Top ten ADS of 2009

Written by fe Bureau | Updated: Dec 30 2009, 05:28am hrs
The year 2009 delivered the best and the worst for the advertising industry. The first half of the year saw companies holding on to their purse strings tightly given the tough economic scenario followed by the meltdown that began in the US in 2008, the second half, however, brought in the much needed recovery with the sprouting of greenshoots all around. Companies, more confident of an imminent recovery, began spending on their marketing and promotions to humour the sullen consumers.

Yet, the advertising industry is expected to have grown by a mere 2% in 2009. While the traditional media platforms such as television, print, and outdoor were badly hit by the cut in ad spends, digital media seems to have benefited as some key categories of advertisers shifted their spends to the cheaper online and other digital platforms. Digital ad spends are expected to have grown around 30-40% this year.

The good news in 2009 was the general elections and the Indian Premier League. The two events gave a much-needed fillip to the industry at large.

Shrinking ad budgets and the overall dismal economic environment, however, did not deter the flow of creativity. The year saw several clutter breaking advertisements with a good blend of fresh ideas and solid implementation. BrandWagon brings you some of the best television campaigns of 2009, shortlisted with the help of an eminent panel comprising six top honchos of the advertising industry.

Interestingly, most of the winning entries were part of long running campaigns, constructed around a common theme. It goes to the credit of the creative minds behind these ads that they managed to keep up the creative quotient with every subsequent commercial launched in the series.

The top three campaigns in our list comprise the Zoozoo series of Vodafone, Tata Tea's Jaago Re and Ideas Walk When You Talk campaigns. We also speak with the creative heads behind these commercials to understand what helped them top the charts. Read on.

The Attack Of Aliens

Campaign/COMPANY : Zoozoo series/Vodafone

Agency : Ogilvy & Mather

These egg-headed mascots of telecom services provider Vodafone won the hearts and minds of millions of Indians when they made their appearance on television screens during the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Created by the companys longstanding advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, which earlier conceived celebrated ads like the pug series or the animated boy-girl series, the zoozoos gave a new edge to brand Vodafone. The company has recently launched the second set of Zoozoo commercials.

However, there's a twist in the tale. Cashing in on the zoozoo frenzy, the company has licensed the zoozoos to Shoppers Stop for retail merchandising. The product portfolio includes T-shirts, cups, kidswear, bed spreads and bath furnishing. And thats not all. Vodafone, through a contest, is now inviting creative minds to create new zoozoo ads. So while the old zoozoo campaign bagged an Effies 2009 award and is expected to win many more laurels in months to come, the ad contest winners will keep the surprise element going in the new year.

Ringing In A New Idea

Campaign/COMPANY : Walk when you talk/Idea Cellular

Agency : Lowe Lintas

Starting off with brand ambassador Abhishek Bachchan as a doctor who discovers how people can get fit by simply walking while talking as he responds to a journalists query on whether technology was making people lazy and unfit, Ideas latest campaign carries on with its socially relevant messaging. Ideas new campaign suggests that if talktime equals walktime for mobile users, their fitness scores can go up. The campaign has several TVCs, all showing people walking while talking on their mobile phonesthe lady who gets out of her car and walks around it as she chats, the father who exhorts his son to continue walking, and so on. The tag line: Ek Idea pe chal padega India. Idea has also set up a range of innovative outdoor and digital initiatives around this campaign. It has a dedicated website,, a Facebook application called Walk when you talk and a virtual character, Zac, portrayed as a young, cool and lethargic person, who chats on his mobile and wants to stay fit.

The Wake Up Call

Campaign/COMPANY : Jaago Re/Tata Tea

Agency : Lowe Lintas

The Jaago Re campaign has been there for a few years, but in 2009 with the general elections, the series hit the nail on the wall. Taking off from its earlier advertisements, which questioned a politician on his qualifications and exhorted people to wake up and vote, the new series talked about corrupt officials. The TVC titled Aaj Se Khilana Bandh, Pilana Shuru, showed several instances of corruption at worka clerk counting rupee notes, a ticket inspector on a train accepting bribe from a passenge, and others. The ad ends with two boys asking: But do you realise, why do people accept bribes Thats because we offer them one. One of them puts a cup of tea in front of the corrupt clerk and says, Aaj se khilana bandh, pilana shuruTata Tea peeyo aur kaam karo

(No bribing from now on. Drink Tata Tea and do your work).

Message For The Messenger

Campaign/COMPANY : The postman ad/Cadbury

Agency : Ogilvy & Mather

Chocolates are meant to celebrate joyous occasions and Cadbury Dairy Milks TV spot around Diwali did just that with a twist. The TVC features two postmen surprised when they see the usual festive fervour missing in a colony on Diwali. They intentionally drop letters in the wrong houses. The prank works as people come out to celebrate Diwali. The tag line: Iss Diwali Aap Kise Khush Karenge (Whom will you make happy this Diwali).

