It has been the year of long format videos, sports-related campaigns, socially relevant messaging and content marketing in the advertising & media industry. IMPACT takes a look at the ads that made a lasting impression in 2016
By NeETA NAIR, SAMARPITA Banerjee & Allan DSouza
As 2016 draws to a close, it’s time for a quick rewind of the ads we saw through the year. There were some path-breaking ideas that redefined advertising and set newer goals for admen. Much in vogue were the long format videos which proved that brands can interest consumers in their plots enough to go beyond the 60-second TV spots. A few good examples are the digital film #LastWords for the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) which won the Effie for Good at The Ad Club’s Effie Awards earlier this month, the #StayStarted film by Nescafe, Asian Paints - Saroj the leader, and 6-Pack Band, a music video-led digital campaign for Brooke Bond Red Label, which won a Grand Prix in the Glass Lion category at Cannes for launching the first transgender band in the world.
Says Dheeraj Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer, Leo Burnett, “There is a broader trend towards socially-oriented advertising. So, brands are looking at purpose, and at doing good at the centre of their business, and not just CSR. I really loved the Ola campaign during the Chennai floods, where a car company rose up to the occasion and arranged boats for the people. ‘Share the Load’ again is about the gender equation and the best part is that it is able to connect back to the category well. It’s not just a do-good ad, it also has moved shares for the brand.”
This year, the Leo Burnett team came up with a unique idea for the Bajaj V motorcycle campaign – including scrap metal from the dismantled aircraft carrier INS Vikrant to manufacture the bike, thus adding a patriotic element. Here, the marketing idea was embedded in the product, and was not just a campaign woven around it. It was a new take in the marketing landscape. Talking about it, Manish Bhatt, Co-founder, Scarecrow says, “One of my favourite ads this year is the one for Bajaj V... an innovation with an inspirational value to it. I would like to see more of that kind of work in the coming years.”
Another strategy that worked wonders for several brands in 2016 is Content Marketing, which indirectly made the viewer realize the potential of the brand in a situation as close to real life as possible. Story-telling invariably emerged as the winning ingredient for Indian ads, be it the Pappu and Papa web series by Durex condoms and Yash Raj Films, or TVF Tripling, a series focused on a road trip which, according to Vivek Srivatsa, Marketing Head, Passenger Vehicle Unit, Tata Motors, has made Tiago (the car endorsed in the series) the best-selling car in their portfolio.
The year also saw a lot of sports-related commercials doing the rounds, and for a change, cricket was not the only sport in them. The Rio Olympics, especially, saw an array of brands like JSW, Tata Salt and Edelweiss coming out to promote the Games and the champions with their brand association. Then there was repeated focus on women athletes - the Nike-Da Da Ding ad, Puma-Do You, Cinthol-Ready for Awesome and so on. In addition, several other brands took a fresh approach to sports as seen in ads like Bournvita- Tayyari Jeet Ki, Kokuyo Camlin–Inspire a Billion and even Stayfree Secure-Your Move.
According to Harshad Rajadhyaksha and Kainaz Karmakar, Executive Creative Directors at Ogilvy & Mather, in India and internationally, more and more brands were seen displaying an awakening of their social conscience. “When a brand goes beyond talking just product, and enters consumers' lives, it creates something far more valuable than brand loyalty. It creates brand love. This is seen in cases such as Ariel's Share The Load, or Philips Breathless Choir. Another interesting trend is communication spreading its branches. While TV still remains the backbone that many brands rest on, agencies are using other media such as digital, situational and ambient to solve clients' problems,” they say.
On the technical aspect of ads, Dominic Braganza, Creative Director at Foolish, says, “Film production quality is getting better, so it's a clear sign that clients are starting to see value in improving brand aesthetics like costume design, set design, casting, and overall production of an ad film. Jabong's Be You is a good example. However, it was missing an idea. Where was the craft in copy?”
