India’s television advertising landscape is maturing at a rate of knots. One of the facets fuelling this growth is the explosion of visual effects (VFX) as a tool to create groundbreaking adverts for mainstream consumer brands. The constant evolution of technology is opening new windows to creative possibilities that were once shut in the houses of Indian advertising. From a copywriter and a visualiser brainstorming on ideas manifesting into attention —punchlines supported with catchy jingles, to an era where innovative advertising solutions are being developed by merging creativity and technology, the industry has come a long way.
With the advent of VFX, ad filmmakers have started harnessing technology to catalyse brand storytelling, thereby significantly enhancing the visual appeal and retention power of their respective ad films.
Although VFX took off in the Indian context through its wide usage in films such as Krrish and Ra.One, the trend quickly spilled over to the advertising industry. This has revolutionised the TVC scenario in India, with many brands using VFX to creatively tell their stories. The following examples stand testimony to why Indian advertising is undergoing a paradigm shift.
When ZooZoo’s made an entire nation laugh — The Vodafone ‘ZooZoo’ campaign: This is one of the most successful commercial campaigns in Indian television history. Contrary to how it may appear, the ZooZoos were not animated characters, but in fact humans wearing costumes. Although special suits were tailored for this purpose, the execution of this campaign wouldn’t have been successful without leveraging VFX in post-production.
When a Smart TV created waves using smart VFX — The Panasonic ‘Smart TV’ campaign: The popular Panasonic commercial starring Ranbir Kapoor showcases the benefits of Panasonic’s smart TV offerings, harping on the product’s enhanced picture as well as sound quality. One of the biggest challenges was to build the entire world setup surrounding Ranbir in an authentic and believable manner. The commercial demanded a huge amount of VFX shots which were seamlessly weaved into the entire narrative.
When penguins ‘Shake a Leg’ for the 7UP ‘I Feel Up’ campaign: This popular commercial brought the I Feel Up philosophy to the masses, starring Sharman Joshi dancing off with a penguin. It was VFX that brought life to the brand philosophy and overall messaging.
When ‘Mr. Can’ drove home a very important message through a short web series — The Pepsi mini can launch campaign: This campaign truly represents how advertising in India is undergoing a paradigm shift, from an idea-execution perspective, as well as a platform perspective. The campaign leverages the popular web series idea to drive the launch of Pepsi’s mini cans in India. The short web series chronicles an Italian mafioso ‘Mr. Can’ and his henchman ‘Mr Cornell’, who have undertaken a quest to find a suitable heir to take over Mr. Can’s empire. Smart post-production accompanied with edgy editing proved to be a worthy backing to a unique idea.
When a chewing gum lit up an entire palace — The Happydent ‘Palace’ campaign: This was a concept which was proficiently delivered using ground-breaking special effects and animation. The ad showcased men, instead of bulbs, illuminating an entire palace by chewing Happydent gum, resulting in sparkling teeth.
High-end VFX is no longer the preserve of big-budget theatrical releases. In the hands of the creative and visionary filmmaking teams, VFX is helping to create attention-grabbing, creatively compelling ads that might otherwise be impossible to create, whether because of logistics or budget. And with newer innovations such as augmented reality and virtual reality beginning to make inroads into the advertising sector, it is only a matter of time before these visionaries start to take advantage of these technologies to tell their brand stories in new ways.
The author is chief business development officer, advertising & animation, Prime Focus