Aimed at influencing people to celebrate Diwali beyond their homes, this ad takes the advantage of its product positioning by associating itself with small and big happinesses of life and is very Indian in approach. The TV commercial was supported by a 360 campaign to intensify the engagement with the consumers through print, radio, on-ground and online.The brand has launched a website to make the best of this occasion.

Sticking It Out

Campaign/COMPANY : Moochwaali/Pidilite Industries

Agency : Ogilvy and Mather

Fevicols Moochwaali ad to celebrate 50 years of the adhesive brands bond with the ordinary Indian has the signature Piyush Pandey touch.

O& Ms earlier campaigns for Fevicol have won it many awardsAbby, Cannes, Clio, Asian Ad Awards and many more - and the latest Moochwaali ad looks certain to win more laurels.

The black and white ad film, depicts a little girl who is unable to shake off a moustache pasted on her upper lip during a play. The film traces her life, through her childhood, wedding, motherhood, death and finally rebirth, where she is reborn with the moustache again.

The message, of course, is that what is stuck with Fevicol remains so for life, and thereafter. The ad closes with the tag line, 50 Saal Se Champion.

Let The Chips Fall

Brand/COMPANY : Bingo!/ITC Foods

Agency : Ogilvy and Mather

As always humour is the lead emotion in any Bingo! commercial. Since the first ad promoting Bingo Mad Angles Achari Masti, which showed scientists agonising over three identical triangles, the chips brand from ITC Foods has taken the humour route to tickle the funny bone of audiences.

The latest TVC features a young boy and girl trying to communicate with each other from their respective balconies. The girl is munching on a packet of Bingo! Red Chilli Bijli chips. The boy tries to calm her by using various gestures as well as complements. When she finally smiles, he asks her to give him a flying kiss, after much reluctance she eventually blows him a kiss and he happily tucks it into his shirt pocket. As soon as he does that his pocket catches fire, the reason being the girl had been eating Bingo! Red Chilli Bijli chips.

Love Connection

Campaign/COMPANY : Balan-Madhavan/Bharti Airtel

Agency : Rediffusion Y&R

With Bollywood actors Vidya Balan and R Madhavan playing a lovey-dovey couple, this series struck an emotional connect with its viewers. The first of the ads shows Madhavan travelling out of town, returning to an empty hotel room, and calling Balan again and again, taking advantage of Airtels low STD rates. In another, husband Madhavan returning home is gently quizzed by his wife whether he has sent money to papa. And in the third, Balan does a check list of bills to be paid while on a train, on which Madhavan surreptiously clicks on his mobile to make the payment. The muted nature of the ads and the real conversations make these TVCs stand out. Surprisingly, for Madhavan who is primarily a South India based actor, the campaign saw him connect with audiences across India and bring the brand closer to them.

Game For It

Brand/COMPANY : Thums Up/Coca-Cola India

Agency : Leo Burnett

The latest Thums Up ad came on air around the time Fear Factor: Khatron Ki Khiladi 2 was telecast on general entertainment channel Colors and exploited the connect between Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar and his stunts.

In this TVC, Kumar is unperturbed when his car breaks down; he is happy to have his Thums Up. A woman asks why he cant drink something else. He gives her the Thums Up bottle to know what makes it irreplaceable.

The tag line: Taste the thunder. The premise of I will do anything for my thunder is taken to the next level in this TVC, which without showing any stunts, implies Kumars daredevil attitude whe it comes to getting his Thums Up.

One of the earlier ads showcased the twin avataars of Kumar competing for their bottle of Thums Up.

Endearing Stains

Campaign/COMPANY : Daag Achche Hain/HUL

Agency : Lowe Lintas

For Hindustan Unilevers premium detergent Surf Excel, the Daag Achche Hain (Stains are good) series has always struck a chord with viewers.

The latest advertisement showed a little boy jumping around like a puppy and playing in the dirt to draw a smile from his teacher who has just lost her pooch. Another ad in the series had a little boy at a wedding who was dismayed to see his best clothes smeared with coloursall of these have that special touch enabling the brand to bond with the target consumer, which is the mother, or the lady of the house.

The commercials all end with the customary tagline: Agar daag lagne se kuchch achcha hota hai, toh daag achche hai (If the stains lead to good things, then the stains are good).

Holds true for Surf Excel and Lowe, at least.

Wooing Couch Potatoes

Campaign/COMPANY : Aamir Khan series/Tata Sky

Agency : Ogilvy & Mather

Tata Skys ad campaign has been able to use brand ambassador Aamir Khans histronic ability to the maximum effect.

Many of Tata Skys ads have showcased Khan in different avataarsfrom a smooth talking husband to wife Gul Panag, explaining the various features of the DTH brand to the cantakerous Sardarji who gives away the Tata Sky set-top box to the one where he advises parents to record cartoon shows for their kids.

In the latest TVC, he plays a ventriloquist with a puppet in his hand infusing life into Tata Skys Actve service. The campaign encompasses the comical squabbles of Aamir and the puppet, as they showcase the benefits of Actve services of Tata Sky.