Who could ever envisage that a 30 second clip for boosting the sales of a product, as inconsequential as detergent powder or cooking oil can leave a deep and long lasting impression. I don’t how many people take advertisements seriously but I will talk about myself and well I take them very seriously. There are ads and so many of them these days, that before I catch a first glimpse of them, they stop appearing. But there are some from the glorious past, which I can never forget, these are the ones which sometimes make me smile, sometimes make me think and sometimes make my heart go mush.
I was discussing with a friend recently about the ads I love. I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer number and my memory. The ads which came to my mind were different yet similar, sweet but simple. I will write about all of them but first I must confess that I am in awe of the imagination and creativity of the ad writers and directors. How beautifully an Asian paints ad show a brother sister duo who want to paint their home sometimes like a sea and sometimes like a jungle, the sister coaxes the brother to cut paper and cloth to decorate the wall and cutely just says “Chintu to kuch cutting shutting kar raha hai” when their parents call. The ad showed how each home is special, is unique and means the world to someone. When I recalled this ad, I also remembered one Surf excel ad in which a brother sister duo are returning from school. The girl falls in a mud puddle and starts crying, the boy suddenly acts all big, he kicks and boxes the puddle and finally when he is smeared in mud, smiles and says to his little one “sorry bol raha hai” they happily walk away and for the first time in life, mommies can say “daag ache hain”. There was also this very old Dhaara ad where an adorable young boy leaves his house because everyone scolds him but he comes back because his mom has made jalebi, sweetness in life it depicts.
If the above ads were about emotions and feeling, then there were others whose approach for serious and sincere. Few years back, when India was at the cusp of telecom boom, Airtel was a big name. They started coming with ads and what fabulous ads, one I vividly remember was on the theme “Express yourself”. It showed people in different situations, a girl getting married, burning streets, Sachin on a century, each picture depicting an emotion: inspire, confess, celebrate and what not. It’s an ad not emotional but gives me goose bumps still. Airtel didn’t stop there, it kept innovating: and there came an ad where two children across the border start playing with a ball, a message overhead says “there is no war or barrier that can keep us apart, if only we talk to each other”. If that one left me thinking, there were others which were truly romantic, truly wonderful.
Ads kept bringing one after the other theme. It was no more changing channels for there were ads but perhaps staying on a channel because there were ads. Dairy milk, my favorite chocolate brand took my imagination with a lovely girl dancing on the field after her boy hits a six. The recent silk ads where people eat clumsily are anyway too cute to ignore. I also recall Maruti esteem ads, one in which a young boy tells all the marks he gets, but his dad doesn’t scold him because the drive was so good. There was a young girl too, who keeps asking her dad if he got birthday present or promotion and then when she gets the car key, she is elated, she just says “My daddy’s big car”. These ads want me to always sit up, take notice and wonder about how incredible the life can be, only if I was an ad director.
The more I think, the more I remember. But for the sake of being precise, I will just end with my all time favorite, its not just one ad but a series carved out of love, respect, trust and admiration. It is the Raymonds complete man series: a daughter getting married, a teacher invited to wedding, a son getting foreign posting. Each one saying a story, a story which is true, tender and touching.