We shall overcome

RAMESH NARAYAN | Updated on March 10, 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.

Happy New Year! I’m going to start and end this column on a note of positivity and wish you have only positive thoughts and actions through the year.

I loved the sentiment behind Paper Boat’s offering for the new year. It has a vocal rendering of the song Hum Honge Kamyaab being sung by everyone. It presents a vignette of real stories of people who are succeeding and inspiring us to succeed. Whether it is the person manufacturing low-cost sanitary napkins or AIB or Shaheen Mistry and her Teach For India or ten other such stories. The thought behind the film is worth saluting. The content is inspiring, the crafting is superb. Promise yourself: Hum Honge Kamyaab!

More holidays ahead

HDFC Life wants to urge people to plan for their retirement at an earlier age. Hoping to catch the 35-40 age group, it has this TVC which shows parents on see-saws with their two children. The wife is heard complimenting the husband for booking the winter holiday ahead of time. He replies that he has both looks and brains. As if on cue, the kids rush off the see-saws to play elsewhere. The wife wonders aloud what they would do after the kids are grown up and gone. The husband, who joins her on her see-saw, replies that then their holidays would begin in right earnest and they can take two holidays a year instead of one. When the wife quizzes him whether someone would be giving him a salary even after retirement he says, yes, he has begun planning his retirement early and is investing in an appropriate insurance scheme. The film ends with the wife saying she married him for his looks, the brains have now come as a bonus. This is a competent ad film. No fuss, but spells out its message clearly. The positive inducement of a holiday-filled retired life could work better than some negative reinforcement. And the see-saw idea is novel.

Being responsible Netizens

A friend of mine, Homi Bhabha, has taught me digital etiquette. If there is a shred of doubt in his mind about the report he forwards, he writes (in bold) “not verified, forwarded as received”. This puts one’s antennae up. I am more circumspect when I read the article and then decide whether I want to forward it or not. But this is e-mailing. Today with FB and Twitter and things going viral in minutes, we owe it to ourselves to be socially responsible netizens. The recent digitally altered full-page ad of Big Bazaar was not just in very poor taste but an example of what is now increasingly being accepted with a shrug of the shoulders and a hit to the “post” button. Why are we willing to publicise something that could be a horrible mistake or a case where some salacious pervert deliberately altered it and put it up on social media? While I am harsh on this pervert, I want to apportion a little blame to everyone who contributed to it going viral. Guys, let’s be a little kinder to mistakes and a little blinder to deliberate sickos. Make that your new year’s resolution, please!

Good ads

There are good ads and there are ads that essay good. The last year has seen both types. Good ads are those that do their job well. They help market a product, promote a scheme, build an image. The second category are ads such as P&G’s ‘Touch the Pickle’ ad, the Fevikwik Thodo nahin, jodo! ad and the Dabur Vatika cancer patient ad. These show that communication can and is being used as a force for good. These ads were for real products but told their story in a way that something good came out not just for the brand, but for a larger purpose as well. I doff my hat to the creators of these ads. I am missing out a couple of wonderful ads in this genre. Go ahead, dear readers, remind me of at least one such message that stirred you and left you wanting more.

Published on January 07, 2016

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