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IMPACT presents the admakers behind ten most memorable ads from the year gone by and who we think will do wonders in 2022

Every year some heroes are created in the advertising business. Some shine for the sheer novelty they bring to the ad industry, others for driving the brand’s message through humour or emotional connect. The pathbreaking ideas by these creative geniuses make the audience sit up and take notice of not just their work but also the brand. Year after year, IMPACT has chosen the most memorable ads from the year gone by and interviewed the ad makers who have contributed in bringing it the popularity it earned and rightly deserved. Some of these ads have gone viral while some have brought home a strong sense of nostalgia with a twist. We present to you the Creative Stars of the ad world whose work has set new standards for the industry, done wonders for the brand, and who we need to watch out for in 2022 as well.

‘Bhima ad was a utopian story presented authentically’

“In India everyone collects jewellery for their kids, it is not only a gift but a sign of acceptance. The client (Gayatri and Navya Suhas), who was doing his first project with us, wanted us to create an evocative ad to represent the transgender community, as the market they operate in—Kerala is ahead of other states as far as trans rights are concerned. So, we thought why not link the action of gifting jewellery in different stages of her journey as a sign of the parents’ acceptance of their child’s coming out and the culmination of it in her marriage.

About me

I have 20 years of experience in advertising, during which I have worked for a shockingly small number of agencies including DDB Mudra and JWT. The latter being my last port of call before joining my ex Art partner, Kunel, at Animal as a Senior Partner. During my career I have worked as creative director, writer and proof-checker on accounts like Budweiser, CRED, Philips, HBO, Unicef, Airtel, Nokia, Microsoft, Kitkat, Munch, Milkybar, Hike, Jeevansaathi, Engage Deos, Times of India, Boost, and Tinder.

‘We knew it was an idea whose time has come’

Q] The #GoodLuckGirls ad campaign is the most loved one from 2021 by people from all walks of life, were you all on the same page as far as conceptualisation of this ad is concerned?
Sukesh: One thousand percent in sync. In fact, all of us, including Piyush, were on the same page from the day we heard the idea from the team. We all knew this is an idea whose time has come and it must be done.

What weighed on you more, the pressure of recreating a masterpiece or the thrill of creating something for the new age?
Kainaz: When we reimagine an iconic piece it will always come with the stress of being rejected. So, the pressure was very real but it was the good kind of pressure. Plus, we had a fabulous partner in Bob from Good Morning Films so we knew that no effort would be spared.

What was the client’s advice to you, what kind of role did they play in the making of this ad?
Sukesh: “This is a fabulous idea, an idea that must be done. Be brave and have fun.” --these were the exact words of Anil Viswanathan and the Mondelez team. And that encouraged us to move ahead and execute this fearlessly.

What was the most exciting part about shooting this ad?
Sukesh: Casting for the ad and then recreating the epic dance. I think these two were the most exciting parts.

What kind of impact do you feel it has had on the masses?
Harshad: The love received by #GoodLuckGirls was beyond what we could have asked for. Our families started receiving it in their WhatsApp groups within hours of its release. Young kids were posting and reposting it. Social media pages were picking it up organically and sharing it with pride. It was truly satisfying to see the response.

Any interesting anecdotes from the sets, or behind the scenes story?
Kainaz: The day Sukesh was at the shoot was the day Bob was shooting the last romantic shot between the boy and the girl. It seems the boy kept blushing every time they shared the chocolate and strangely that was the shot the needed the maximum takes, not the dance!.

The best comment you have received for the campaign?
Harshad: Someone sent us a picture of a Cadbury Dairy Milk they had just bought with a message - saw your ad and got this! Nothing can beat that sweet compliment.

‘I have hated celebrity led advertising, except in
Cred’s case’

“I have always hated celebrity led advertising, I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole given a chance, and never have. But Cred was different, for the first series it had celebrities desperate to audition for a Cred ad with ridiculous songs in it and the second one had an ‘angry’ Rahul Dravid, the idea seemed refreshing to me as opposed to shoving something in their hands and making them say good things about the brand and the whole world dying of boredom. It seemed like a different genre, unlike what we culturally do in India. I personally like making fun of other people and vice versa. And for the ad, Tanmay and team came up with 50-60 jokes from which we chose the funniest 10, for the 12 second long Dravid part.

