Leaders of the creative domain pick three of their all-time favourite campaigns based on thought, execution and brand resonance. Here’s the interesting list…
In Piyush Pandey’s words, a creative professional is a ‘commercial artist’. Every day, these ‘artists’ strive to bring forth brilliant ideas and create communication that will mean a leap forward and ensure resonance for brands. Over the years, their work has defined the brand space and the advertising world as consumers, marketers and everyone in between know it today.
There is an instant connect with some ads. Irrespective of the scale, budget or media it was played in, some advertisements break through cluttered environments and leave a lasting impression. Getting that one mantra right turns an ad into an icon, enables it to strike the right chord with consumers and makes it an example of creative excellence remembered for ages.
So what is it that makes an ad stand out? For Pandey, Executive Chairman & National Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather India, creative excellence is where one surprises and delights audiences while selling a product. “As a commercial artist, you are not doing work for yourself. You have been commissioned to do a certain job and in the process, if you can get your audiences to say ‘I love it’ or ‘I want to see it again’ or ‘I want to buy it’, then there is no greater excellence in advertising,” he adds.
It is difficult to pinpoint the factors that contribute to this creative excellence. There are enough examples of ads that have signs of creative genius. Some of them have been rewarded on national and international platforms as well. But to decode the thought processes that went into these memorable pieces of work is often an uphill, and not necessarily a successful, task. “Advertising is not judged only by award juries anywhere in the world, it is judged by the common man. Advertising should have an insight and deliver a solution. Creativity can solve any problem,” says K V Sridhar aka Pops, Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett India Subcontinent.
For our ad gurus, it is not just works that win accolades, but those that leave a mark on the consumer and help the marketer attain a business objective, that merit a place on their all-time favourite lists. When IMPACT asked the leaders of the creative domain to pick three specific works that made a lasting impression on them, it was no surprise that the chosen ones were those that defied norms and changed the parables of advertising, motivated consumers to take action and actually made a difference. ‘Mile sur mera tumhara…’ that is still remembered as the second national anthem, the girl running across a cricket field in the Cadbury Dairy Milk ad, Gillette’s WALS, Tata Tea and Happy Dent are some of the ads that make it to the list.
Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner, JWT India sums it up when he says, “Creative excellence goes beyond the medium. Its impact is not proportionate to the monies and exposure… it more importantly becomes part of popular culture across all strata. You have to invent something new. ZooZoos gave us new characters and the Silent National Anthem was an inventive media placement. The work should inspire others to spoof and engage with it in different ways.”
Let’s take a closer look at the campaigns that impacted the minds of our admen, and made it to their all-time favourite lists. The parameters we asked them to keep in mind are creative thought and execution, usage and choice of media vehicle, brand messaging and brand resonance.
Executive Chairman & National Creative Director,
Ogilvy & Mather India
There are more beautiful pieces of work from other agencies as well. How can I pick up only three favourites where there have been many very good campaigns? It is very difficult for me not to name the Vodafone ZooZoos which have become a phenomenon… after Mile sur…, as a campaign, ZooZoos are one of the best for me, fantastic in idea. The media went berserk about them as well, in fact Economic Times announced the budget with ZooZoos on the cover. Considering the history of Indian advertising, the list should go up to 50. Pardon me, industry, if I have missed any of your great work.
Mile sur mera tumhara
This is a campaign that moved India – right from the highest level of society to the common man. Mile sur… nearly became a second national anthem.
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk - Kuch khaas hai zindagi mein…:
It changed Indian advertising forever
Fevicol bus advertisement:
It is difficult to pick up one ad from the Fevicol series, but the bus ad is one of my favourites.
Executive Chairman & CEO,
McCann Worldgroup India & President, South Asia
Mile sur mera tumhara
The creative thought of using classical music to thread India together brought a freshness to advertising. There were no gimmicks but an artistic touch that brought with it a dignified feel. It was more special to me because it was created by my guru in advertising (Suresh Malik). The success of ‘Mile sur mera tumhara…’ is a true tribute to the fact that good work finds its own channel. Then, there weren’t any multimedia channels, yet it became a phenomenon. The brand messaging - unity and diversity in a cultural context - was great. Raag Bhairavi transcends from folk to classical and Suresh used it to unify the country in a unique and melodious way.
Coca-Cola - Thanda matlab Coca-Cola
Though I have done it, I think it is iconic. It allowed Coke to own the category code, gave the category nomenclature through a colloquial term. Creatively, it was a satisfying experience. While exploring the narrative culture of India, it leveraged the aspect of ‘how’ very well. With great dialogue, it made India cool and allowed Coke to connect with grass root level India without losing its cool quotient. It is still alive after nine years. Aamir considers it amongst his best work.
In a scenario where brands want to tell the consumers all about their product attributes, Amul shows the power of a great idea. The brand took a bold stand when it linked itself to topicality and has reaped great benefits and become truly iconic. Today, it is considered a privilege to be included in the brand’s communication. Though numerous teams may have worked on the brand and contributed over the years, its communication is seamless and continuous.
