Great going

RAMESH NARAYAN | Updated on January 20, 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.

We had commented about an earlier advertisement from Havells fans that had job reservations as a theme and was withdrawn for certain reasons. I am very happy to see that the spirit behind the Havells team and their advertising agency Lowe Lintas is alive and well. This time they have a TVC with three segments. The tone and treatment remains the same as the one on reservations which was withdrawn, with good reason. It’s a great tone and treatment. The script is top class, the theme this time is about a “white fan”, a builder who refuses to take cash and insists on cheque payment, a politician (a tall and upright fan) who removes illegal hoardings of himself and a blind girl who confidently strides forward to take a test as a news reader.

Each one of these protagonists is a fan. Main pankha hoon is the common refrain that brings to the forefront the fact that if we change, we can bring about change. It also shows the faces of the brave new Indian. An Indian who wants to be the change she expects in the country around her. It’s an effort in amazing positivity. One that fills me with hope. And the fact that the agency has interwoven this social message so deftly into the commercial message of building the Havells brand takes the effort to a new level altogether. Seeing the advertising, I’m happy to say, main pankha hoon. Of the communication.

For the fan club

Talking about fans, there’s a different kind of a fan in town right now. A movie called Fan. And Western Union has made a TVC based on this film. It talks about the fact that when people are all important to us, we would do anything for them. Similarly Western Union has been moving money, quickly and efficiently, to meet the needs of the people we love. In times of need, as an expression of love and so on. Shah Rukh Khan himself completes the action orientation part of the film, exhorting people to use Western Union to transfer money in a time window, and possibly win an opportunity to meet with him in person. It’s all a part of movie marketing. And Western Union rides piggy back on the persona of King Khan this time. Fairly useful for the brand, but I wish the pace of the dialogue was a tad slower. I know you had to fit it in 30 seconds, but that doesn’t mean you should say everything at express speed …

Different strokes

What else would we do for a true differentiator? Anything, I guess. We are always looking for one. In the product, price, promotion, packaging and, of course, in the communication. So Hyundai and Innocean Worldwide have created a music video for the Hyundai i20. So what’s new with a music video? Well, how about one with music that is created with the sounds created in the i20? For example, the sounds of the doors closing, the sound of the wipers whirring, the sound of the locks or the sound of the horn. To embellish it, you add sounds created by playing the drums with your hands on the car, or with drumsticks on its tyre. Then add Arijit’s voice and the rap of Clinton Cerejo. Don’t say “Clinton who?” You will be exposing your ignorance about the national rap scene (and joining me in that space). The result is the Drive mein Junoon or the divine madness of the i20. It’s a pretty nifty song, and it has this interesting story to tell. So that’s a great differentiator. So let’s get this straight. These are sounds that are created with and around the car. If it was just the car sounds of the i20 it could be positioning itself as a rather noisy car (just kidding). And then I cannot forget David Ogilvy at the AdAsia 1983 in New Delhi being introduced as the legend who wrote the line “At 60mph, the only sound you hear is that of the clock ticking” for Rolls Royce. And the Vice-President of India who inaugurated the AdAsia said, if I was the client I would have given David £50 for his pains … and fixed the clock. We’ve come a long way, baby!

Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. Mail your comments to

Published on April 21, 2016

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