Bike brothers

Ramesh Narayan | Updated on March 08, 2018


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.

What if Jai and Veeru of Sholay fame junked their motorbike-with-a-sidecar and opted for two rugged motorbikes? Not the same brand. How would Ramesh Sippy have shot the famous Yeh Dosti song? Well, that’s the gist of the new digital offering from Bajaj Avenger and Mullen Lintas. You have two bearded young men stepping out of a tent in a place that could be somewhere in Ladakh. The super announces it is Brotherhood Day. They mount their respective bikes and the camera zooms in to show the bold Royal Enfield branding on the fuel tank of one of the bikes. You get tantalising shots of the clear Royal Enfield branding a couple of times more. By this time you are sure this is an Enfield Bullet’s commercial. But the voice-over tells you, in its own way, that it is not. Then towards the end, after you have heard all about brotherhood in a rather lacklustre script, the camera zooms in on the branding of the other bike. As my aging eyes squinted to see the name, they failed at first and then a nice helpful extreme close-up tells you it is an Avenger. Boy, you think, so the Bajaj Avenger can actually do all the things a Bullet can? You are impressed. By then you realise this is an ad for the Avenger. A rather nice way to tell you that the Bajaj Avenger is comparable to the Enfield Bullet without looking like a little brother tugging at the finger of the older sibling and trying to swagger like him. Sound strategy, executed well. And all that brotherhood? Oh, forget that! Think they’ll realise that the Avenger branding needs a makeover? Something a little more readable. Something like Royal Enfield? Brotherhood 2.0, with new improved branding …

Only Global

There are these three TVCs for Vimal suitings, set in the UK. The models look very international and they highlight three aspects of the range of suit fabric. One, that it has a unique anti-stain feature, the other an anti-odour feature and the third its anti-crease aspect. And to communicate this, RIL and IBD have commercials where these foreigners ride their mobikes in their spiffy suits through huge puddles of muddy water reminiscent of Mumbai on Ganpati Visarjan day. And this harrowed looking guy sweats his way through the day in his Vimal suit and arrives for his surprise party ready to throw his arms around everyone and smell like a fresh lily (deo manufacturers beware), and our hero is in action again, unwilling to be late even as he and his friends are stuck in London traffic. So he decides to position himself as England’s next decathlon hope as he vaults over railings to reach his appointment bang on time. Of course, his coat has nary a wrinkle on it. All the commercials end with the well-known “Only Vimal” refrain. Very functional fabric. What about the advertising? Well, I haven’t understood the rationale for the international cast and British locales. For a desi company that built the world’s largest petroleum refinery and is on the verge of setting up a telephony enterprise that would rival the best in the world, it’s confusing, to say the least. We admired Dhirubhai and now Mukeshbhai because they are world beaters. Not people who aspire to be anything other than “only Indian”. I recall the famous line by the late Frank Simoes for the Vimal Sari range, “a woman expresses herself in many ways. Vimal is one of them”. Now that’s a classic. What a fall, my countrymen!

Vox Pop: And this from our regular reader Madhulika Rawal on the TVC for Munch biscuits. “In this ad we see Shankar Mahadevan challenging Shruti Haasan to sing a song in one breath. She doubts herself but then she takes a bite of the new Munches which ‘crunches’ her fear. However, far from being energetic, it is just a fast-paced version of Kolaveri di with nonsensical lyrics. The music is foot-tapping, considering it is composed by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy but the lyrics are a complete hogwash!” Remember, I never said this.

(Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. Send your comments to

Published on September 22, 2016

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