Red hot, spicy

RAMESH NARAYAN | Updated on January 17, 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.

I love the world of airlines. Sure, they have changed drastically since the early Sixties when flying was a luxury and everything was positioned around the romance of flying. Then jet fuel became expensive, costs needed to be cut. So the pendulum swung the other way. Deccan and Captain Gopinath brought flying down to the lowest common denominator, and suddenly, everyone could fly. Cheap was good. The idea seemed to pack in as many people as one could into an aircraft and try and make sense of the economics that were making almost all the airlines fly into a sea of red as far as their balance sheets were concerned. Now the pendulum is swinging back again, prudently, sensibly, but swinging back for sure. Spice Jet, which was squarely positioned as a low-cost carrier with no frills, has a new advertising campaign for what it calls Spice Max. This product offers you priority features, more leg room and a meal with a beverage thrown in as well. Of course, for a little extra money. I saw one TVC which has a young lady standing in a long queue only because she was sandwiched between two gorgeous hunks. The script goes on to say that queues are a no-no when it comes to flying. And proceeds to expound the benefits of Spice Max which is finally described as red hot and spicy. It’s one of those product-heavy ads which work. And the good acting by the young lady only helps. The point to note is that while we are still far away from the romance of flying, the airlines have realised that not all passengers are willing to splash money around. And not all are willing to be squashed like sardines or made to move like zombies in never-ending queues. So let’s make room for everyone!

Energy pops!

Every festival or religious occasion in India has the potential to be converted into a huge marketing possibility. And the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra (after which the English word ‘juggernaut’ came into being) is one such opportunity. Lakhs of devout pilgrims walk in conditions of extreme humidity to stand and watch the awesome spectacle. Enter The Brand Brewery with an innovative idea for Tata Salt. Make about one lakh “energy pops”, ice popsicles (like a ‘ gola’) with purified water, lemon juice and Tata Salt and distributed from customised carts. Think about it. A sweltering day, you are drained of salts and fluids and someone offers you this icy, tangy, salty delight which both refreshes and energises you as well. Whoever said a popsicle needed to be sweet? And what a wonderful way to spread the message about the properties of Tata Salt. Now, someone should start making these popsicles on a regular basis and Tata Salt should get into the energy popsicle segment. What a great diversification it would be!

Out of this world

First you had Havells going all serious and sentimental with its campaign against corruption, reservation and the like. Not to be left behind, Anchor fans went a step further and said it would be better to change the way we think ( Soch Badlo) instead of changing the atmosphere around us ( Hawa Badlo). So where do you go from there? Finolex, the cable company and Boing!, a creative agency, decided that if they needed to make a dent in this cluttered market for fans they needed to think differently. So they decided to think not just out of the box, but out of this world. Yes, hyperbole and humour, if mixed in right measures, can produce memorable results, and that’s what Finolex and Boing have achieved. They put young Babloo in a spacecraft and supplied him with nice parathas, but the pickle ran out. When astronaut Babloo announced with horror that he had run out of pickle it creates a national furore. TV channels get some breaking news, newspapers run front page headlines and technocrats and bureaucrats are driven to despair trying to solve this huge problem. The art direction and production values are as impeccable as the story line is deliberately far-fetched. But momma isn’t likely to let her sonny Babloo go without her home-made pickle. Not while she has her wits around her, her Finolex fans around her and her trusted Ramoo Kaka around as well. So suddenly you have Ramoo Kaka being propelled up into outer space by a strong tornado created by five Finolex fans aimed at the heavens. He delivers the pickle jar and the fans save the day. Great special effects add to the look and feel of this film. I love it. All the world needs is fans!

Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. Mail your comments to

Published on July 21, 2016

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