By Malay Desai
From: Wieden + Kennedy, Delhi
The new spot for Old spice deodorant features model and actor Milind soman sitting in a towel in a royal courtroom. In his monologue, he begins with how he earlier had misconceptions of manliness, before realising that it’s not about Polo championship trophies, bravery awards and the likes. He then calls for a ‘helicopter’ which brings in a spray can of Old spice, and he goes on to describe its “sophisticated and Complicated” contents. The ad ends with him excusing himself to take a call from the “Chief of international relations and well-Being” followed by the product window.
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In 2008, Neil Patrick Harris (whom you came to know later of as Barney in How I Met Your Mother) appeared in an Old Spice commercial as his first TV character Doogie Howser, a charming boy-doctor. Harris had a monologue and the film was filled with bizarre moments and carried the signature tune. The global campaigns, under various taglines, too have had popular men in towels and monologues. Milind Soman is India’s Barney, and this campaign flaunts him well.
Having controversially burst on to our conservative modelling scene with an ad for Tuff Shoes in 1995 where he appeared in the buff, Milind Soman has since gained considerable grey matter inside and outside his head. At 47, he is seen as an alpha male, and his marathon running habits help the cause too. To epitomise ‘suave, sexy and mature’, Old Spice couldn’t have got a better celeb, the Khans notwithstanding.
The campaign is part of a global theme where popular men (Isaiah Mustafa being the most remarkable) have spoken bizarre things in funny settings, but that need not be known by the Indian viewer. What the folks here saw after the launch last week was a 90-something second ad with a shaky camera moment, Soman’s in the-face monologue about manliness and a pretty female model (not to forget a toy helicopter, definitely a first for the history of grooming ads).
It was immediately disliked and despised but created a wave of online conversations nevertheless. Of course the agency here knows that gold necklace saying ‘MAN’ is tacky and the lines are bizarre, but that’s the point.
When running on national television, the film surely evokes raised eyebrows without being obscene. The Indian man will laugh at it but is likely to remember Old Spice when buying a deo next because guess what, all the dozen other ads running right now look/sound similar. As for Soman, a spot poll by this writer reveals that ladies still dig him, the ad reminds them of the ‘Made in India’ video and the salt pepper hair only add to his desi Clooney image. So there, well done.
To watch this film and others, hit Youtube.com/OldSpiceIndia
Of Cashkaro’s FB-oriented approach
Deal sites were quite the thing a couple of years ago on our ecommerce thing but now a new player has introduced something that has been a proven success in the West – cash back for online purchases. One of the sites hogging limelight now is Cashkaro.com, a baby of one Swati Bhargava, an LSE passout and the force behind similar sites and reward programmes in the UK. The deal here was to get Indian shoppers to visit their site and then go ahead to their Flipkarts and Myntras; and Facebook expectedly proved to be a useful platform. We read a report that Cashkaro went from 17k fans to 2.9 lakh fans in six months and has used contests and visuals well. We also spotted a comic strip – not exactly something an ecommerce Facebook page would think of. Gotta watch the growth curve of this one.
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No surprise, Instagram ads are here
In other news-you-always expected category, we heard last week that photo filter app Instagram, which was taken over by Facebook in April last year, will have advertising. And although the official blog claims ‘to make any advertisements.. as natural to Instagram’ and that they will be enjoyable and creative, we know this should be a hindrance to the uncluttered layout we’ve enjoyed till now. Instagram has also noted that the inclusion of ads will not affect the ownership of your photos and videos. We read elsewhere that Facebook, thanks to Instagram’s massive user base, is planning to use the network as a testing ground for its future mobile video ads. As for now, the ads will first reach American users but eventually, you know they will get you. Will that deter you from using it?
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‘Read it Later’ and other cool apps you so need
We know you do this too, and this writer has definitely been finding it difficult to catch up on all those must-read links that crop up on your Twitter/Facebook timeline through the day. One even opens it, but then between the Excel sheets and phone calls, the poor link stays unread and you finally shut it with a sigh at 8 pm. One of the popular apps to help you save these links is ‘Pocket’, which syncs across devices and has a neat layout. There is ‘Google Keep’, which is quite useful if you have an Android phone or tablet, for it can save you pictures, notes , links, everything. Then, we know of an ‘Instapaper’ too, which has taken well to the new iOS 7 and has a reader-friendly design. And if you’ve used the uber-popular organiser Evernote, you would know of its new product ‘Clearly’, which focuses on just text and removes all other clutter. Take your pick and read through the weekend.
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