Good & not so good

Updated: Nov 6 2012, 08:22am hrs
Team Brandwagon picks up some outstanding and some ordinary ads released this festive season

[ Cadbury Celebrations ]

The Catalystv Campaign: Saath khao khushiyan badhao

* Brand:Coca Cola

* Company: Coca-Cola India

* Agency: McCann Erickson

The Ad

The film shows different families bonding over at the dinner table and Coca-Cola quietly playing the role of a catalyst. The script is essentially based on an old idea that eating together bolsters familial ties. The ad captures moments of happiness and joy among family members who are seen cracking and sharing jokes and telling each other stories and sipping Coca-Cola alongside. In the background plays a score that captures the essence of togetherness.

Our Take

This particular campaign doesnt really endorse Diwali but completely fits the mould of festivities and lives up to Coca-Colas larger proposition of Open Happiness. The basic premise of the ad is that happy moments are better spent together or vice versa, that being together adds to happiness. It is an extremely simple yet brilliant thought that captures the essence of festivities. Saath khao, khushiyan badhao again is a simple tagline in tune with the mood around Diwali when families get together and eating, drinking and making merry are the only things on ones agenda. The most brilliant aspect of the ad, however, is the quiet presence of Coca-Cola on the dining table. It is just one of the characters that play their part in communicating the joy of togetherness and hence, drives an immediate connect.

[ VODAFONE ]

I Want It That Wayv Campaign: Vodafone Tailor

* Brand: Vodafone

* Company: Vodafone India

* Agency: Ogilvy India

The Ad

The television commercial shows a bevy of girls all making a beeline for the local tailor (masterji). Their demands are varied. One wants an anarkali cut while another wants a kurta with a Chinese collar. Theres a girl who doesnt care what cut the masterji gives her as long as she looks slim. Theres another who wants her attire to be like Rani Mukherjees.

Someone wants a sweetheart neckline while another wants some razzmatazz with ghungroo beads. Vodafones new ad drives home the point that different people have different needs (Alag log, alag zaroorte as the voiceover says) and it is possible to get a plan customised for each one. The voiceover goes: Dial 121 from your Vodafone number for customised plans.

Our Take

Its an incredibly simple idea and yet beautifully told. The brand has a real talent for picking up the small threads of life, and transforming them into magical, captivating stories. The commercial is aptly tailored (pun intended) for the Diwali season. Most Indian women would relate to the ad because this is a season where everyone is finicky about their clothes. There are long queues at tailor shops and the tailors find themselves overwhelmed with the business of styles, cuts, sleeves and neck-lines.

The end objective is, of course, to carve out the picture-perfect festival dress. Very similar to Vodafone which aims to give its customers the picture-perfect customised package. The message is conveyed in the most endearing way. Vodafone loves its customers and tries its best to accommodate their every demand, even the most ludicrous ones. There is no doubt that Vodafone has once again stumbled on a great slice-of-life and used it perfectly for the festive season. The commercial hits bulls eye and entertains all the way. In the festive ads parade, this is the one true anarkali.

[ Bombay Dyeing ]

Visual Defectv

* Campaign: Celebrating India

* Brand: Bombay Dyeing

* Company: Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing Co.

* Agency: Law & Kenneth

The Ad

The new Bombay Dyeing film is a montage of colours, motifs and designs such as rangoli associated with the festival of Diwali. This is merged with the designs for the bed and linen collection launched by the company in this season. The film ends with the tagline Celebrating India.

Our Take

While the idea of using festive motifs in their collection is nice, the film is quite average. The montages of colours and design and their merging into the bed linen collection does not look spectacular nor stands out. It takes the most basic elements of festivals such as Diwali, etc., like so many other ads released during this season are doing. It will be just one amongst many.

[ cadbury celebrations ]

Sweet Action

* Campaign: Toh iss diwali aap kise khush karenge

* Brand: Cadbury Celebrations

* Company: Cadbury India (Part of Mondolez International)

* Agency: Contract Advertising

The Ad

The new Cadbury Celebrations ad shows a foreigner, Steve, feeling a bit out of place on his first day in an Indian company. He misses out on the inside jokes in Hindi, references to cricket and is awkward about how to use his fork and knife for Indian food. One of his Indian colleagues notices his discomfort and awkwardness. He then surprises Steve with a Cadbury Celebrations to make him a part of the Indian culture and festivities. The film ends with a VO: Toh iss diwali aap kise khush karenge.

