Advertising’s hall of fame

By: | Updated: July 12, 2016 6:01 PM

Post Cannes Lions 2016, BrandWagon puts together a jury of seven creative stalwarts from the industry to pick out two of their favourite ads which have left an imprint on them —giving words like ‘iconic’ and ‘legendary’ a whole new meaning.

hof-LPost Cannes Lions 2016, BrandWagon puts together a jury of seven creative stalwarts from the industry to pick out two of their favourite ads which have left an imprint on them —giving words like ‘iconic’ and ‘legendary’ a whole new meaning.

The Ad: Cadbury Dairy Milk’s
‘Kya Swad Hai Zindagi Mein’
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Reviewed by:Bobby Pawar, MD and CCO, Publicis India

Description: A young lady celebrates her partner’s match winning stroke by leaping from the stands and dancing across the cricket pitch.
Review: It was the defining campaign of the mid-’90s. And it came at a crucial turning point for the brand. It was going to go from talking to kids to adults. For it to pivot like that, the idea had to be just right. And the notion of reconnecting every grown-up with their inner child was just that. The idea, the song and the girl dancing in complete abandon got etched into people’s hearts.

The Ad: Fevikwik’s ‘Fish’
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Reviewed by: Bobby Pawar, MD and CCO, Publicis India

Description: The ad shows a fisherman fishing successfully using a stick with Fevikwik on it, while another man sitting alongside, who brandishes proper fishing equipment but without a single catch to his credit, is put to shame.

Review: What makes this ad great is that it basically is a product demo. But it is also far more than that. It hilariously showcased what the brand promises. It is simple, entertaining as heck and ballsy. The premise is so far out, only a great client could buy it. The people laughed. The client laughed all the way to the bank.

The Ad: Fevicol’s ‘Pakde Rehna,Chorrna Nahi’
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

Reviewed by: Amer Jaleel, Chairman and CCO, Mullen Lintas
Description: A can of Fevicol atop a TV set ensures the hero in the movie playing on the tube, who is at a bridge hanging on for dear life, stays put. And when the can is removed, we see him lose his grip.
Review: This brand pole-vaulted several steps in its journey and an industrial product came straight into consumer homes.
Execution-wise, this film broke several ad film taboos of the time; it was real and raw unlike anything seen before it. Especially in a category where one can well imagine brand managers saying, “Because our category suffers from this imagery, we need to lift the look and feel of the film; let’s make it look premium.” I am sure this film got quoted several times in pre-production meetings. It made a brand out of the agency that created it and made a reputation for the advertising industry of the country it originated in. Pretty darn iconic to say the least!

The Ad: Thums Up’s ‘Taste the Thunder’
Agency: Ambience Advertising (now Publicis Ambience)

Reviewed by: Amer Jaleel, Chairman and CCO, Mullen Lintas
Description: The ad, part of the brand’s Taste the Thunder series, sold the drink as aspirational and zingy.
Review: It is impossible to separate Thums Up, the brand, from Thums Up, the advertising and Thums Up, the icon. History, nostalgia, birth of evolved marketing in the country, pride at being able to cock a snook at the firangs… there’s too much going on there, too much enmeshed within each other. The unearthing of the stronger cola premise in this execution, or maybe in an execution before this one is the most valuable brand asset that stands out for me. Often the idea is a word, a single word. An imaginative capturing of ‘thunder’ or in later more mass executions of toofani, entrenched the brand in public consciousness. It gave Thums Up a leg up against the exit of Coke, made you not miss it and gave you a reason to be happy that you got a better deal.

The Ad: Budweiser’s ‘Whassup’
Agency: DDB Chicago

Reviewed by: Sambit Mohanty, Creative Head, DDB Mudra North
Description: A guy’s drink that spoke to guys in a way only guys do. Budweiser married together its TG, the things they are interested in and the conversations (or not) that they have. The brand managed to coolly fit itself into their world.
Review: Whassup is iconic because it perfectly captures the bromance between beer drinkers with a simple phrase that entered pop culture. It doesn’t feel like advertising and it’s what Bud is about —friendship, camaraderie and what guys do. This idea is timeless because it’s simple, infectious and hilarious — if ‘Whassup’ runs today, it’ll go down equally well with a younger generation of beer drinkers.

