It is the ad that brought a gem of the 1990s back into the limelight and yet managed to go a step ahead, not conforming to a typical ‘remake’, with a simple gender swap that went a long way to depict the changing times... We have the minds behind the latest Cadbury Dairy Milk ad, Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy India - Harshad Rajadhyaksha, Kainaz Karmakar and Sukesh Nayak revealing how the ad was executed, the on-point casting and how while attempting to replicate the original model, Shimona Rashi’s ‘dance like no one’s watching’ sequence, they decided to give equal weight to spontaneity of the new actor. The talented Ogilvy leaders also tell us about their memories of the cult ad and the pressures associated with recreating it in this era, in a heart-to-heart chat with IMPACT.
Q] I heard the idea of recreating the iconic 1994 Cadbury ad came from a girl gang at Ogilvy…
Sukesh: This idea was meant to be because I have rarely seen anything move this fast and well. A young team of girls, Samyukta and Swagata came up with this idea and shared it with their boss, Tanuja. From there it moved like a heat-seeking missile to Piyush, then to the client and then to the director Bob. The team at Ogilvy, Mondelez and Good Morning Films have worked nonstop for the last few weeks to make sure this idea got the craft and detailing it deserved.
Q] What was Piyush Pandey’s advice to the three of you, when you told him of your grand plan?
Harshad: We had Piyush by our side every step of the way. As the writer of the original piece his guidance was on point. First thing he told us was, you are not competing with the old ad. You are reimagining it, so get that pressure off you.
Q] How did you choose the lead characters...Tell us about some of the interesting behind the scenes stories?
Kainaz: The second advice Piyush gave us was to avoid rehearsing too much with the boy. The more spontaneous he is on the field, the more magical his dance will be, he said. Taking his advice to heart we began on the journey of casting. The only rule we had was - all of us must see the cast and feel the same ‘wow’.
We cast Kavya pretty early. Her test was lovely and she looked so natural in front of the camera. The casting of the guy took longer. We were in the process of looking at auditions, when Tanuja came up with the idea of casting a Sardar boy for the part. We all loved the idea. Bob began the hunt and he really knows how to pick faces. When Prabhneet’s audition landed on our WhatsApp group, the emoticons couldn’t stop flowing. Luckily, we have a very trusting client in Anil Vishwanathan and he supported our decision all the way.
Harshad: The sweetest incident at the shoot was Prabhneet’s extreme shyness when it came to hugging Kavya for the last shoot. He was blushing and hesitating. It was adorable. Of course Bob managed to get the shot we needed but it took a while.
Q] When you recreate something which defined advertising in the 90s there is so much pressure…. before you saw the final product, did you for one moment think ‘what if it doesn’t live up to that ad’?
Sukesh: The truth is there was an invisible sword always hanging over our heads but we are only thinking of that in hindsight. When we were in the throes of creation we never talked about it. Piyush told us to have fun creating it and we genuinely had tons of fun. It was a big team. It was a happy team. Again, full credit to Team Mondelez because they took the risk. Real partnership looks like this.
Q] What was the best compliment/reaction you got from the audience after the ad was released?
Kainaz: The response was above and beyond anything we expected. Texts were being shared at a crazy speed on our group. The best one though was a really simple comment. Someone had put up a picture of him holding a Dairy Milk and the text said - ‘Saw your new Cadbury Cricket ad. Went out and bought this.’ We were really thrilled with this simple and yet, cool comment.
Q] This ad is a classic example of a brand changing with times...what according to you do both the ads stand for and will this ad be remembered in the same breath as the older ad in the decades to come?
Harshad: Both ads stand for unshackling. There is no forced messaging in either of them. Both exist to make you smile and are extremely relevant. They say everything without underlining anything. Luckily for us, both have received oodles of love. We haven’t thought about for how long this ad will be remembered. What we do know is we are never going to forget the day it was released.
Q] Just like Bollywood, has the trend of remakes arrived in the ad industry with this ad?
Kainaz: No, I doubt that any such trend will hit town. This was serendipity. It happened. The intention was not to start a trend or a movement. The purpose of creating this ad was simply that it felt right and delightful.