By Malay Desai
TVCs: The Forgettables of 2015
In the first of two parts of our year-ender column, we look at films and campaigns from India that were such duds, you don't even remember them for being poor. In chronological order, we have Boost’s World Cup anthem (January), Cinthol’s Alive is Offline (March), Myntra’s film for Anouk (May), Surf Excel Matic’s ‘As Good as Mom’s Handwash’ (July) and Shaadi.com’s My Conditions Apply (September).
1. Boost WC Anthem
Dhanush’s ‘Kolaveri Di’ was such a phenomenon, sometimes agencies and brands forgot about its expiry date and used its template. Before the Cricket World Cup 2015, energy drink Boost made an ‘anthem’ with Tamil star GV Prakash.Despite its ambassadors Kohli and Dhoni, the song fell flat, much like India’s batting in the semi-final. The ‘college assignment’ quality of the film was particularly an eyesore.
2. Cinthol – Alive is Offline
By: Creativeland Asia
After two terrific ‘Alive is awesome’ campaigns, Godrej decided to tell us to switch off and enjoy nature, it seemed. The subtly preachy film featured a guy wandering about woods and rivers, never really using the soap, and communicating that nature is a nice place. The copy was mediocre, and overall it was the other end of Cinthol’s journey which began from one waterfall and a Priety Zinta.
3. Anouk – Bold is Beautiful
The feminist wave that began in 2013 this year saw many brands jumping on with their consumerist agenda. Fashion e-tailer Myntra’s label Anouk debuted with a spicy but pretentious curry of bad a$$ women of the queer and single kind. To portray them as strong, the films made them rude and to portray the brand’s textures, the film went totally OTT, big departure from Tanishq’s ‘dusky model’ ad. Anouk pulled it together in a film with Radhika Apte in November, but not without the pretense..
4. Surf – As good as mom’s handwash
And how do you jump on the feminist ads wave when your market research throws up that ‘nobody washes clothes better than mother?’ Simple, you make her wear formals and speak through a video call. Surf literally went to town with this idea, pitting itself against the gold standard of washing – mom’s hands. The film had lines like ‘koi baat nahin, mummy ragad ke dho legi beta’, so I’d give it marks for being open about its regressive tone.
5. Shaadi.Com – My Conditions Apply
Finally, India’s favourite matrimony portal dished out a film around an asterisk – implying the modern Indian woman’s no-nonsense attitude for the umpteenth time in the year. Everything about this film – the vague message, the generic lyrics and the yawn-inducing treatment was unexpected from Shaadi, which had previously made neat spots.
Next week, we end the year with the best Indian and foreign ads of 2015.
Your regular dose on the shifts in the social media universe
Zuck’s yearend blow: Tell Indians FB = Internet
The latest installment of the ‘Facebookwanting to take over our Internet’ chapter is slightly scary, given the festive mood FB is trying to otherwise put up. Last week, FB started a campaign asking 125m Indians to mail TRAI in support of ‘saving’ its Free Basics platform, a sly reworded term for its Internet.Org project. Many fell for this (also thanks to a vast print campaign with Reliance) but many raked up a debate too – questioning why FB is telling the rural Indian that it stands for the Internet. Here’s a corporation asking its users to lobby against the government, pretending to be holier than thou. As @calamur put it, it’s not about net neutrality anymore, it’s a gigantic platform that wants to deliver it all to you.
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A year of a dozen cabbie apps
If we thought last year was all about Uber and Ola arriving on the mainstream scene, this year, apart from a few more players, there have been entries of many other apps around the idea of getting the urban smartphone user from A to B. My favourite has been Hey Taxi, a bike taxi service, which, despite its lousy interface, is a terrific idea for Mumbai. Then there was the entry of Cabsguru, an aggregator which provided info on multiple cab services on a single platform. This was also a year when Bla Bla Car began spending to be visible and smaller players like ‘Share Savari’ have just entered to share much more than cars – autos and cabs too.
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The top 10 YouTube videos of 2015
Here’s another year-ender, in case you haven’t stumbled upon it already –the videos which sucked in millions of hours of human attention in the year past.On number one is pop star Heaven King and her dance crew of kids performing in NYC, followed by the official Super Bowl TVC. Then there’s a prank video where a guy fills up his home with thousands of plastic balls, then a spot on diversity and inclusion by the Ad Council followed by a video feat Jimmy Fallon, Justin Bieber and President Obama on number 10. I’m just wondering, how long until we see an Indian creator on this list?
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