Thursday, September 24, 2009

AD - Bajaj Discover DTS-SI

AGENCY: Lowe Lintas

Now these are called ads. Wow. The first time I saw them, I was struck by the simplicity of execution, the relationship to the brand and the innovative way of showing the key factor in a bike.

The central theme of the new series of ads from Bajaj Discover is the fuel efficiency and mileage of the bike. If you listen carefully you will realise that the key message is that the Bajaj Discover DTS-SI can give you 100 Kms in 1 Litre of fuel.

Now they have tied it beautifully to the secondary theme - taking a leaf from the name of the bike itself - Discover India. The agency has done a great job of finding out these nuggets of India that you and I are unaware of and tying them beautifully to the bike positioning. I have seen three ads till now:
  1. 1 litre can take you abroad - Jamboor (Africa in India) a 100 Kms from Junagadh
  2. 1 litre can take you 3000 years back - Mandori 100 Kms from Mangalore where still Sanskrit is the spoken language.
  3. 1 litre can take you to a place where you don't need petrol - 100 kms from Khalse is Ladakh's Magnetic Hill where bikes and cars can move on their own.
Notice how the ads also deftly pack in the look of the bike with the camera panning the front and back of the bike.

In 10 seconds, the agency has been able to grab your attention with a unique approach, convey the central message of fuel efficiency and mileage, made you look at the bike, make you wait for the next set of ads and most importantly told you things that even you didn't know about your country.

AWESOME! I love these ads and my rating for them is a cool 10/10.

In addition, they have a wonderful website that talks about 14 such places in India, of course in addition to giving you all information of the bike!

Go Discover India!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

AD - Asian Paints Sampler

AGENCY: Ogilvy

And we are back to Ogilvy as an agency. This time its the Asian Paints client.

I really like this ad for its simplicity and messaging content. Anyone who has painted their house will identify with this situation immediately. How many times have we looked at the various colours in the shop and though about how it will look on the walls of our house? But we can't, can we ? How can you imagine a colour on a computer screen or on a box unit across the walls of your house and figure out if it'll look good in your house or not?

I hindsight, this option of 'samplers' is such an obvious one that one wonders why the others didn't think about it or why the other paint manufacturers are also doing the same? Sachets have been around in the shampoo business and have found their way into other products as well. Samplers have been there for a long time to get people to taste products or use products so that they can experience a part of it before they invest completely. I remember getting Maggi sampler in school when I was all of 10 or 11 years old and I still eat Maggi whenever I get the chance.

So why not in the paint business? Its been a long time coming.

I like this ad for multiple reasons:
  • It makes sense.
  • Its executed well. Notice how the man takes regular things from the house and asks his wife to add these on to the palette and think about the colour.
  • Notice how the woman screws up her face and says that she can't. The expression and timing is perfect.
  • And finally as he calls the shop he has the quizzical expression on his face.
  • The byline is good: रंग सोचे नही देखे जाते है
  • The ad end with a good explanation of trying out the samplers to get a feeling for the right colour for your house and then buying the complete box for it.
All in all, a good message well communicated.

I would rate it 8/10.

Monday, September 14, 2009

(B)AD - Parle XHale

AGENCY: Everest Brand Solutions

First let me start by saying that this ad has been awarded the 'GlitterBox Award' by PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals). The award is given every year by PETA for exceptional animal friendly advertisements. In the statement released by them they say "The best way to help animals is to conserve their natural habitats and to boycott zoos and other attractions which exploit them. For that matter the new Parle mint ad is as refreshing as is the mint itself"

But this blog is about my comments on the ads and my personal feelings.

I find this ad in very bad taste.

I am sure that the client and the agency were not thinking about the PeTA statement or the award when they made this ad. I think the ad was a clear case of bringing out the 'value proposition' of the mint which is that it refreshes and cools your breath. Almost all the mint ads have the same value proposition to show and they use different ways to say that so how do you stand out? How do you break the clutter and register yourself in the mind of the consumer?

Well, lets use animals as no one has used that for cool breath. If that was the thought, I am sure the creative team could have come up with a much better approach. Why not use the Alpenliebe route of the alligator eating the candy?

The same ad could have been where the boy comes to the zoo, sees the situation, feels empathy for them, throws the XHale into the cage, the penguin / polar bear eats it, exhales and fills the cage with ice and snow, the boy and animal smile as the ad fades away.

Now wouldn't that have been a better approach than showing the animals thinking of their homeland and crying for it as the boy leaves with a smug smile on his face? This ad leaves such a bad thought in the minds of kids watching it. Its OK to make fun of the animals when they are in the cage and far away from their homes. Its OK to make them feel sad and its OK to have the power over them. Its OK to bully animals and show no empathy for their situation.