Our Take

Cadbury Celebrations ads usually tug at the heart strings. Remember last years Lonely Maa TVC. The new TVC has a really good insight about a foreigner trying to adjust in an Indian office.

It is probably not as subtle as some of the earlier campaigns of Cadbury Celebrations including Lonely Maa and Boss and employee ad featuring Jugal Hansraj and Richa Chaddha. However, it is completely in line with Cadbury Celebrations consistent proposition over the years and clearly qualifies as one of the good festive commercials of this year.

[ Canon ]

Dirty Picture

* Campaign: What makes us click

* Brand: Canon

* Company: Canon India

* Agency: Dentsu Marcom

The Ad

Actress Anushka Sharma goes on a rampage with her candid camera. Anushka is in a house where Diwali is being celebrated and where there are a lot of young people (presumably her friends). She captures all the phuljadis and the phatakas monikers for the wild-eyed damsels who are dressing up for the festival.

She captures all the joker-facestwo male friends who are getting a facial done. And some poker faces a friend whos admiring his reflection in the glass pane. She stalks a fat friend whos trying to tuck his stomach in and in the process, his buttons pop out. Laddoo screams the voice-over. She calls herself a chakri because of her long swirling lehenga. The voiceover continues:

Anything and everything about us makes Diwali click. Canon - Delighting you always.

Our Take

A picture is meant to say a thousand words. In this case, theres an entire 30-seconder commercial that says absoloutely nothing at all. Just why should a viewer go in for a Canon What features come with a Canon camera and do these features help the brand steal a march over competitors The only thing that the commercial does is to get Anushka to capture a lot of unsuspecting people on film and even then, the scenarios just dont appear funny enough. Or striking enough. It could also border on offensive as it labels over-weight people as laddoos. So much for sensitivity. Also, the ad bears close resemblance to the Nikon ad and vice-versa. We have no idea why. Is this a coincidence Or are candid pictures the theme of the season Overall, the ad is disappointing. No twists, no turns. No surprise endings. Not even funny enough! Blink and you could miss it. Fresh-faced Anushka Sharma is a great actress but is wasted in this commercial. She could do so much more. But here she is reduced to playing Dennis the menace, tailed and tied to a free-wheeling Canon camera.

[ Dabur ]

The Blessed One

* Campaign: Dua

* Brand: Dabur Real Activ Juice

* Company: Dabur

* Agency: Law & Kenneth

The Ad

In a house lit with Diwali lights and diyas, a little girl walks up to her pregnant mother and gently touches her belly. She then says that since this is a special day, she should get some special gift for the occasion and as her grandfather tells her, the biggest gift she can give to anyone is dua (blessings). She then picks up a carton of Dabur Real Activ juice and presents it to her mother as a dua.

Our Take

Most festive ad campaigns work on a basic premise of family ties and emotions and this particular ad does too. It uses the idea of blessings as a gift which is interesting. The ad reinforces the message that Dabur Real Activ Juice is full of goodness and will do no harm, akin to blessings or gods offerings. It is a clutter breaking ad in the category and one of the better Diwali commercials this year.

[ Tanishq ]

All That Glitter

* Campaign: Diwali Gift

* Brand: Tanishq

* Company: Titan Industries

* Agency: Lowe Lintas

The Ad

The commercial shows a middle-aged married couple. The wife chances upon a Tanishq jewellery set casually kept on the bed. She looks at it in surprise and wonders who it is for. Her poker-faced husband informs her casually that it belongs to his friend Rajesh, who is giving a surprise to his wife. Could she please write a nice message (for the lady) from Rajeshs sideThe couple indulges in a dialogue on whether they should buy a set as well. The wife looks longingly at the jewellery set but is cautious. She says caustically that they should not spend extravagantly this Diwali. The husband points out that buying gold is an investment. Ignoring his remark, the wife asks him what message to write and in the process finds out that its actually her husband who has bought the jewellery for her. The voiceover goes, Khul ke manao Diwali. Yeh saal mein sirf ek hi baar aati hai.

Our Take

Great script and executed well. The commercial is under-stated and believable. The actors play their parts convincingly. This is a long-married, world-weary couple and weve seen so many of them in our everyday lives. Caution is what steers them along. They are unlikely to give into spontaneous buys. The terse, tense exchange between the couple towards the beginning of the commercial makes way for a wonderful surprise in the end. It turns out to be a charming, heart-warming story.

