Invincible Indians

RAMESH NARAYAN | Updated on January 16, 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 Bajaj came up with a unique idea of buying the steel that came from the INS Vikrant which was being scrapped and using that metal to build its range of motorbikes called the Bajaj V. This powerful idea set many an imagination on fire. The Vikrant was as well-known as it was beloved. Its journey to the scrap yard was followed with horror by many. The idea of it being resurrected as a muscle-motorbike was amazingly received. Now Bajaj V and Leo Burnett have come up with a series of five films based on the lives and contributions of five ordinary Indians who have lived extraordinary lives. Five simple people who have forged their lives into tales of incredible achievement. And Bajaj V salutes these Indians as the “Invincible Indians”. I needn’t even have seen the films to have said that this was an amazing idea. Bit I did. I saw this long-format (about 3 minutes-plus) film on a man who used his motorbike as a mobile ambulance to ferry innumerable patients in need of hospital care from the tea fields and hilly regions of North East India. Of course, the film is made well. Of course, it chronicles the incredible efforts of a great human being. But when you have such a wonderful idea at the core of your communication, everything else just has to fall into place. And in this case, it does, effortlessly. And the association with the brand appears to be a perfect fit. This is good brand building at work.

Fusing with imagination

Mondelez India wants to own the commute time with a fun-filled offering called Fuse. It’s a chocolate with caramel and peanuts. Snickers, beware! There’s competition in the market. O&M have this 45-second fun-filled commercial to get you to fuse with this new chocolate. There’s this young yoga instructor who is putting a corporate group through their paces. But as she asks them to breathe in and turn right, her young and fertile imagination, probably fuelled by some old-fashioned hunger, makes her imagine a giant Fuse chocolate appearing in the doorway. Transfixed by this delectable apparition she forgets the class and begins following what she imagines as the smart move the peanuts and chocolate bar are making in her mind. The obedient class follows her antics and the funny end is when she dives to the floor to ensnare the giant-sized imaginary chocolate, and has the classroom filled with serious corporate types diving to the floor too. So this irresistible fun-filled chocolate can actually get not just your taste buds going, but your imagination as well. Funny enough. I like any entertainment. So what’s the price? I have to add it to my consolidated purchase list and pay for with my card. Like India, I’m planning my purchases now (no impulse buying) and going digital.

Chipping in at wedding-time

The times they are a-changing! And advertising messages reflect that change. This is the marriage season. And this is also an atmosphere surcharged with some uncertainty about getting your hands on cash. While couldn’t have anticipated the latter, it surely timed the release of its digital campaign well to coincide with the marriage season. The digital offering for what is described as a financial platform is a well-made, short film by Manoj Shetty. It shows the father of the bride settling bills after the wedding and then being stunned to receive a letter and a cheque from his daughter for what would be a part payment of the wedding expenses. Yes, this is symbolically a measure of the change in social attitudes and standing of young women today and good direction combined with sensitive acting blends to produce something that is not just different but also meaningful.

Tea time

And you have three films from Scarecrow Communications for Wagh Bakri Chai. Short, sweet, impactful. I loved the ones which showed the very expressive lady and the almost-as-expressive Sardar. The Marathi manoos fell short in my opinion, or at least in contrast. When you have one artist in one frame saying one thing, you better get everything right. Yet, the effort gets an overall thumbs up. And of course as always, I never cease to be intrigued by the name of the tea …Wagh Bakri.

Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. Mail your comments to

Published on December 08, 2016

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