The Ad: Surf’s ‘Lalitaji’
Agency: MullenLowe Lintas Group

Reviewed by: Sambit Mohanty, Creative Head, DDB Mudra North
Description: Lalitaji, a smart Indian housewife, is shown intelligently explaining her reasons for choosing Surf over other contemporaries — quality over price.
Review: David Ogilvy famously said, “The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife.” Surf’s Lalitaji is iconic because for the first time in Indian advertising, the Indian housewife was portrayed as a savvy, spunky woman who knows her mind as well as the value of every paisa. In fact, this ad inspired the creation of Rajni — one of the most recalled TV characters of that time.
I feel this ad could have recall today but only if we see Lalitaji in a new avatar —one that is more in sync with how contemporary women think and behave.

The Ad: Ericsson’s ‘One Black Coffee’
Agency: Enterprise Nexus (now merged with Bates CHI & Partners)

Reviewed by: Ramanuj Shastry, Co-founder and Director, Infectious

Description: The “Oh, were you talking to me?” scenario that anyone can relate to but to make it a product message was something this ad perfected.
Review: This ad is iconic because it’s the first Indian commercial to win at Cannes. It’s also iconic because it’s a brilliant product demo. It was ’96. I had a Nokia 6110, which was such a clunk of a phone that one could bludgeon a burglar to death with it. Mobile phone technology was very nascent and the call rates were a prohibitive R16 per minute. Piyush (Pandey) showed us this ad by Enterprise Nexus in the Ogilvy conference room. Everyone was blown away by the understated acting, brilliant casting and exquisite humour of the ad. This ad announced the arrival of the so-small-it-fits-in-your-palm mobile to a world used to doing bicep curls with theirs. It made ‘mine is smaller’ an alpha-male statement. It’s a brilliant example of how to turn the market on its head when you have tangible product differentiation. Sadly, most products have nothing new or exciting to offer. But if you do come across one that does, you can change the world as you know it, like Ericsson.

The Ad: Bajaj Auto’s ‘Hamara Bajaj’
Agency: MullenLowe Lintas Group

Reviewed by: Ramanuj Shastry, Co-founder and Director, Infectious

Description: A sense of owning something so pan-national in its appeal assured the consumer of being a part of something big.
Review: Though my eldest mama owned a Bajaj Chetak, it was never his ‘Bajaj’. It was always Hamara Bajaj. Those days very few could afford cars and Bajaj scooter was a proud banner of the arrived middle-class. The world was changing and by the late ’80s, Bajaj had become mama ke zamaane ka scooter. There was also a heady buzz about the end of the Licence Raj. It was 1989. And then, Hamara Bajaj came on my single channel colour TV and blew my mind. The jingle had the gravitas of a national anthem. The visuals, so real and relatable. Suddenly, I was proud to be a middle-class Indian. And of an Indian scooter. Even to my 20 year-old mind, the bulwark of nostalgia and collective pride against the imminent onslaught of western technology was a masterstroke. Rahul Bajaj and Team Lintas, under Alyque Padamsee’s leadership, created Hamara Bajaj. It’s a landmark campaign that to this day that long after Bajaj discontinued its line of scooters, demonstrates the emotional clout of legacy brands in good hands.

The Ad: The Independent’s ‘The Litany
Agency: Lowe London

Reviewed by: Russell Barrett, Chief Creative officer and Managing Partner, BBH India
Description: An ad that tells you what is going on or what is to be done, by listing out everything that you are told not to do. Watch it to believe it.
Review: Like any iconic ad, the craft behind this one is absolutely brilliant. The writing was an ironic take on what was happening culturally in Great Britain at the time. Still reeling from the Thatcher regime and with government, church and royal family in decline, this ad made a brilliant cultural point. But, while it was so true for its time, the idea still endures today because it emanates from a timeless, universal feeling of dissatisfaction and rebellion against a system. Its almost anthemic point makes it an ad for people who feel disenfranchised and marginalised; something that will unfortunately, never stop happening.
Air the ad today, in any market and you will still make a difference. That’s really the point of an iconic ad. Great ads travel across geographies and cultures. Iconic ads travel across
time. This ad is iconic for precisely
that reason.