An aspect of digital media that brands cashed in on heavily this year is social media marketing. For example, the Game of Thrones craze fuelled the imagination of several brands – Micromax came up with Game of Phones, Flipkart promoted its return policies and even Samsung played up on the various characters and connected it with their phones.
Amer Jaleel, Chairman and CCO Mullen Lintas says, “Social had become a big trend and we at Lintas have pretty much been the initiators but I feel now we need to move a little bit away from the trend, because it has become too huge and too common. I think brands with very incisive and very lateral sort of messages and those who use newer ways of interpreting clients will win in the coming year.”
While 2016 has shown some set patterns in advertising success stories, one can’t really predict whether 2017 will play by the same rules. Arun Iyer, CCO, Lowe Lintas, says it in so many words: “The advertising trends are getting a lot shorter in terms of lifespan. So one can’t really say if a particular trend will stay for a set duration or not; we shall find out soon.”
ARIEL - DADS SHARE THE LOAD
Call it a campaign or a lesson for life, the ‘Dads Share the Load’ campaign by P&G’s Ariel took what it had established in the first part of the series a step further -- a woman is not responsible for all household duties and men must do their bit. In this setting, an ageing father rues the fact that he never helped his wife with any household work, which in turn was something his daughter, a working woman with a family, unconsciously absorbed into her lifestyle. Watching his overburdened daughter juggle household chores and her professional work, he vows to set things right at least in his own house by helping his wife with the laundry. The campaign made by BBDO India went on to win several national and international awards.
YouTube views: 25,92,240
(As on official Ariel India page)
RED LABEL 6-PACK BAND
For a country where people belonging to the LGBT community are still frowned upon, the 6-Pack Band ad by Brooke Bond’s Red Label came as a breath of fresh air. Conceptualized by Y-Films, the music video is a happy cover of the hit Pharrell Williams song ‘Happy’, performed by a group of chirpy transgenders. The idea behind the campaign was to highlight the discrimination and prejudice faced by the transgender community and to show how they still choose to smile and stay ‘Happy’ everyday. It’s no surprise that the campaign has been talked about widely and has won big at almost all award shows held throughout the year.
YouTube views: 20,41,202
(As on the official YRF page)
BAJAJ V – EVERYDAY PRIDE
For the launch of its new product, Bajaj wanted to do something big, something to stir national sentiments. Creative agency Leo Burnett came up with the idea of using metal from India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, which was to be scrapped, to build the bikes. The idea was to connect with people on a different level and touch their heart. Needless to say, Bajaj V’s campaign won accolades all across including major awards. Bajaj and Leo Burnett proved all it takes to win is an idea.
YouTube views: 57,515
(As on official Bajaj V page)
SURF EXCEL – READY FOR LIFE
It is one of those heart-warming ads where a child is seen sharing his brand new shoes with an underprivileged friend, aided by a narrative that is far from preachy. Conceptualized by Lowe Lintas, this digital film very skilfully takes forward the brand’s proposition of ‘Daag Acchhe Hai’ without just harping on the product’s functionality. It very subtly manages to start a dialogue with the mothers on good parenting, which involves ensuring that their kids are ready for life.
YouTube views: 86,01,070
(As on official Surf Excel page)
RAJASTHAN- JANE KYA DIKH JAYE
This multi-crore media campaign aimed at increasing tourist footfalls by 2020 in Rajasthan painted a majestic picture of Rajasthan. Seen through a traveller's eyes, the tagline 'Jaane Kya Dikh Jaye!' beautifully captures the mystique that makes Rajasthan a must-visit place for travellers. What’s more, the team behind the ad, Ogilvy and Mather, has very tactfully prefixed the names of the tourists to the word ‘Rajasthan’ showing how an exploration of the State can mean different things to each traveller.
