Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ad Mad

What a year it has been for Indian advertising- So many absolutely fantastic ads, and so many changes. The year saw many small agencies come up and make a mark, apart from the usual big ones. Also the two absolutely huge sporting events that took place- The ICC World Cup 2011 and the 2011 FIA F1 Grand Prix of India ensured that everyone was glued to the television screens and most advertisers used these as themes.

What I particularly love about the 2011 list is that some eternal favourites of mine didn't quite get the top spot, which just goes to show how brilliantly the industry is growing. The regulars on the list, have no place this year. Coca-Cola, Cadbury, Pepsi, Vodafone and Nokia just missed out because their campaigns while good, weren't absolutely epic or insanely brilliant. And at the same time, one brand seems to have just got everything right, with 3 spots in the top ten!

Secondly, it's great to see innovative thinking in so many campaigns. I've seen brands defy the norm this year, and then go on to make a mark.
Also it's absolutely great to see Google, SnapDeal and Flipkart advertise on Indian Television. Goes to show that even though the number of internet users is expanding exponentially, television as a medium for advertisers to reach out to the public cannot be dismissed or replaced. It is still such a powerful medium, and in the case of India, it shall continue to be so.

The 2011 Top Ten ~ (in random order)

Flipkart.com- No Kidding
I love the 'Dollhouse' one. I know it is so corny, and everyone keeps making a fuss about how it's wrong to use young children in these grown-up ads because they are so impressionable (Sorry to break it to everyone out there, but kids today know more than any of us- It's true) but I can't help loving the simple way in which he says, 'Dollhouse' like its so obvious that with the money he saves from buying from Flipkart, he'll get her that.
Also, the ad that says 'Pay Cash on Delivery' - Perfect way to deal with the perceived risk associated with online shopping among Indian consumers. As the two boys talk seriously during the office break about 'Sahil' the old school idiot who's too afraid to shop online, I can't help but laugh. I love the small touches- The milk vending machine in the office, the way the two boys stop talking when a girl (in high heels!) passes, and the line, "But Sahil Kaun?" and an exasperated answer, "My dad yaar."

Airtel- Blackberry Dormitory Ad
Just for the music and the way it's been shot, this deserves a spot in this list. And the ad has a fantastic concept of staying connected with BBM. Its short, simple, to the point, and somehow I think it stays with you. It does have this way of making you nostalgic about your good old childhood days and pranks, and it makes you smile.

Indigo- We're Going International
'A mission we remind ourselves of all the time' is my favourite line. Whether its's the machine-like ground staff, the absolutely charming captain or the super quick air-hostesses who handle every hassle - the ad is epic! My only slight complaint, or let's say suggestion- I wish the ad had subtitles, because the song is catchy, but Indigo you are truly too fast! And I agree that it's a brilliant theme to make your ad as fast as your services but subtitles would have ensured so much more involvement from the target audience. Nevertheless, it is one of the very few ads that does make me sing along, even though I make up half the lyrics!

Seagram's Imperial Blue- Men Will Be Men
I never thought they could surpass the 'Rose' ad, and they haven't. The three ads that are featured this year are a good continuation of the same theme and so typicallly male. I love the 'Princess Cut Ring' ad of the three the most. Good setting, great actors, a witty theme, and super lines. It's a great ad, but I still love 'Rose' more.

Tanishq- Bangles- What To Do?
Men will be men, and women will certainly be women. Tanishq drives home the point so beautifully. What I particularly like is that instead of just cashing in on the brand value of the two stalwarts, they actually took time (and money) out to weave a story, a very typically Indian one. I love that they don't just have Amitabh-Jaya standing there saying, "Buy Tanishq"  The other thing I have to mention is that as a sequel, the ad does NOT disappoint. They've followed the 'Necklace' ad up perfectly with this one.
And as for all the husbands out there who are wondering 'What To Do?', the answer is simple- Buy the ladies a ring, or several rings :) And Tanshiq if you're listening, make a third part already!

Airtel- Har Friend Zaroori
I've said so much about this one already, so I won't say anymore expect that this is the way to stand out and not be a part of the clutter. Hoping Taproot and Airtel come together for another winner soon! Also, I think it was brilliant to use an F1 theme in one of the ads that was part of the campaign because Airtel was the main sponsor for the India GP. Great way to mix publicity and advertising and ensure reinforcement.

Glee Promo- Star World- Character Dheela Hai
A bunch of high school kids singing and dancing to the Salman Khan superhit song, and it happens to be a firang show! Why is this absurd eccentric promo on this list? Because it's absurd and eccentric. And also because it's brilliant. Kudos to Star for thinking of it, accepting it, creating it and then daring to play it on their channel. This is the kind of eccentric innovation that really grabs attention and definitely leads to retention. It stands out.

Hero- Hum Mein Hain Hero
I know of at least five other girls in class who love the song and the ad, and listen to it during the finals. And even post it as status messages. Not quite what Hero MotoCorp had in mind I know, but it just goes to show how great the reach and the impact of the ad is. We all know that Hero Honda is now Hero MotoCorp, and no one can get the damn song out of their heads. One of the most brilliant rebranding strategies I've seen in a while (Didn't particularly like what either Airtel or Vodafone did when they were rebranding.)

Tata- Values Stronger Than Steel
I have a soft corner for corporate advertisements, which explains why I love this ad so much. And then again, its TATA- What do they not do? The advertisements of course are very heartwarming, very Indian, and very very emotional. It talks about the lives that Tata Steel has touched, and how they've made a difference. A special mention for their 'Tejaswini' project that empowers unskilled women employees.

Airtel - 3G Video Calling
When I get over the guy, maybe I'll review this ad.
Okay but seriously, like all Airtel ads- brilliant music. Apart from that it has fresh faces, a simple thought, and just that moment that makes you sigh. I love the concept and more than anything else I wish I had written it.

Some others that almost made it- Coca Cola- Do Diye Zyada Jalao, Nokia- Epic Dramas, Google- Dear Sophie- The Web is What You Make of it, Blackberry- Are you missing something?, Cadbury- I Love You, Pepsi- Change The Game, Vodafone- 3G Superhero ZooZoo, Idea- India is busy on Idea 3G.

(Yes, I realise they are all TVCs- I guess I really am biased.)

And finally a special, special mention for Google- I know both 'Happy Holidays' and 'Let it Snow' aren't advertisements, but it is brilliant branding, a brilliant idea and just so simple and so bloody brilliant. And more than anything else, it makes me so happy. 

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