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Ad Stand: When brands tap into activism

This is an interesting phase we are living in. While the leaders want us to forget the real issues, the brands are raising them. It’s praiseworthy that business and advertising are pushing the correct thing and that too from unlikely brands

Delhi | February 22, 2017

Adstand by Naresh Gupta

We live in interesting times. These are times when the leadership of country has muddled messages but the business leadership is pushing for probity and transparency. We live in times when the leadership of country wants you to forget the real issues but brands are raising the issues that matter. We live in times where we vote because of the muddled unclear messages, but we buy the brands because they shine on a new path.

We live in times where business and advertising are pushing the correct thing and that too from unlikely brands.

Tata Tea: Alarm bajne se pehle

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3I8iNkB16N0[/youtube]

This could easily have been an ad from a political party, a party that questions norms and wants to create new rules. We live in times where if a political party had put this out as a message we would have laughed at it. These are good times where we as consumers are happy with a tea brand waking us up from our slumber. Tata Tea has been at the edge of activism and has always balanced the brand with evocative messages. This time they have pushed the envelope successfully to create a message that resonates with today’s times. I wish to see more, more than what the brand is doing in its website and social media pages. I am sure something is brewing

Mirinda: #ReleaseThePressure

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaezzxfrC-w[/youtube]

For three minutes and a little over, this video is all about how a whole generation is lost to pressure of exams. How a whole generation is struggling to come to grips with a competitive world and how a whole generation has to get marks for parental love and approval. For a while I thought I was watching a promo for an upcoming film like Taare Zammen Par or 3 Idiots. To look back, there has been little institutional effort from the country to reduce pressure of performance on children. Whatever little has happened has been reversed and has been welcomed by parents. The brand too has been brave to not let any of the brand cues to be there in the video and leave the message as pure as it can be. May be it should have left the last frame too. The bottle cap with Release the Pressure written on it is incongruous to the whole video. Is it one off, or Mirinda will have a second one in the series? This is one brave experiment though coming from a brand that is often at receiving end of consumers for being junk and carrier of excessive sugar.

Tanishq Rivaah: Did it miss a trick?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmI-jd0X04Y[/youtube]

Tanishq comes from the same agency that created #AlarmBajneSePehle and that is the stark contrast. This is a very well-made commercial about the love that exists between fathers and daughters and how difficult it is for the fathers to see the chrysalis turn butterfly and now getting ready to spread wings. There are moments that will lead every father teary eyed, and may be every bride to be in same state. So where is the problem? Dowry and expensive jewellery at weddings is where the problem lies. While Tata Tea and Mirinda score, Tanishq gets beaten. The entire set-up is of traditional weddings with all brides bedecked in expensive jewellery. Is this where the brand missed a trick? What if the entire narrative was not just about indulgent, expensive weddings, but also about simple minimalistic ones? What if the brand actually took the hashtag of Mirinda, and did release some pressure. This is one activism that is badly needed in the country, may be this is where a jewellery brand needs to go.

In any other times, the Tanishq ad would not have faced this conundrum, but coming in a week where two brands broke the mould, this becomes striking.

These are interesting times, where emotions of love, affection, taste, and enjoyment can be fused with responsibility, goodness and made to work for the brand.

Maybe the world should be actually run by a few brands.

(Naresh Gupta is Managing Partner and CSO of Bang in the Middle. The views expressed are personal.)

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