend’s house. Once she does, it seems everything is conspiring to help—a flock of birds, people on a terrace, all pointing in one direction. The ad ends with a shot of three cellphones—Nokia N95, E90 Communicator and 6110 Navigator.

Pepsi/Indian Premier League


The voice-over introduces Dhoni from Jharkhand. But the captain of the Chennai Super Kings IPL team calls himself M.S. Dhoni from Chennai. In true Rajnikanth style, he swings his bat, warning off all fast bowlers, and flips a straw to drink Pepsi.

Rasna Fruit Plus

Dentsu Marcom

A young man logs on to a social networking site and finds all his friends having Rasna Fruit Plus. They ask him whether he has tried it. His mom hastens to organize Rasna Fruit Plus for him. The ad ends with a mention of the variants.


Leo Burnett

A mango trader sees a boy stuffing marbles in his socks and placing a catapult around his neck. Surprised, he asks him why he hasn’t kept all this in his pockets. But, as he learns, those are filled with something more precious: Maaza packs.

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