With Diwali around the corner, we got a few industry folks together to share their plans for Diwali, their most vivid childhood memories around the festival and their favourite festive ads
Babita Baruah, senior vice president and head, PO1 Unit, J. Walter Thompson
Diwali this year: Every year, I try and share something meaningful with people around me who support us in our everyday life with gift hampers, sets of clothes or something special for their kids. This year, I will do the same.
Childhood memory: My childhood memory is of Diwali in Digboi, Assam. My father would build a makeshift gate by propping up two banana plants with bamboo. We would buy clay diyas in hundreds as Digboi had sprawling bungalows. My mother said the spirits of the dead are going back to heaven and we bid farewell to them with lights. I would think of my late grandparents and say a silent goodbye. A few years later, my father passed away. Diwali was never the same again.
Favourite festive campaign: The Gharwali Diwali campaign we made for PepsiCo in 2014. It was about homecoming during Diwali and reminded people that no technology can replace that doorbell ring and family togetherness.
Raj Nayak, CEO — Hindi mass entertainment, Viacom18
Diwali this year: For me, lighting diyas, wearing traditional Indian clothes and having a feast with friends
and family is the highlight. Personally, I am for a noise-free and pollution-free Diwali so will do my best to educate as many people as I can about it.
Childhood memory: When I was about eight years old, I decided to burn a cracker without my parents’ knowledge and supervision and it almost burst in my hands. Also, while we were growing up, there was a cracker that looked like a garlic (don’t know what it was called) and on throwing it against a surface, it used to explode. We used to scare people by throwing it next to their feet.
Favourite festive campaign: I love the Coca-Cola festive campaigns. Injected with very simple yet deep-rooted emotions, they actually put a smile on your face, year on year.
Kunal Jeswani, CEO, Ogilvy & Mather India
Diwali this year: Diwali is always about family time. The house is lit up, there’s puja at home and at one of our family offices and the usual festive
celebrations in the colony. This year, however, is different. We missed out on a family vacation this summer, since I was working through the summer, so we are going for a little holiday in Turkey over the Diwali break.
Childhood memory: One Diwali, we had gone to Manoribel, a wonderful little hotel on Manori beach. I remember lighting crackers on the beach with some of my cousins. There was hardly any light around, it was dark and starlit and it was beautiful to see the crackers light up the sky.
Favourite festive campaign: The Cadbury Dairy Milk Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye campaign because it was so strategic. It was so much more than just a festive campaign and yet fit beautifully into any festive season.
Anupriya Acharya, CEO, Publicis Media India
Diwali this year: I went to Dubai to meet my mom, sister and niece this Dussera. Might plan a trip somewhere for
Diwali too as it’s a decent four-day break.
Childhood memory: Every year it was the same with crackers being the highlight. However, ahead of crackers there were hundreds or so chores to finish! We had to pluck marigold flowers from the garden for puja, prepare diyas and place them all around. Then came puja followed by a special dinner with bharwan kachori, matar paneer, halwa et al. And finally we got to cracker time! And lastly, there was an after-party too — the next morning. We used to be out first thing in the cold winter morning to find all the un-burst crackers and that ensured another great evening -minus all the chores and rituals of the day gone by.
Favourite festive campaign: Not really a festival, but I loved the Mauka Mauka ads for ICC World Cup earlier
Satbir Singh, founder & CCO, Thinkstr
Diwali this year: After working for two decades in various network agencies, this is the first year of independence for me with Thinkstr. This Diwali, therefore, is quite significant. The diyas in office will be brighter and the laddoos, sweeter.
Childhood memory: Mom and dad used to make matthis and two types of barfis (besan and nariyal) at home. We three brothers used to contribute by dye-cutting matthis with a small glass and embedding three-four gol-mirch in each. Oh, and stupid memories too like launching handheld rockets instead of from bottles.
Favourite festive campaign: Cadbury’s has been creating some lovely festival campaigns. Meetha is synonymous with it now.
Priti Nair, founder, Curry-Nation
Diwali this year: When we were kids, Diwali used to be about waking up at 5am and having Nescafe (coffee was a special Diwali treat). Mom used to put the traditional paste (ubtan) on our body after which, as per rituals, we crushed the rakshasa fruit before having a bath at 5.30am with Mysore Sandal Soap. As we grew up and started staying on our own, the thrill of getting early and following the morning tradition slowly vanished. We don’t do it anymore. So this year, to turn things around, I am planning to get my sisters and nieces together and perhaps stay the night at mom’s and relive the old days.
Childhood memory: The smell of Nescafé being made by mom in the kitchen while we snuggled in our blankets. Then the smell of Mysore Sandal Soaps that were brought out especially for Diwali.
Favourite festive campaign: The one we did for Loksatta Ganesh Utsav — ‘Who will be Mumbaicha Raja?’ We took top angle maps of different areas of Mumbai and the versatility of the Ganesha is such that you just see his formation in the most surprising spaces.
S Yesudas, MD & co-founder, triggerbridge
Diwali this year: This is my first Diwali after I took the daring step of chasing the unagency dream. This year’s Diwali coincides with the wedding of my nephew in Kerala. So it will be a different sort of celebration with my mother, cousins and some childhood friends.
Childhood memory: The vivid memory is of it being an occasion to get a good body massage from my mother. Most children of my age then played few rounds of kabaddi in oil-soaked bodies, before jumping into the village pond for a swimming competition. That was followed by a sumptuous feast and firecracker competitions in the evening. The only thing I collected and saved money for back then was to buy firecrackers.
Favourite festive campaign: Cadbury’s, Tanishq and Asian Paints.
Pratap Bose, founding partner & chairman, Social Street
Diwali this year: The traditions around the festival are usually the same every year. Yes, we at the Bose home do get a bit creative in the themes around the parties for friends, which are great fun.
Childhood memory: My earliest Diwali childhood memory was watching my dad and his friends sit out on our huge balcony in Jamshedpur, while they mixed the various chemical powders and put them in earthen pots. In those days the family used to make all the fireworks themselves and I used to wait for them to test-fire a few to see if they were going off properly in preparation for the big Diwali night.
Favourite festive campaign: I think the current Amazon Diwali campaign has a lot of heart in it. It moves away from the traditional gifting sentiment amongst family members to the ones who really keep the house going, like the dhobi or the driver.
-Compiled by Team BrandWagon