Monday, September 29, 2008

My Favourite Ads

One satisfying post deserves another. So, right after a post on my favourite Amul lines, I have decided to follow it up with my favourite TV commercials of all time. This was triggered by a very nice commercial of Max New York Life Insurance - Zyada Ka Iraada. Except for the fact that the storyline (fantastic), the message (good) and the jingle/punchline (very catchy) had no connection with the brand. I had to Google for the brand whose ad it is!

My choice of ads is dependent completely on their relevance to me at whatever life stage I saw them at. So, the soft drink ads are from the time I was in college. And the insurance ads are from the time I got married!
And I even managed to dig out most of the films from YouTube. So, enjoy!

Asian Paints - Mera wala blue
A couple is travelling in Rajasthan. They spot a local guy with a bright blue turban and the wife exclaims - "Mera wala blue". The husband asks the guy for his turban, which the gruff fellow refuses. A montage of scenes from the vibrant countryside of Rajasthan follows, as the couple follows their target. Eventually, the local gets into a pond for a bath and the husband comes up, quietly stealing the turban and replacing it with his baseball cap. Voice-over tells us how easy it is to check out an Asian Paints shade card for your dream colour.
Final scene - the Rajasthani enters a village gathering wearing the baseball cap as people look at him strangely. He adjusts it and smiles - Mharo wala cream!
Honourable Mentions: A wonderfully evocative campaign on the personal touches to a home (Har ghar kuch kehta hain) and a brilliantly inane campaign on their long-lasting external paints (Waah, Sunilbabu!)

Cadbury - Asli swaad zindagi ka
Turning the cliche of the chocolate-eating kid on its head was the montage of adults enjoying a Cadbury's Dairy Milk. The more famous commercial in this campaign was of the centurion batsman's dancing girlfriend but my favourite was this one depicting adults behaving as children - grandfather blowing bubbles, mom playing hopscotch, pregnant mom demanding chocolates, uncle playing football and my Aha moment - a man dropping his chocolate on the ground but picking it up, brushing it clean and eating it up.
Why shouldn't grown-ups eat chocolates too? After all, they also want to taste life at its sweetest!

Fevicol - Fevicol ka Jod
Close-up of what looks like a swath of Fevicol. VO: Dum lagake, haishsha! The camera zooms back slowly as the tugging VO continues. Eventually when the zoom is complete, we realise it is actually a relief map of India made out of swaths of Fevicol.
Final VO: Lagao, lagao... Yeh India ka mazboot jod hain. Tootega nahin. End with Fevicol logo.
What makes this good ad become absolutely memorable is the timing. This was released immediately after the Bombay blasts ('93) and Babri Masjid demolition ('92) when for a brief period, it looked like India might cave into to organised terror.

ICICI Prudential - Retirement, sirf kaam se
A young man wonders as he watches the rain and thinks about them. As the voice over lists down his thoughts, the visuals shows him doing them. I will not retire from my passions (posing against a sports car). From my dreams (on a foreign holiday with his family). From my habits (eyeing a young girl - ahem!). From my hobbies (gasping for breath during a trek). From my identity and responsibility (putting sindoor on his wife).
His phone rings. "Office" flashes on the screen. He puts it aside with a smile. I will not retire from life. Main retire hounga sirf apne kaam se.

Maruti Suzuki - Petrol khatm hi nahin hota
Vrrrroooommmm... A Sardar kid (arguably, the cutest species on Earth) in a yellow polka-dotted turban races his Maruti dinky car. Inside an aquarium. Under the table. On the bed. Under the dog's tail. On his father's tummy. Vrrrroooommmm. Eventually, his exasperated father says - Oye, bas kar puttar! And our hero replies - Ki kara, papa-ji? Petrol khatm hi nahin haunda!
Voice over tells us about India's most fuel-efficient cars.
Honourable Mentions: From the hard facts of the fuel efficiency of their cars, Maruti's latest corporate campaign takes a graceful leap into the hearts as they say what has been oh-so-true for the last three decades - India comes home in a Maruti. A beautiful, slice-of-life film, which makes us forget their nauseatingly horrendous Men Are Back campaign for the SX4.