KV SRIDHAR (POPS)
Chief Creative Officer,
India subcontinent, Leo Burnett
People have used the idea of light emanating from teeth earlier, but imagine humanizing the whitening as a human bulb! The brilliance is in the execution and story-telling. The brand message is very simple and clear: it brightens your teeth. It is made believable with the tale of an underdog, who made it at work and we all identify and feel happy about it.
Hippo - Plan
T-Twitter campaign Hippo received criticism through social media for their distribution. The brand got people to tweet to them wherever the product was not available. They then ensured the brand was made available to the consumers in that location. They also gave consumers who tweeted a surprise gift hamper for helping the brand, thus turning a negative word of mouth to a positive word of mouth, without spending a rupee on advertising. The media vehicle couldn’t have been better.
Gillette -Women against lazy stubble (W.A.L.S):
It is a universal insight that women like clean-shaven men. The objective was to create a buzz in what is perceived as a mundane category. Imagine doing ‘What women want’ - being active people, not lazy men who don’t express their feelings. Over and above this, the campaign made women shave, catering to a man’s ultimate fantasy. They made it to the Guinness Book of World Records on the maximum number of shaves in a day. They brought home the message that Gillette gives you a smoother, cleaner and closer shave and a woman runs a hand on a man’s cheek in approval.
Chief Creative Officer and Managing Partner,
Sony Erickson - One Black Coffee Please
It was a great idea, a killer spot and had great execution. An ad far ahead of its time. I remember all the nuances and humour till today. The ad was path-breaking. Indian advertising hadn’t seen anything like this before.
This was a completely fresh and new kind of idea, complimented by the manner and scale on which it was executed - 30 films is indeed big. It certainly went beyond just one medium. It was inventive and gave us new characters.
The Silent National Anthem
It touched so many people and went beyond being content to something that people actually interacted with and were emotionally involved with. Also, it was a media opportunity well utilized and gave patriotism a new meaning. It became much bigger, Indian embassies and co-operations also used it.
Chairman and National Creative Director,
After considering over 50 top campaigns/ads of the last 25 years, these are my Top 3. I also considered three filters or criteria to arrive at my Top 3 all-time favourite campaigns/ads:
•Did the campaign/ad break new ground?
•Did the idea impact India? Did it create a national buzz?
•Is the campaign still spoken about in advertising and marketing circles?
What makes a country that speaks countless languages and dialects fall in love with characters who speak absolute gibberish? It’s amazing and inexplicable! A blitzkrieg of a campaign bursting into our national consciousness with over 25 television spots… like an alien invasion. And then the ZooZoos are everywhere - unstoppable, probably the most talked-about campaign of all time!
Cadbury’s Dairy Milk - Kuch khaas hai zindagi mein…
You just can’t erase the image of the pretty young girl going berserk on the field with her unhinged dancing - because her boyfriend hit a six and crossed a hundred runs. It liberated adults and chocolates.
April 16, 2000. You opened your copy of the Times of India and were shocked to see the front page blank. A line in small print read “After 125 years of tradition, we decided to shift our headlines to the last page.” When you turned to the paper, larger-than-life headlines screamed: “India is now Indya”. That was audacious and disturbing! It showed us that you can’t separate media from the idea. That ad was the beginning of the many ‘innovations’ you see in newspapers nowadays. But none have had the same instant impact as Indya.com.
National Creative Director,
This is a campaign that has beautifully brought chocolate into the very heart keeping in mind Indian eating habits with the associations of Kuch Meetha ho jai and Shubh Arambh.
Tata Tea Jaago Re
Took a generic attribute of tea and turned it into a social movement – with a grand culmination in the One Billion Votes initiative.
Pepsi Official Sponsors of T20 oddities
Turned the millstone of Nothing Official on its head to create an equally irreverent official campaign.
Apart from these in the much abused ‘public service’ space, two campaigns stand out. O&M’s Polio door-to-door mobilization drive using polio victims to drive home the point. And Lowe’s ‘Balbir Pasha ko AIDS hoga kya’, which shut down half the brothels in Kamathipura in its aftermath.
National Creative Director,
Lowe Lintas and Partners
Asian Paints - Har ghar kuch kehta hain
This campaign gave the brand such stature, along with a high emotional quotient, that it really catapulted the brand to great heights.
Bajaj - Hamara Bajaj
Hamara Bajaj’ has made the brand relevant to an entirely new generation with same value system as the original.
Idea- What an Idea
Idea was a distant player in the telecom space, but this campaign, through pure advertising, made it reach an entirely new level. This campaign made associating with social issues cool.
I would also like to mention Cadbury’s ‘Kuch meetha ho jaaye…’ which made the brand so relevant to Indians. How often have we heard ‘Kuch meetha ho jaaye’ from someone at home or in the environment around us? Another one is Surf Excel’s ‘Daag achhe hain’ that changed the perception of Surf from a fuddy-duddy brand to one that celebrates change. All the ads that I have mentioned form part of our daily lives. Today, these terms are part of our lexicon – that’s what great advertising is all about.