Kunal Shah, our client gave us a lot of space despite the fact that it is not a safe ad at all.
It was very scary because everybody knew Rahul Dravid can’t act. I always insist on rehearsals before going for the shoot, because I like to prep my actors, more so in this case. But Dravid couldn’t make it. I met him literally half an hour before the shoot. And so, I sat inside the vanity van with him and unfortunately Tanmay who manages to break the ice well (because I feel most celebrities try to impress him to sound cool), was also late. So, I told Dravid about the idea and acted out three lines, and later while shooting I was so surprised that he just imitated me blindly. His first take was on-point. I told him that you are having a fight and started shouting at him from one side, he was so shocked that he started screaming back, everybody started laughing and his confidence also rose from there. Dravid was so shy and well behaved that he would profusely apologize even if a word like ‘shit’ came out of his mouth. Slowly his energy started waning, after all for how long can you keep screaming in the middle of traffic, so we technically had shot the film in Mumbai in two hours. Next thing we know is that we are trending on twitter. Soon after Dravid met Kunal and said, “Please tell Ayappa and Tanmay that initially I was not sure how it would turn out but it looks good.”
I never take selfies with stars but my mom wanted one with Dravid so I took one with him which made her very proud. She even put it as her Whatsapp display picture and sent it to the family Whatsapp group and now I am well respected there.
I know in the industry, there were people who questioned our approach for the Cred ad saying advertising is not just a joke, quoting Philip Kotler and the old marketing rulebook, how advertising must help a brand in the long term. Not sure if it scared them a little bit. But I feel anything that makes you better, creates jealousy and insecurity is great for the system. Also, overall as far as the client is concerned, it was just very refreshing to see fearlessness and complete faith in what we were doing.
And I just wish there was more work like Cred which makes that big statement for advertising in an era where everyone is taking things so seriously and where brands are being built or destroyed with something as simple as a twitter post, so it appears like everything must be politically correct, but everything doesn’t need to have been done before. It doesn’t need to make you comfortable. It should disturb you a little bit, just as how hopefully Cred has disturbed a lot of people.”

About me

I direct commercials documentaries and television series. My work has been highly awarded at both Indian and international festivals including Cannes and D&AD. Known for my offbeat directing style and unusual casting, I am currently a partner at Earlyman film, Mumbai.

‘The comments from the trolls was an absolute vindication’

“This was one of those lucky coincidences where the client gave us a very open brief and said, we just want to do something on women empowerment for Women’s Day. We thought of looking at it from a different point of view ---who are the people who have a problem with women empowerment--- and the answer smacked us in the face. Sadly, it’s the men, there is this very macho need to protect women often couched as I’m protecting my sister, my mother or my wife. There is an inherent sexism in that itself, in fact the concept of Rakshabandhan also preaches the same. So, we thought, why not attack that? Being an education brand, we needed a connection to learning, so we considered talking about teaching young kids at an age where they are impressionable. I shared it with my boss, Puneet who loved it instantly. When we presented it to the client, we went with just one idea as we were very confident of it making an impact.

About me

In a career spanning 12 years, I have worked at Lowe Lintas, Contract Advertising etc. I have worked on campaigns like Domino’s, Jockey, Acer laptops, Flipkart, Tanishq, Britannia, Walkaroo, the MPL launch, TVS, and Unacademy.

‘We touched something never talked about before – Finance & Women’

“I have always had a financial bent through my growing up years. Once I had gone to buy a plot and met a broker. I explained to him the monetary aspects involved. He listened to me patiently for about a good five minutes, and then in a simple line added, “Ma’am, bring an elder person with you tomorrow.” He didn’t literally mean someone ‘elder’ he meant a ‘man’ because he was uncomfortable talking money with me. A few years later, a man from an insurance company visited me. After preliminary conversations, when I asked him to get to the topic of discussing investment opportunities, he came back with a blunt question, “Your husband won’t join us.” So, in this country, unfortunately it is assumed that money matters are going to be a man’s domain. The reason, I think, is somewhere women also assume that it’s okay to work hard and earn money, but the money must be put in the safe custody of the father, husband or brother to invest. I started to do my research and this marked the beginning of the campaign for Paytm.

About me

A movie buff fluent in many languages, a traveller who loves to see many new places, I am currently the National Creative Director at Dentsu Impact, Delhi. I am leading teams on the prestigious account of Maruti Suzuki. Prior to that I have worked in a number of agencies like Cheil India, JWT, Draft FCB, Rediffusion Y&R, Euro RSCG and Lowe’s.

‘Someone told me this campaign is so non-advertising’

“For me the information that sexual harassment can happen in a work-from-home environment was extremely shocking and equally disgusting as it just reflects the sick mentality of certain people. But we didn’t want to show the negativity as the pandemic world was as it is engulfed in pessimism. We wanted to show hope and tell stories of people who are bringing a positive change in someone’s life and just how simple that can be. For example, how we depicted it in the Laadli WFH film, just reappearing in the virtual call to support the girl who was being harassed. In times when people were losing jobs, having someone stand by you so that you can fight for what’s right became extremely motivating. So, the idea of the campaign was hope and through it we were urging people to rekindle hope that most of us had lost during the pandemic.
I first shared this idea with Amjad who was heading Mullen Delhi then. He instantly loved it and agreed that we need to instil hope through this campaign. The client was team Laadli and UNFPA led by Dr Shaarda. In fact everyone loved the idea of spreading positivity even as we show the stark reality through the film. It was like seeing a story of a hopeless world and then a ray of light comes at the end as a pleasant surprise.