YouTube views: 89733
(As on official Rajasthan Tourism page)
AMAZON - #MOMBEAGIRLAGAIN
While 2015 saw a lot of quality ads coming out of e-commerce brands, this year, we saw more quantity over quality from the sector. However, one campaign that stood out was Amazon’s #MomBeAGirlAgain campaign. The three ads work on the insight that mothers usually forget about the little things they used to enjoy before life’s responsibilities caught on with them. Each of the ads is a request to mothers to remember the things they enjoyed doing and pick them up from where they left off, just so they can become girls again. Conceptualized by Ogilvy & Mather, Bangalore, the ads beautifully capture the sacrifices made by mothers and encourage viewers to help their mothers relive their childhood hobbies.
YouTube views: 23,44,909
(AS on official Amazon India page)
NIKE - DA DA DING
Wieden+Kennedy India’s first Nike commercial was a powerful video that brought together the ultimate girl sport squad. A multitude of women who not just reflect the diversity of India, but of sports itself, were featured in the video which literally set the Internet on fire. It features Deepika Padukone, a former national level badminton player, athletes such as hockey player Rani Rampal, footballer Jyoti Ann Burrett and cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandana and Shubhlakshmi Sharma. In less than two weeks of the launch, the film managed to garner close to 2.8 million views on YouTube.
YouTube views: 46,57,035
(As on official Nike page)
TANISHQ CELEBRATES SISTERHOOD
Every year, most Rakshabandhan ads revolve around brothers pampering their sisters with gifts for the occasion. However, Tanishq brought about a refreshing twist to the narrative. The brand’s Rakshabandhan ad this year was woven around the daily life of two sisters, telling us that the festival doesn’t really need to be only about a brother-sister relationship. Everything worked in favour of the ad, starting from the idea, to the actors to the voice-over. It made most of us miss our siblings on the day and after. Conceptualized by 22feet Tribal Worldwide, the digital film was an instant hit and garnered millions of likes and shares.
Youtube views: 1,18,479
On official Tanishq Jewellery page
UBER - #MOVEFORWARD
Inspired by stories the brand has heard from both riders and drivers, Uber came up with its first campaign for India, #MoveForward. The idea behind all the ads was how the start-up has empowered Indians across strata of society. The first ad in the series is a heart-warming tale of a father who is also an Uber driver, dropping his daughter to school before an exam. The three other ads talk about how the brand has helped the consumer. The insights of the ads were very simple, but the simplicity with which each of the stories were narrated helped build an instant connect. The ads were conceptualized by BBH India and appreciated widely on social media.
Youtube views: 30,88,099
(As on official Uber India page)
RAYMOND - #SALUTINGSINGLEMOTHERS
This ad, created by Famous Innovations, is a breath of fresh air in the cluster of Father’s Day messages that prop up around that time of the year. Raymond came up with a gem saluting single mothers on Father’s Day. In a progressive take to their legacy tagline – The Complete Man - the ad highlights the spirit of those mothers who also have to play a father’s role in their children’s lives. Portrayed by a simple exchange between a mother and a son who gifts her a mug with the words ‘World’s Best Dad’ inscribed on it, the ad brings alive the message along with tears in your eyes.
YouTube views: 4,99,414
(As on official Raymond Limited page)
A FEW LOVED ONES
Bajaj’s ‘INS Vikrant’ ad this year has been path-breaking. It all starts with the idea. All of us know that a re-positioning job is always more difficult than a new launch. And to that end, coming out with something which is topical and going beyond just communication is laudable. There also was a fair degree of authenticity and integrity. It wasn’t just a multimedia campaign, but a truly integrated campaign. Another ad that is really good but hasn’t been talked about much is Asian Paint’s ‘Saroj’. It’s a huge empowerment story. Also, ‘Dad Share the Load’ that won all major awards in 2016. It was fundamentally different because it was trying to address an attitude change. Fundamentally, if you view it from the lens of a father who sees in his son-in-law his own MCP behaviour, it was a profoundly different campaign and that’s why it worked.
