Our view into the world for great advertising
TVCs: Best and Worst of 2014
I’m calling 2014 the year when Indian advertising became an ongoing short film festival. YouTube may have been around from long but this was the year when advertisers truly stretched possibilities of the longer online film,with note-worthy work by Kindle, Durex and Commonfloor.com. Lest you forget, it was also an election year, and that of the FIFA World Cup…as also a year when dozens of e-commerce start-ups sold their wares for the first time on TV. Here’s the last hurrah of 2014:
Slug: Yearend Special
Birla’ Mutual Fund Man Arrived:January itself set the tone of what was to come. One of the big financial players Birla did their industry a favour by focusing on investor education more than the product. JWT Mumbai unveiled the ‘Mutual Fund Man’ character through a peppy web film made with probably 1/10th the budget than those many other peers on TVC.‘Jaanoge toh maanoge’ he said, and we believed him.
5 Star Got Back to Getting Lost: Cadbury’s ‘Ramesh & Suresh’ had ruled over 2013 and the characters had even become part of popular jokes. We were pleasantly surprised when in February the choco-caramel bar changed its route of ’getting lost’ to ‘condition serious hai.’ A hilarious film by Ogilvy featured a doctor treating a man for being too ‘serious’ had us in splits, but Cadbury might have thought it to be too smart for long-term appeal. They reverted to their old twins toward the end of the year,and have also delivered a stunning YouTube pre-load film.
Year of Ranveer Singh: We thought only the guys at agencies and boardrooms set advertising trendsbut one spunky mister Ranveer Singh turned that around with bravado. It began with him selling Durex condoms (a first for a mainstream actor) through a full-length music video, then he lent his name to Ching’s instant noodles (with another musical film by Shaad Ali) and finally also participated in promoting colleague Hrithik’s film Bang Bang by a street dare which went viral. Well played sir!
The long-form stars: If I were to pick my three best ads of 2014, they would be - Mumbai Mirror’s ‘Hated by some’ (Taproot), Commonfloor’sshort films celebrating cities and Kindle’s Paperwhite (Orchard) – in that order.
Incidentally, they were all beyond 90 seconds, and they told us stories we already knew of, but in intriguing, wonderfully shot manners. All three of them put forth a distinctive voice of the brand and made us, the viewer, laugh and cry with them.
Special mention has to be given here to Amul’s ‘Mooch’ film of September, which took its July film to another league of brilliance, without a word spoken, reminding us only of Fevicol and Happydent’s standards.
The Duds: If 2013 saw the corny TV ad debut of Anil Kapoor, this year we witnessed funny man Kapil Sharma be half as annoying in his debut work for Honda Mobilio. The film, just like his comedy show went on for too long and had very little for us to laugh about. Another film that bored us with length was Ogilvy’s Fortune Oil Ghar ka khaana, despite its emotional pull.
Nothing however came close to corny-ness as the short-lived ‘Pressure is Good’ film by Pepsi (JWT India) which took gas literally to another level.
Here’s to an even better 2015!
(To read more about each of these campaigns, look up your old issues of this magazine or feed this link in your browser: bit.ly/ViewTube2014)
Your regular dose on the shifts in the social media universe
The Year that was
If 2014 will be rememberedby BJP and Narendra Modi for successfully mobilising online public opinion to work in their favour in the General Elections, it will also be remembered by er, one Alok Nath, for a career resurrection thanks to social media’s viral ways. Let us explain.
Things were both meaningful, propaganda-like and downright weird this year with our social interwebs here in India. If the @aamaadmiparty wave threatened to be a real threat to the larger Modi wave in terms of online exposure, there were bizarre trends such as yesteryear actor Alok Nath being poked fun at.
More importantly though, Facebook, after taking over Instagram in 2013, bought Whatsapp for 19 billion dollars.The little green dot on our phones still remains the one of the most used applications in the world and the best part is that it’s free (of course, with Mr Zuck playing with its T&Cs).
Meanwhile, Ellen Degeneres’ ‘Oscar selfie’ broke global Twitter records while Modi’s May 16 tweet did that in India.
As for new apps, SnapChat continued its snappy growth of push-to-watch videos, Vines were used for purposes other than cats and dogs and Tinder re-introduced to us Indians the concept of dating interesting people.
The Year That Awaits
Now here’s the tricky part – while no media or digital pundit worth his or her salt would be brave enough to predict what will go ‘viral’ in 2015, it is difficult even to judge how some social media networks will function in the face of increased visual engagement, increasing Facebook influence and evolving behaviours of advertisers.
The scary things first: With the America v/s North Korea cyber war being reported toward the end of this year, I only believe reports which mention that things will get awry in 2015 as regards personal security. Many top tech companies were victims of attacks and this would only escalate with criminals becoming more and more sophisticated. It is a given that all users of free apps pay with their privacy, and it remains a challenge for internet guards to keep away malware, mobile-payment hackers and open source targeters.
Of better things: Twitter finally looks set to be more advertiser friendly and has already started giving neat metrics. Be ready for more and more promoted trends. There will be more focus on micro-videos (our attention spans will reduce further!) and back home, ‘mobile wallet’ guys will mint even more moolah (they’re already raking in the millions thanks to the e-commerce boom).
And finally, I also predict a terrific year for the comedy and sketch guys on YouTube.
Kim Jong Unlikes this