The ad successfully addresses a great marketing challenge. For this year, the festive season comes accompanied with its share of blues. With a slowing economy kicking at the heels, most couples are likely to exercise caution on expensive buys. Jewellery and other luxury items could potentially take a hit. Which is where Tanishq swoops in cleverly, and reminds the great Indian middle class just why they should be purchasing gold. Because gold is a significant investment. And Diwali comes only once in a year. A wonderful ad and subtly executed. The surprise element makes all the difference.

[ fastrack ]

Time Bombv Campaign: Explosive gifting

* Brand: Fastrack

* Company: Fastrack

* Agency: Lowe Lintas

The Ad

There are two films that Fastrack has released to announce the Diwali offer of flat 20% off on Fastrack watches which makes them an idea for explosive gifting during this festive season. One of the films shows a watch tied to a bomb which then explodes.

Our Take

Fastrack carries the tag and reputation of being an extremely trendy brand. Most of its ad campaigns have been quirky, trendy and clutter-breaking which appealed to its main target groupyoung people. Even though this is just a 10-12 seconder to announce the sale, it doesnt really work for the brand as it does not fall into the category of being either quirky, trendy or clutter breaking. It just uses the very literal idea of explosive in the film and fails to impress or do anything for the brand. Quite a contrast from its earlier campaigns for its watches and bags with a fun rendition of the line Move on.

[ Nokia Lumia ]

Colour Maniav

* Campaign: Celebrate Holi this Diwali with Nokia

* Brand: Nokia Lumia

* Company: Nokia India

* Agency: JWT India

The Ad

With the purchase of Nokia Lumia smartphones, customers avail the chance of getting free (colourful) accessories. The ad features actress Priyanka Chopra sitting in a car, with a friend at the wheel. Outside, fire crackers burst and rockets launch off into the night sky. Priyankas wary of the noise. She fishes for her new pink Nokia Lumia, complete with pink accessories (earphones) She plugs in her earphones and listens in to some sparkling Holi music. Her friend does the same. A friend joins them who also has earphones plugged on.

Colours go off into the night sky. Priyanka Chopra has successfully transformed Diwali into Holi this year. The voice-over goes : Get free colourful accessories with your Nokia Lumia. This Diwali, lets play Holi.

Our Take

This is one tiresome ad and theres a lot of fuss being made over colour! The ad stumbles along pointlessly; it is tacky in terms of production and in the end, youre left wondering as to what in the world was the point of it all. The pink doesnt help and the phone appears like something straight out of Toyland. Considering that this is one of the biggest festivals for India, Nokia may have been better off launching some new models of phones.

But all we have is froth and bubbles over free colourful accessories and Diwali being transformed (why) into Holi. This is not a clever idea. Not a great film. Cheesy execution. Leaves a lot to be desired. And holds no aspirational value whatsoever. A bright-spark Diwali story could have done it for the brand. But this commercial has no storyline and no punch.

The only saving grace is the musical score. Indeed, magic to the ears. But that aside, the film falls apart. Nokia is an iconic brand and unfortunately, this film did not do the brand justice.

[ nikon ]

Mad Angle

* Campaign: l like it

* Brand: Nikon Coolpix

* Company: Nikon India

* Agency: K&L Arms Communications

The Ad

Priyanka Chopra is enjoying a Diwali party hosted by her foreigner friend. Her friend asks her what she likes most about Diwali. She picks up her Nikon camera and clicks candid pictures. One picture captures a woman with a startled expression, as a fire cracker goes off. I like boom, says Chopra saucily.

She then hones in on an unsuspecting couple. They are standing in a dark corner, having a bit of a lovers tiff. She makes fun of them and says, I like bright. She then frames another moment and clicks more shots and says, I like action! A man appears from nowhere. Chopra is left pondering over what she likes next. She goes I like.... The man completes the sentence. Me, he asks hopefully. Chopra answers in the negative and her friend echoes her. Everyone laughs. The entire range of Nikon Coolpix S6300 appears on the screen.

Our Take

The commercial skims the surface and appears gimmicky and unreal. It could have done with a sharper idea, tighter script or some truly candid moments. A couple battling away during Diwali hardly makes for delightful viewing. One wonders why Priyanka Chopra would even want to capture such moments, and it doesnt inspire a chuckle in the least. The objective perhaps was to project her as a cheeky, fun-loving girl, but this is where the ad fails. Priyanka skips past the thin red line and comes across as obnoxious and annoying.

The ad grates on ones nerves and appears contrived. Nikons been riding on cliches for far too long. Maybe its time for the brand to break out of the box and go in for some truly enduring advertising. Candyfloss themes dont make much of a mark. Not even during the festive season.