About me

I started my career with Lintas Group back in 2001. Since then, I have worked with Bates, Publicis, Lowe, Mudra, McCann and Contract on Brands like Nescafe, Coke, Nestle Maggi, Domino’s Pizza, Dabur, Maruti Suzuki,Havells ICICI Bank, Bajaj automobiles, Star Plus, Milton, MP Tourism and Rajasthan Tourism.

‘We used professionals to do the stunts in the ad’

“We’ve been working with Livspace for a little more than a year before we came up with this campaign. A common belief is that when it comes to home interiors, people just think about good looks. As a reference, they show the designs of good cabinets from the internet to their contractors, who, in turn, instruct carpenters to make a replica of any piece of furniture shown in the picture.
Livspace, as a brand, offers a more holistic solution. The designers not only ideate fascinating interiors but also make each component functionally efficient. Ahead of the campaign, ‘don’t try this at home’, our client came to us with a suggestion that they want to “move away from just talking about the unorganized sector and highlight the functional benefits we can provide.”

About me

In 2015, I left my job in the field of defence and space research to pursue a career in writing. Since then, I’ve written across multiple formats and mediums such as advertising, digital content, and TV. My favourite part of the writing process is problem solving using the creative craft as my tools.

‘My dad quit smoking when I was born, we used that insight in Nicotex ad’

“We have been working with Nicotex since the past couple of years now. ‘We believe you can’ was a campaign where we wanted to deliver the message from a smoker’s point of view and not pester them saying, “Hey man, just quit.” Being a smoker, I know that it becomes very irritating when someone comes and pesters me to quit smoking.

About me

After getting a bachelor’s degree in economics I decided to go into advertising because one can’t be too creative with economics. I started out with Ogilvy Gurgaon and then went on to work for McCann, Creativeland Asia, Happy Creative Services before joining Spring Marketing Capital. My work has been recognized on various platforms and I have won awards at D&AD Impact (shortlist) Goafest Gold, Silver, bronze

‘We made the ad because men feel uneasy talking about periods’

The idea came up because of the fact that men don’t talk about periods. For example, I come from a proud, well-educated and for all intents and purposes, progressive Bengali family. But still my dad and I don’t ever discuss the topic of periods. Men just do not want to indulge in these conversations. The brand Stayfree’s agenda was to normalize the subject of periods. So particularly owning occasions, like Daughter’s Day, etc. is very apt for that.
I was bowled over when I discovered that the brand Stayfree was led by men which I think is so progressive because they were so normal regarding conversations on menstruation and sanitary pads; and were discussing it like any other activity under the sun. So, except the team that works on this brand in which gender really doesn’t divide, every man you speak to however progressive will feel uneasy. There will be a little giggle and an awkward pause. This behavior is not because they don’t know what is happening or are ashamed. It is because it is considered a subject of women, for women and by women. So, men don’t even get into it. But when the society normalizes the entire menstruation process, it would be a better and easier conversation to have and there wouldn’t be the labels, of shame and guilt associated with it.
When we took up this idea to the client which was meant for Father’s Day, the client insisted that we do it for Daughter’s Day. There was no selling required as the client was enthusiastic about it just the way we were and really felt that the idea of parenting being an equal job, even menstruation and the discussion about it should be. Both parents must ensure that a young girl is at ease to discuss topics of menstruation and health.

About me

I am currently the Creative Head of West at DDB Mudra in India, having worked at Taproot Dentsu, Saatchi & Saatchi, JWT and Grey previously. In the industry for 18 years now, my client roster includes global names such as Facebook, Instagram, J&J, Unilever, P&G, Uber, General Mills, Pepsi, American Tourister, Airtel etc

‘The Rizwan ad represented the situation during pandemic’

“The Rizwan ad in all honesty is a very truthful reflection of what was happening around the country. The first film- Pooja Didi sort of set the tone for the next ad in the series. In this one there is this boy called Rizwan who has lost his parents, there is the context of Eid and a protagonist of the story, a stubborn old woman who doesn’t want to get vaccinated. It was on the premise that senior citizens either lack the resources or have a general resistance to getting vaccinated.
The work on brand Facebook in general and the Rizwan film in particular has been led by Neeraj and team. The Rizwan film was conceived by him and then augmented by many others including Pallavi Chakravarti and of course, Shimit. Our relationship with Facebook is such that there is no schedule in terms of ad delivery, if a great idea strikes us, we can sort of make a call to them and execute it.

About me

Having come from diverse industries and functions from manufacturing and education marketing to automobile and hardware sales, I have both - the advantage and the disadvantage of not being ‘born and brought up in advertising’ kind. I think that today, more than ever, we need to not just comprehend the complex maze of the online and offline worlds and how consumers, brands and communication can navigate it, but also simplify it to a level that is easy to get and can be effectively actionable. Else we are at risk of over-thinking, over-analysis and over-burdening both - brands as well as consumers.


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