The Ad: Levi’s’ ‘Laundrette’
Agency: BBH London

Reviewed by: Russell Barrett, Chief Creative officer and Managing Partner, BBH India
Description: At a laundrette, a bloke strips down to his basics, tossing his jeans in along with some stones in the washing machine, grabbing attention. The result? Stone-washed jeans by Levi’s.
Review: Levi’s at the time wasn’t the brand it is today. It was a brand in decline. BBH London had to re-launch its classic 501 stonewashed jeans and was tasked with making the brand more relevant. So what do you do? John Hegarty decided to write one of the most famous product demos ever. Naturally, it also oozed style and attitude. Simple, iconic product demos always do. Enter Nick Kamen, teen sensation, who added the perfect amount of nonchalance to the character. One of the toughest things for an ad to pull off is cool. This commercial did it with style too. More than just Levi’s sales, the sales of boxers shot through the roof. In fact in a later study, this ad is credited for reviving the boxer category too. It was also an early example of integrated marketing. Marvin Gaye’s soundtrack was re-released, this time with the Levi’s logo on the record sleeve.

The Ad: Apple Macintosh’s ‘1984’
Agency: Chiat/Day

Reviewed by: K V Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro India

Description: Bold agency pitch by any standard, bolder still for the client to run with it. Apple’s 1984 ad was all about saving humanity from conformity and leveraged being made in 1983, in addition to a daringly simple idea.
Review: There are infinite theories about why this spot is the best ever — one was for taking a dig at IBM; the other was for democratising the technology by shifting the power to the people. People even compared it to the symbolic nature of breaking Soviet Union’s cold war. The brilliance was in picking the disruptive nature of the personal computing revolution and articulating it in a single expression, ‘Why 1984 won’t be like 1984’, by the audacious Chiat/Day reciprocating to an equally audacious brief by Steve Jobs: “I want to stop the world in its tracks.”
The ad ran primarily during the Super Bowl and was directed by the legendary Ridley Scott.

The Ad: The Economist’s ‘I Never Read The Economist’
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers

Reviewed by: K V Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro India

Description: A clever yet simple ad never hurt anyone. Unless of course you are the 42 year-old trainee they are talking about. In fact, this ad inspired a tribute to its maker, David Abbott, with similar copy that went, “I never heard of David Abbott.” — Advertising trainee. Aged 42.
This homage was paid by David Nobay of Droga5 post Abbott’s demise.
Review: David Abbott, one of the best copywriters of all time, wrote some of the most memorable and intelligent lines ever. Especially the iconic The Economist one, “I never read The Economist,” a line subtly attributed to a ‘management trainee aged 42’. Perhaps no one can ever better this in either craft or intelligence or simplicity. As the legend goes: in 1984, a small British newspaper approached David (Abbott Mead Vickers) to create a campaign and the rest is history.

The Ad: Sony Bravia’s ‘Balls’
Agency: Fallon London

Reviewed by: Ashish Khazanchi, Founder and Managing Partner, Enormous Brands

Description: The ad uses the visual mnemonic of colourful balls travelling through the streets of a city. After a rather long build up, the viewer sees them converging to form the pixels of a Sony Bravia TV screen.
Review: At a superficial level,the ad is an exaggeration of a simple product fact. What was different was that it had never been done in this particular way before. The true test is that even today, it would be just as relevant and groundbreaking as when it came out. The commercial
for Sony Bravia showed that there is another aspect to advertising which can work at different levels, aside from straight up messaging.
Very few ads can get admiration by critics and consumers alike. And this particular ad managed to do so.

The Ad: Cadbury’s Gorilla
Agency: Fallon London

Reviewed by: Ashish Khazanchi, Founder and Managing Partner, Enormous Brands

Description: The ad has nothing but a gorilla. Not even the product. This one sought to ride the advertising train on one emotion — uninterrupted joy.
Review: This was a 90-second ad. But right from the start, when you saw a gorilla getting ready for something big, it made you stay till the very end; it grabbed you to want to wait till the resolution. That was the easy part. The difficult part was to show people what advertising can really do or how it can be done, which it accomplished. There is a certain way people feel about chocolates when you have them. This was an ad which made consumers feel the same way forging a new connection between the brand and the consumer. It wasn’t about the song or about the gorilla but just the pure feeling of joy.

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