Addendum is a fortnightly column that takes a sometimes hard, sometimes casual, sometimes irreverent, yet never malicious look at some of the new or recent advertisements and comments on them.

Veet, the hair remover from Reckitt Benckiser, has had a long association with Katrina Kaif. Smart! In its new commercial created by Euro RSCG and Kiss Films it shows Katrina trying to decide what dress to wear for an event, and then she decides that when you have legs as sexy as hers, it really doesn't matter what you wear. Smart! So she sets off in whatever she was wearing, and even decides to kick off her footwear for effect. The film then goes on to show Katrina endorsing some market survey conducted by a magazine that reveals that 80 per cent of its readers use Veet for smooth legs. Not smart. When you have someone like Katrina endorsing your hair remover you automatically spell out the “beauty” and “confidence” message you intend spelling out. More so with the “who-cares-what-dress” script, which works well. The results of a survey done by a magazine make you look like you are really trying too hard. On the whole, very watchable. And so what if I'm not the audience…

Heritage rocks

There's this rock star getting ready to torch the stage. And as he pulls on his heavy-metal costume a voice rasps out a modern-day version of the iconic Mera Jootha Hai Japani song. Our rock star ties on a red bandanna and as the words “Dil Hai Hindustani” ring out, he lights a match and … no, he doesn't light up a reefer, he lights up a joss stick. Yes, he lights a Heritage agarbathi from Cycle Pure Agarbathies and has this most pious look on his face. Well, the insight is “that's what the Indian youth is all about”. Cut the crap, you might say. And might even be right. This TVC has been created by an agency delightfully named ‘Cut the Crap' and produced by Chrome Pictures. Rather competently produced, one would say. And if you forget about Raj Kapoor and Shankar turning over in their graves and accept the fact that this youngster actually decides on what brand of agarbathi is bought in the house, and, of course, that Mummyji or Auntyji who might be doing the shopping would just love this TVC, you've got the message across perfectly.

Opportunity at hand

If a job in hand is worth two in the bush, just think of the possibilities if you could have all your potential jobs literally in your hand. Naukri.com now introduces its mobile application for those who would appreciate instant information about what jobs they could get, or jump to.

And what happens to those poor HR managers and CEOs who are striving to keep their attrition rate low? Well, they can grind their teeth to dust or better still, knock your mobile phone for a six, or a hole-in-one, as the case may be. And that's what the new Naukri.com TVC shows in its normal, tongue-in-cheek fashion. Three quick films by Draft FCB Ulka and Bang Bang films show the CEO hard at work making short work of the star performer's mobile phone.

One shows him playing golf with the phone as the ball, another shows him using two burly American footballers to shake the phone out and then kick it far away, and yet another shows him actually incinerating the phone in a microwave oven. Well, Naukri and Draft FCB Ulka have been able to keep up with their interesting boss-employee-friction tone and manage to creatively launch the mobile application. If I had to mildly crib, I would question the need for the deliberately off-key tune and would request a little more differentiation between the look of the CEO and the employee. What with similar shining pates, long sleeves and ties … But I guess all that (including the shining pate) is becoming de rigueur in today's corporate world. I know there are exceptions, Ambi.

Missing something

Friends are everything, and if you can position your brand as a friend, who needs loyalty? Airtel and Taproot have been doing a great job with the Har Ek Friend series. The look, feel and music are just right. Now how difficult do you think it must be to retain the vibrancy and extend the equity of this property? Very difficult. And it's showing. I like the new film for “my Airtel my offer”, really, I do. The idea is spot on. The casting is superb. The direction is great. The busy atmosphere created in the background is young and warm, but then I realise not every film in this series can be an outright winner.

Somehow, the latter, and I guess the critical part of the film when the young protagonist talks about Airtel customising and re-working his plan based on his usage goes through a tad too quickly to really make that searing impact one has begun to expect from Aggie and his Airtel films. Still, I am looking forward to the next one.

And now, superdads

We've all heard of supermom and have seen her multi-tasking in our midst. Now Aviva makes all those men who have simply concentrated on their jobs feel great by positioning them as superdads. Aviva Life Insurance has this really nice “feel-good” film where young daddy is playing every conceivable role except the cook with a lovely song playing in the background. Enter master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who counsels young daddy that the most important role he needs to play is that of the protector, hence, of course, Aviva Life Insurance plans. Need I say more? I'd rather not.

Creating happiness

When a mining giant like Vedanta puts out a long (over a minute) message on television, I perk up and take notice. The film uses story-telling to great effect. It tells us a story about a little girl (who is brilliantly cast) and her brothers who go to school, have access to computers, are now able to dream big and will hopefully have a brighter future than those before them had. The story subtly draws parallels between the life her parents led in the same area, and what the little tot could now hope to have. Towards the end of the film, a few supers list some of the activities that Vedanta has done in the region, including setting up anganwadis, health care camps and the like. It ends with the sign-off, “Vedanta, creating happiness”. One can easily see the hand of Piyush Pandey in the stirring script and the film on the whole. It is a very positive and creative attempt at putting Vedanta's best profile forward. What is needed is a sustained effort like this to slowly give the company a chance to tell its side of a story and hopefully begin the process of building a positive brand.

Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. addendum.brandline@gmail.com

(This article was published on February 22, 2012)
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