Group CEO, Media & OOH, Madison World
With media going holistically digital and becoming accessible anytime anywhere, advertisement content has the power to form and reform brand identity at a very personal level. Three 2016 ads that tick all the right boxes for me are ‘The Hero - A Bollywood Story’ by Google, ‘Try Myntra, You'll love it’ by Myntra and the ‘Vodafone SuperNet’ campaign. It’s worth noting how every aspect in each ad is married with brand positioning. While Google is set across lesser-known locations in keeping with the fact that their services are available to new users in smaller towns, Myntra sets its ad in a home, to denote that their services are accessible from the comfort of one’s home. Vodafone ads put forth how digitization and mobiles have penetrated every aspect of life. All three ads explore relationships and emotions while encapsulating brand characteristics, tying people and products in a way that is relevant and relatable for the audience.
MD, Maxus South Asia
I’d pick out ‘Bajaj V - The Invincible’ - it was a brilliant idea to have a part of the historic INS Vikrant in your bike. Bike owners have a deep emotional connect with their machines; so it gave the brand an edge over the competition in a buy decision. Another favourite is the Emirates ad where Jennifer Aniston, liked and recognized both by men and women, returns from the 2015 campaign aboard the Emirates A380 and befriends a kid who accidentally takes her seat. Her friendly, wholesome and stylish persona mirrors the values of Emirates as she indulges the kid (clueless of her identity) and later his family. Lastly, Amazon India’s ‘#WhenAWomanShops’ - it demonstrates in real life situations the misconceptions of husbands/men #WhenAWomanShops. It brings forth the selfless, thoughtful nature of women.
CEO-India & South Asia, Havas Media Group
For me, Hindustan Unilever’s ‘Haath, Munh aur Bum, Bimari Hogi Kum’ campaign was brilliant because it’s almost like a social movement. It’s been done with a wonderful human touch, and has been successful for the business too, thanks to its deep insight and scale. Nike’s ‘Da da ding’ was special because instead of simply putting pretty faces on the screen, the brand shows women athletes, which is big motivation. Added to it is a really catchy anthem. I also enjoyed Jabong’s ‘Be You’ campaign. For a brand to talk about all kinds of prejudices and show people from the LGBT community, etc, was a great idea and a bold attempt to bring about a change in perceptions.
Managing Partner, PHD India
POINT OF VIEW
I really liked the #TanishqWaliDiwali ad this year. If you talk about an insight and how it has been worked upon, that really caught my attention. Also, Ariel’s ‘Share the Load’ has to be a part of my list. It’s a simple idea and a simple thought, but a whole lot of brilliant insight has gone into conceptualizing it.
Head-Marketing, Lifestyle Business, Raymond
Maggi’s come-back campaign is one of my top picks. The erosion of trust and market-share was steep. The team did a fabulous job of identifying the insight of nostalgia and sticking to the “strengths” of Maggi. Amazon India’s integrated campaign, including the digital campaign #weindians, is endearing, and builds local connect for the brand in India. Bajaj Avenger’s Happy Brotherhood Day video too got many things right- the natural bonding of bikers cutting across bikes, geographies, cultures and even brands, featuring rival Royal Enfield. The campaign was true to the principles of content marketing.
SVP & Head-Marketing, Digital and Direct Sales, Max Bupa Health Insurance
The Valentine Day TVC of Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk has strong synergy with the brand essence and the proposition that it’s too difficult to resist Cadbury Silk. Here the situation of two puppeteers is refreshingly different and the chaos created in the puppet show due to their inability to resist the temptation towards Cadbury Silk adds tremendous drama to the script. Another ad I like is Nerolac’s ‘Unhe ghar bulake to dekho’ featuring Shah Rukh Khan - good use of a celebrity by a brand, based on strong consumer insight and product is central to the communication. The ‘Sheron Ke Panje’ ad by Dettol has very effectively kept children at the core of their strategy to spread awareness about cleanliness and hygiene.
Chief Marketing Officer, Kokuyo Camlin