For me this ad leaves such a bad taste in the mouth that I'm not going to rate it at all!

A 'slap' to Everest creative team for thinking this and two slaps to Parle Marketing person for approving this ad and running with it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

AD - HDFC Standard Life Insurance

AGENCY: Leo Burnett

Finally and ad not from Ogilvy. Phew! :) All my previous reviews seem to be around one agency only and I was beginning to think that I had a fixation on ads made by Ogilvy.

But then I saw this one and I liked it immediately. My first reaction to the ad was 'good execution' and a feel-good factor. There are numerous Insurance companies in India now and each has come out with its own version of a child plan. As the inflation and cost-of-living increases we will all need to start planning for our children's education from an early age. I have an insurance plan for both my kids and am paranoid if I will be able to support their higher education.

What did I like about the ad:
  • The family setting in middle class. The target audience is clear and they can identify with the ad.
  • The family shown is your regular next door neighbour family. They have not used some 'model' faces and names. Again makes it easier to identify with the ad.
  • A good representation of a double-income family, which is the norm today. Notice the father relaxing while the mother is working on her laptop. A lot of families will immediately identify with this setting and it makes the positioning of the product very clear.
  • The child is reading a book and there is a huge bookshelf behind. Inculcates a nice habit of reading. As the girl puts the book down and asks the question, you feel that she can achieve that dream.
  • The father's explanation of the astronaut's job is simple and clear and sends a message that this family is learned. It makes the TA feel good about themselves because by that point they are involved in the ad.
  • You smile when the girl says that the ticket will cost a lot and that Raju Mama can buy the ticket. Every family has one rich member and kids think that the rich family member can do anything. After all the rich family member brings them so many gifts that their parents can't give them. You start to think about one such member in your family.
  • Immediately the father gives a solution and you feel happy because you think that taking care of your child and helping her achieve her dreams is your responsibility. You want to do it for your child.
  • The icing on the cake is the acceptance of the solution by the child reinforcing your belief as a father.
All-in-all a great execution of a brilliant idea for an already cluttered segment of child insurance. Kudos to HDFC Standard and Leo Burnett for this idea.

I would rate it a 9/10 for getting almost everything right with the ad.

Friday, August 28, 2009

AD - Nestle Milky Bar

AGENCY: Lowe Lintas (I think)

Now this one I really like.

In a space that markets chocolates through smooth taste appealing to the kids love of taste or through promotions and toys, this ad stands out for taking a different positioning.

Chocolates, by definition, is something that children love and would eat anytime. They are also 'not good for health and teeth' as agreed by all parents but are also a necessary evil - again as agreed by all parents. So how do you position it so that parents like it and will be agreeable to their kids having it? Nestle's Milky Bar does try to fill that gap through this ad.

In an age where kids are stuck to their TVs and computers, where its the easiest thing to do for parents to give their kids gadgets to keep them occupied, where we all agree that our kids need to get outside, this ad tries to pass on that message.

I like the ad for that message and its execution. Notice how the mother tells her daughter to 'Get out' of the house and how the kid on the cycle proudly shows off his hurt (as the background lyrics spell it out) to the kid showing his PSP. We need more ads asking our kids to step out of the house.

My only negative point is I don't know if this positioning goes well with the chocolate segment. I would have thought that Nestle would have used this ad for their Milk product rather than the chocolate product. I guess the reasoning was that its a Milk chocolate and so straddles both the segments. I don't see parents giving their kids Milky Bar and telling them to get out. I would have seen the connection if it was for Nestle Milo as an energy drink and encouraging the kids to step out.

All in all a good ad for a wrong product.

But just for the positioning, thinking and execution; I would give it a 7/10.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

AD - Bajaj Pulsar DTSi

AGENCY: Ogilvy India

I'm the man by El Espanges - thats the song that plays in the background of the ad. And its a catchy number at that.

I have to admit though that I had to watch the ad a couple of times to get what it was about. The visuals are good but they could apply to any product.

I like the basic concept of the ad. Its key message is speed and that nothing on this earth is faster than the Bajaj Pulsar DTSi 220cc bike. The visuals and the execution support that statement but it takes a couple of viewings to understand that statement.

You see visuals of the police coming in frenzy towards the town but the 'bank robber' is relaxed and slow, as if he has all the time in the world. The location seems to indicate Mexico as the Bank building too seems derelict. The visuals indicate that the bank robber has a lot of charm as he gets away with the money from the teller even after he shows that he does not have a gun. In fact he even has time to put some money in the boy's piggy bank. As he comes out of the bank the police cars and copter all surround him but he has a small smile on his face. He sits on the bike and the next instant he is gone leaving the police flabbergasted as the background dialogue comes that 'He's got away'. Notice the exasperated expression of one of the cops.

