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Advertising - Hotspots and Rankings

Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
K.K.Srivastava Guest Column
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They came, we saw and everybody reviewed!

An ad is a product of painstaking craftsmanship. Various elements, ranging from positioning of the product, clarity of the idea behind the product to visibility of the brand, its persona and the power of communication have to be intelligently weaved together. But while some ads manage to rewrite preset creative benchmarks, some go the wrong way, fall by the side & fail to excite viewers. In this section, we review three ads that came out tops, for the right and the wrong reasons this fortnight.

Advertiser: Yamuna Expressway
Baseline: Suhana Safar, Salamat Safar
Agency: Clayground Communications
4Ps B&M Take: The 165-km-long Yamuna Expressway connecting Agra and Greater Noida is almost complete and will soon be open to public. So what does the developer Jaypee Group do? It immediately ups the ante, ropes in some TV soap stars and starts advertising its achievement. Star TV couple Sakshi Sinha and Ram Kumar are out for a drive on the highway – and the three part ad series communicates various highway driving etiquettes to viewers. They stress on the need to obey traffic rules, to not drink and drive, wear seat belts and refrain from littering. The creatives have even tried to inject some humour – well, as much humour as an advertisement for Yamuna Expressway can have. One ad has Ram Kapoor singing loudly and totally off-tune while driving. The voiceover says that it’s okay to sing and drive, but not okay to drink and drive. Ahem... okay, so you are not laughing. Neither did we. In other words, the ads are okay but lack creativity and the storyboard leaves a lot to be desired. Their sole purpose seems to be some chest thumping after a project well done. But here’s where the problem is. Apart from some graphically simulated visuals towards the end, there is hardly any talk of the project and its achievements. The storyboard actually dwells more on obeying traffic rules – than on brand positioning. Excuse us, but shouldn’t there also be subtly-woven talk about the number of lanes, consumer convenience, civic amenities, green belt, et al, along the highway? This is not to say that we don’t like all the obeying traffic rules messages. India’s highway accident statistics certainly underline the crying need for Indians to diligently follow all traffic rules. And if the message is a part of Jaypee’s corporate responsibility initiative, rest assured, we are indeed clapping.

Advertiser: Amul Macho
Baseline: Bade Aaram Se
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather

4Ps B&M Take: What a perfect waste of a super celebrity endorser in a totally out-of-place concept. Saif is hot property these days and Amul Macho has hired him as their brand endorser for more than a year now. The bid was to get rid of their raunchy image reinforced by the ‘Yeh Toh Bada Toing Hai’ series of ads. They even re-positioned themselves with the concept of effortlessness using the tagline ‘Bade Aaram Se’. But if the idea was to endear themselves to the urban, sophisticated target audience by implying that the brand user is one who gets things done effortlessly, the brand has been unable to cut much ice. Perhaps the creative team is trying too hard to milk Saif’s stardom for all it’s worth with storyboards laced with oodles of forced humour. Why else would ad after ad from Macho’s stable still continue to suffer from tackiness? In this ad, a damsel in distress runs to the lifeguard on the beach asking him to rescue her drowning baby. The bored lifeguard looks through his binoculars to discover that the drowning baby is in fact a fully grown ‘baba’. So he half-heartedly barks out some terse orders through his loudspeaker to help the struggling guy. Suddenly a shark begins circling the petrified ‘baba’. Really? Anyway, Saif nonchalantly orders the shark to leave him alone, and the big fish meekly swims away. All this, while Saif remains perched disinterestedly on the lifeguard’s seat. A piece of advice for O&M. If the idea is to own ‘effortlessness’ as a brand image, then please try harder. After all, disinterested is certainly not the same as effortless.

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