The start of the financial year has seen brands get off to a great start with several good campaigns flooding the screens. Some of these, like Ariel, are annual iterations — a nice touch, for it shows continuity of thought and messaging.

The real star

Online travel firm MakeMyTrip’s latest campaign uses star power rather differently. The stars never show their face. The campaign has four films starring Bollywood’s Bhidu – Jackie Shroff, the God of Dance – Prabhu Deva and the ‘Breathless’ Grammy-winning singer-composer Shankar Mahadevan and two cricketing legends. Each of these personalities are so distinct in their style, voice and attitude that anyone familiar with their work will recognise them even without seeing their face. MakeMyTrip plays on this insight to showcase the platform as the ‘Asli Star’ (real hero) of the campaign, highlighting the benefits of booking hotels and homestays on the platform. Peppered into the ad films are inside jokes for the delight of true fans. Wonderfully quirky and clutter breaking. The campaign has been conceptualised by the creative agency Talented.

Singing Dhoni

Another ad with an inside joke that stands out is EMotorad’s new campaign featuring cricketer MS Dhoni singing ‘Bole Jo Koyal’ while riding an e-cycle. The video is an ode to the meme that went viral in 2019 and featured a Mahi look-alike grooving to Bole jo Koyal. The brand wanted to bring the same meme to life, by getting Dhoni to sing the song while educating customers about their e-cycles. In the ad, Dhoni is seen riding a T-rex Air EMotorad e-cycle even as two animated koyals admire his ride. The ad scores as it captures a new facet of Thala Dhoni!

Handwash rap

How do you get kids to inculcate the habit of handwashing? Throw in some hip hop and rap and make it a fun activity. Savlon’s new campaign for the Swasth India Mission promoting the habit of handwashing is endearing and appealing. Created by Ogilvy India, it has brought together the children of The Dharavi Dream Project, an NGO, and rap artist Emiway Bantai who has penned a handwash anthem ‘Haath Dhona Cool Hai’ to encourage hand hygiene. Bantai, popularly knows as King of the Streets, has used the cultural nuances of hip hop to compose the handwash anthem that has kids grooving to its beat. This is hacking culture to spread an important message in a fun way.

A strong home team

This is the ninth year in a row Ariel India has come out with a campaign that urges more men to #ShareTheLoad. In Ariel’s latest film, ‘HomeTeams #ShareTheLoad,’ the focus is on reiterating household chores as a collective responsibility through the story of Aisha, a professional balancing her career and home responsibilities. Aisha’s apprehension about leaving for a work trip in Singapore reflects a common dilemma for women, who often worry about their partners’ ability to handle household chores. The dilemma gets resolved when her husband overhears a conversation between Aisha and her boss on the phone and steps up.

Free stays

Cricket season is upon us, and OYO has a contest for fans, the reward being 6,000 free stays across its premium properties. OYO’s Free Stays League campaign invites cricket fans to participate in a daily prediction challenge. Participants who correctly predict the winner of each match in the ongoing T20 tournament will be entered into a daily draw. As a part of this campaign, OYO has launched an ad film which playfully addresses those who might try to leverage personal connections for a free stay. The light-hearted ad features characters boasting about their (fictitious) connections with OYO founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal. Well played.

Devilish idea

Trust Onida to come up with a devilish idea to push its air conditioners. Its summer campaign Thande Dimaag ki Soch, conceptualised by Onads Communications, shows an underdog cricket team facing a formidable opponent. However, the home team’s coach vanquishes the opponent by making them dream of rushing back to the cool confines of the dressing room and thus getting out quickly. Good to see the iconic Onida Devil from the 1980s revitalised again.

Uniform opportunity

Fabric stain removal brand Vanish has launched a new campaign #VanishTheDifference for its new fabric whitener, Vanish Crystal White. The campaign tells the story of a young boy who is displaced from the front of a line and pushed back as his shirt is no longer white and lacks brightness. A dull uniform can become a cause for discrimination. With this campaign, Vanish focuses on spreading the message that uniforms should never become a reason for loss of opportunity for any child, by making uniforms, uniform again. It has been conceptualised by Havas Worldwide India.

Glitz and glam

Bharti Airtel’s ‘Xstream Fiber’ is glitzy and entertaining in keeping with the showy content it is promoting. Directed by filmmaker Ram Madhvani and Equinox Films, the campaign made in collaboration with ad agency Fundamental brings to life the abundance of entertainment choices available through Airtel Xstream Fiber. Characters from beloved shows across various OTT platforms, including Netflix, Prime Video, and more, burst onto the scene, accompanied by a captivating soundtrack showcasing the seamless integration of OTT platforms and TV channels. Though watchable, it does not touch the exalted heights of Madhvani’s Har Ek Friend film for Airtel.