All in all a good visual execution. At least it stands out from the same old bike executions of stunts and bike visuals. And therein is the catch. When you see a bike ad, you expect to see the bike up close so that you get a feel for it and an excitement about the looks. None of that happens here. In fact you hardly to get to see the bike at all. Is the Pulsar DTSi a cool looking bike? Don't know cause we don't see it. The only thing we know is that he sits on the bike and the next instant he's gone. That must be some speedy bike. But is that what you look for in a bike when you want to buy one? Speed? What about mileage, looks, style? And I think that's where the ad looses out.

It does not show the bike! How can a bike ad not show the bike?

Even for the speed angle it takes some time to sink in as the only indication is the change in frame - with and without the bike. If they could have shown a simple streak it would have been easier to understand the speed angle.

If Bajaj was trying to exploit the Speed USP then this ad wins just on that message. It stand apart from the rest of the ads and is fresh in its approach. It has recall value and the 'The Fastest Indian' tagline is obviously a take on the movie 'The World's Fastest Indian' which was about speed and racing as well. But I don't know how many will get that pun and also how many will understand the linkage between Bajaj (Indian bike) with Mexico visuals. They could have at least shown an Indian Bank robber to make the connection slightly easier.

I can't decide if this is a good ad or a bad one so am going to rate it at 5/10, if only for the fresh approach to bike ads and call it a good one.

But Bajaj needs to do a better job at connecting and stop being subtle.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

(B)AD - Honda Jazz

AGENCY: Ogilvy, Delhi

So here is I think what happened.

The team at Honda and O&M Delhi sat in a meeting. The Honda guys briefed the agency on a new car that they are launching. They spoke about the features and the benefits and how the car is 'different' from the other cars.

They all probably realized that the car space in India is very cluttered. There are many car brands and car ads that vie for the same space in the potential Indian consumer's mind. The challenge and the objective would be to stand out from the crowd and get the consumer to notice the ad, notice the new car, register it and then ask the Honda guys about it.

So the O&M team went back to their office very excited. After all they hadn't made an ad for a new car from Honda in India for quite some time. Well there was the new City ZXi but that was really bottling a slightly different wine in the same bottle. This was different - this was a new heady drink in a new bottle and a new brand! Excitement was pulsing through them.

They all sat down, put their heads together and..............and..............they came up with this?

The ad falls flat on a lot of aspects. The tagline "Why so serious" is a great tagline but it does not link to the ad in anyway. The execution could have slightly humorous to convey the message. But this ad is so serious that I can't figure some of the subtle messages.

The ad begins with the guy picking up his coat and key and a cactus plant (?!). Notice that its a corner office and the sun is shining bright.

He then pulls up a part of the seat and keeps the cactus there - shows that the car has space though it doesn't show how much space.

As he starts driving the other cars on the road are represented as bubble cars. That's a good refreshing representation of the fact that the Jazz is the only viable car on the road today while the rest of the cars are all frivolous. Good creative touch there. Notice the expression of the people in the bubble cars. They seem to like the Jazz and get jealous of it. Good expressions and message delivery. As he drives all the cars around him burst into bubbles though I can't figure out why all the cars don't do that when he is on the flyover.

He then drives into a lane which looks like an apartment complex or a small gully - so its targeted at the middle class segment. His wife / girlfriend comes over to the car and opens the back seat door, has a look at the cactus and has a angry (?) expression on her face. Why would she open the back door? And why is her expression one of angst?

The cactus has grown a flower which was not there when the guy started. How? I assume this is meant to show that the cooling is so good that the cactus grew a flower or that the distance traveled was so large that the cactus had enough time for the flower. Either way I started getting confused from this point onwards.

Why is the guy angry when he sits back in the car? What is the history behind this interaction? Did I miss something in the ad? And finally why is the cactus plant in the middle of the road?????

The background music score could have been better. Is Jazz used because of the name of the car? Would we have noticed that they did not use Jazz music if they had used something else? I doubt that!

All in all a great ad till the girl arrives, then it gets confusing. The tagline execution could have been much better. The ad does not stand out. The car features do not get mentioned and I don't carry back any info of the car.

A 6/10 only because of the 'bubble' representation.

I think Honda lost out on a great opportunity.

I liked this ad of Jazz in UK although I am sure only women must have bought the car after watching the ad. Notice how the ad is cute and touches upon all the key features - interiors, mileage, handling etc.

O&M Delhi - Jazz did not strike a tune!