Clean up

RAMESH NARAYAN | Updated on January 19, 2018


Addendum is a weekly 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.

First, a disclaimer. I am a fan of the Swachh Bharat initiative. I believe it is something Governments should have done a long time ago, but better late than never. After the usual vocal minority ridiculed it and kept pointing out the flaws in it, I am very happy that corporate India sees merit in it and has hopped onto the bandwagon, big time. So we have the real biggie Hindustan Unilever committing to an initiative it has nicely branded Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat (clean habits, clean India). And their Haath, Munh, Bum film is a great support to this initiative. The idea of using kids to educate is not new. But the insight that words such as “bum” are never looked at askance if uttered by kids is a winner. So you have a bunch of kids running through this little town which looks like it is somewhere in Rajasthan, shouting “ haath, munh, bum” at random people who are either defecating in the open, about to eat their food, or feed children, and who are in public toilets. Finally the village elders question them about this seemingly dirty slogan and a child replies that the idea is that people should wash their hands before eating, drink clean water and keep their toilets clean. And these are good habits that would keep everyone healthy. I love the fact that HUL has been very subtle and soft-sell in this rather well-made film. It could have easily pushed its hand soap (Lifebuoy), water purifier (Pureit) and toilet cleaning liquid (Domex) powerfully. But the idea of being a part of a larger idea, the idea of a clean India and a healthy India comes across wonderfully precisely because the brands are not in your face. And sales will follow.

Class act

How many times have you seen something so classy you feel like acting classy yourself? That’s the insight Crabtree electrical appliances and Mullen Lintas are running with. In 25 seconds they convey the message. Two techies are lounging around in T-shirts, chewing gum and waiting for a possible investor to come back after taking his call. One of the techies sees the Crabtree switches. He is transfixed. He motions to the grubby-looking partner. The partner sees the switches. Feels the need to put on his glasses and have another look. Feels the need to put on a jacket, and then holds out a napkin for the friend to spit out his gum. Yes. They see something that looks classy. They want to look classy. It’s different. I like it.

Unleash your inner fashionista

So you thought high fashion was the exclusive preserve of the privileged few? Voonik, the online fashion store, and Mullen Lintas, want you to know you are wrong. And they’ve got Farah Khan to reinforce the message. So she exhorts you to imagine that every day is an opportunity to be fashionable. No matter who you are or where you are. Just think fashion, and transform yourself into a diva. There’s a stylishly attired young lady who makes the walk between grungy stalls in a vegetable market look like a catwalk to sashay down. Or another aspiring diva who transforms an ordinary walk home into a rain-drenched Bollywood fantasy. Or what about the casually chic young lady walking down the steps of an office building who mentally transforms the descent into a red carpet event with her blowing air kisses to the admiring crowds? You get the message, right? There’s a fashionista lurking within you. Go online to Voonik, buy, and unleash her. You have nothing to lose but a dowdy image.

Vox pop: Madhulika Rawal, our regular reader, wants you to know the ads that rid her of negativity and tiresome beliefs — the Jockey Move TVC, Titan Raga Right time to get married, Surf “ Daag achche hain”. She writes passionately about what she likes in them, but the constraints of space deny me the pleasure of giving you the entire message. Yet, the message is clear. If ads grab you and make you feel better, then “ads achche hain

Thank you, Madhulika! We love your attitude.

Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. Mail your comments to

Published on January 21, 2016

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