Nike - Cricket

The mother of all traffic jams. A busload of cricketers getting more impatient than others. Eventually, one bowler comes out on the roof of the bus. A batsman follows. Slight curiosity. The bowler takes a run-up and delivers. The batsman swings. The ball lands in a balcony. Major commotion builds up. A boy from the balcony jumps on to a bus. Now, he takes a few strides and sends in a delivery. More people join in the fun, to the tune of a wonderfully peppy number. Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan - caught in the jam - have people falling over their cars, trying to field. Eventually, the traffic clears a bit and the vehicles start to move. Game over? Not quite - a youth takes his run-up and as he leaps in the air to deliver, the frame freezes. Nike - Just Do It.

Saffola - Kal Se

An exer-cycle is bought. Wife looks on proudly as slightly paunchy husband looks all set to get onto it. Hearing the cycle, she walks in only to see hubby on the couch and kid on the cycle! Background score says Kal se, re.... kal se, re... (to the tune of the Dil Se title song). Husband puts on running shoes. Relieved wife comes back a little later to see him fast asleep (wearing shoes). Eventually, he leaves home for a jog. Wife spots him in the park, eating bhelpuri. Voice over reminds how exercising always starts tomorrow but for a healthy heart, there's always Saffola.

Twins are born. The nurse comes out of the delivery room and looks for the father. He is not there. They are taken to the pandit for naamkaran. Father still not there. The pandit names them Ranjan and Manu. They grow up. Without a father. Their friends tease them. "Kahan hain tera baap?" A leery lala taunts their mother. "Kahan hain Ranjan Manu ka baap?" A neighbourhood uncle wants to marry the mother. "Lekin, aap nahin hain Manu Ranjan ka baap." Eventually, the mother cannot take it any more and tries to commit suicide. But noooooo! It is April 2008 AUR AA GAYA HAIN MANURANJAN KA BAAP - DLF INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE!
Honourable Mentions: A wonderful set of promos on how Bollywood makes a deewana out of all of us.
And while we are at it, might as well add a promo of Zee Cinema, which is of the same genre.

Sprite - Bujhaye sirf pyaas, baki all bakwaas

A teenager walks alone on a beach. He sees a dude lounging around with a hot babe. Goes to a cold-drink counter and asks for a Sprite. He takes a swig and immediately, a gorgeous woman lands up right next to him. Pulsating music comes on. Beach volleyball happens, with all the women giving him come-hither looks. He is suddenly in the centre of a party, surrounded by a bevy of beauties and happily drinking Sprite. A tap on his shoulder - and it's all gone! The geriatric stall-owner saying, "Bhai-saab, paise?"
Voice over: Jaani, agar Sprite peene se itna kuch hota toh kya sirf saat rupyeh ka bikta? Pause. Sprite bujhaye pyaas, baki all bakwaas.

Times of India - Pakeya

A scream of jubilation goes up in a small town - Arre, Pakeya select ho gaye re! A gang of hockey-playing boys break into a jig. One of them hold up a newspaper - Prakash Mirajkar selected for Olympic Hockey Team. They requisition a band as the dancing procession makes way through bylanes to Pakeya's house. As Pakeya's parents also join in the celebrations, the paper is given to his grandfather. He takes out his broken glasses to read the headlines. Then, it takes Herculean effort on his part to get up and go into a store-room. From a trunk, he pulls out an ancient version of the same newspaper. The headline reads, "Mirajkar Dropped from Team". As the old man appreciates the poetic justice, he breaks into a jig himself. The caption comes on - A Day In the Life of India.
Honourable Mentions: A brilliant film on how files move in a government office, captured with the voice-over of a hockey commentary. Aamir Khan expressing his concerns about returning to Teach India.

If you have noticed - none of these ads have a celebrity in them. My next list would be my favourite celebrity commercials!
Watch this space...
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