Looks like nothing can go wrong if Salman Khan is involved. His movies, like them or not, understand the phenomenon or not, are all mega hits and now we have him starring in a high-voltage ad film for Thums Up created by Leo Burnett. The script is simple enough. Salman walks into the friendly kirana store and asks for some toofan (thunder aka Thums Up). The shopkeeper tells him the supply truck is stuck in some major traffic jam. The non-stop action begins as Salman lands on top of the truck and dramatically has it lifted by a heavy-duty chopper and transported right outside the shop. Dramatic visuals, pulsating music and excellent editing all contribute to create one more hit for Sallu Bhai and Thums Up. We’ve got used to some similar drama from Thums Up with Akshay Kumar before this, but this commercial takes things to a new high. The way things are going people will really start asking for some Toofan soon!

Prioritise shopping

Remember the earlier ad for Jabong.com? Hey, with all that well-timed and better-executed screaming and shrieking one could hardly miss it. Talk about screaming for attention! It certainly caught mine. Well, Draft FCB Ulka has decided to take Jabong.com into a new dimension with its new TVC. A dimension where mindless impulse-buying is the order of the day. Where today’s latest fashions and deals take preference over mundane things like a child’s education. A dimension where shopaholic is hero. Where you celebrate living for the moment, certain in the confidence that tomorrow never comes. Where today’s shopping is all important. A very real dimension in a world that is going completely consumerist. Or has it already gone that way? A rather scary world for someone like me. But then this ad isn’t targeting me anyway. And whoever said advertising must promote responsible behaviour? So loosen your tie (and your purse strings), lighten up and live la dolce vita. Remember, tomorrow never comes …

Problem-solving

The life insurance sector is really buzzing. And Bharti Axa Life has been very active in the advertising space. The company has a new commercial specifically tackling the issues involved in settling claims. Remember the earlier TVC where the elderly lady was visibly upset at having to make repeated visits to claim her late husband’s life insurance? The lady’s acting and the tone of the film made a very real impact on me. Here too, while they have used the technique of a popular retro Bollowood song “Aap yahan aaye kis liye” and cleverly edited in an entire script to match the message with the song, they have honestly shown the travails of a poor insured gentleman trying to settle his claim. The smug officer who is quick to point out what is not available with the insured person, the mad rush to get little things such as pictures and photocopies, the firm adherence to office timings by the insurance company employee are all irritants one is able to immediately relate to. And then the Bharti Axa difference is shown where they now introduce a dedicated claim settlement officer to come to your home and attend to all your needs related to settlement of a claim. Somehow, by showing real-life situations, the honesty theme plays through in this film by Publicis as well. And that is good. With dedicated claim settlement officers, the offerings certainly look very interesting.

Good stories

I have always liked the looks of the Mahindra XUV 500, and I have liked the fact that it had a design team headed by a young Indian lady even more. Inspired by the fascinatingly sleek lines of the cheetah, the XUV 500 goes back to its roots in the latest commercial created by Interface Communications and Chrome Films. Yes. The entire unedited film is lovingly shot in South Africa. (It could never be Kenya where they would not have allowed such “interface” with the animals.) And so you have these endless landscapes, and tough terrain, and amazing animal shots of giraffe and ostriches and wildebeest and even with the haunting melody in the background the creators of the film manage to keep the XUV 500 the hero of the film. Honestly, with all the cinematic opportunities and music magic, you could have lost a lesser car. The final shots are the best. The cheetah on the bonnet of the car is a fitting finale to a nicely made auto commercial. I recall an old Arabic blessing (some call it a curse), “May you live in interesting times”. This TVC has an interesting tag line that goes “May your life be full of stories”. I like this one.

(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. Write in with either advertisements you wish reviewed or with your comments at addendum.brandline@gmail.com )

Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant.

(This article was published on March 7, 2013)
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