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By: Boing - Focus

An astronaut in a space station is about to have a meal when he realises his homemade pickle is over. As he exclaims that, the word goes out to Earth, which is then shown going in a tizzy. Newspapers say ‘No spice in space’, loud news channel anchors sensationalise the subject, the Prime Minister mulls sending the pickle in a rocket and a celebrity calls to ban pickle at a press conference. As the astronaut ‘Babloo’s’ mother watches this, she fixes five ground fans in her yard, facing upwards, and creates a whirl which carries her domestic help, Ramu kaka up to the space station with the pickle. ‘Mind blowing’, the copy at the end reads.

There is advertising that polishes and packages its product... and then there is advertising that lights a rocket under it for it to explode in stunning colours in the sky. Pune based public company Finolex, often a generic name for pipes and cables, has entered a brand new category – fans, a month after its founder PP Chhabria passed away.

Hyperbole in advertising is one of the oldest tropes, and among the riskier ones too. It treads on the thin line of cleverness and stupidity, and often the audience feels it’s the latter. It is best practiced in India by Fevicol, whose spots have been giving the product superpowers since the past two decades and leading to hilarious results. For Finolex to announce its entry, it had to do a Fevicol.

And it did well. The story of ‘Babloo the astronaut’ is a 150-second slapstick film with a beginning, middle and a climax. It has a hero and a funny situation too, and a desi one at that. ‘What happens if an astronaut runs out of pickle in space?’ might not sound like a premise to sell fans but herein lies the brilliance.

The over-reaction of the world to Babloo’s predicament is the meat of the commercial, and is produced well. It features a Times of India lookalike, a Times Now lookalike and my favourite, a Rakhi Sawant lookalike who calls a press conference to ban everything – and later takes a selfie. Ear to the ground! That said, there are at least three to four shots which don’t say anything new and the TVC would be crisper.

The spot isn’t a commentary on our times but simply a build-up to a hilarious climax. Just like the Fevicol ads threw a terrific visual punchline toward the end, Finolex reveals after a big build-up that the secret to a ‘Ramu Kaka’ flying in space to deliver pickle is actually the power of a few of its fans. This is like the climax of Kung Fu Hustle, only in reverse.

End of June is a wrong time to introduce a fan range but who cares, this is India, right? Well done Finolex, now you have Havell’s brilliant spots to match up to.


(To watch this spot, enter this link into your browser - bit.ly/finolexTVC)


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