GoaFest winners

High five The Gondappa ad

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.

All you readers of this column must have noticed that we had predicted that a couple of advertisements would sweep the awards shows. Well, the GoaFest was held last week and we are happy to report that our predictions came true (not that you ever doubted they wouldn’t). It was Google and Gondappa who carried the top honours for film craft.

I have already reviewed the Google ad but I will add and repeat that it was one of the finest efforts made. Story-telling at its best. Great direction, great performances and great music, all the ingredients for a great cinematic experience. And to repeat what Piyush Pandey said in Lahore last November where he played this film for a large international audience (I was fortunate to have been present): “I have seen this film a hundred times and I have cried every time”. Yes. I have seen it maybe ten times and it drew a tear from my eyes every single time. That is the power of a truly great piece of communication. And as Rajan Anandan of Google said in Goa last week, the film also revealed the splendour of the digital medium as one that unshackled creative people from the manacles of the 30-second time frame.

Here not just the Director’s cut but the film that the ultimate consumer watches could be an extravagant three minutes (as the Google film was) and people like those at Chrome Films who made this film can think long-format from the very beginning. And then there was the Gondappa film, again made by Chrome Films, this time for Hindustan Unilever. Once again you had an unhurried pace and an opportunity for the camera and the script to lovingly narrate a story, bring out emotions, maximise impact and convey a powerful message. This was actually a bold film. It had a strikingly different look and feel, it had a Tamil song that was really the only “dialogue” and an emotional finale. One needs to congratulate the advertisers, the agencies (so what if they were not present, their work was) and the film-maker for two memorable films that really defined the year.

Not quite tuned in

OK, here’s this blushing bride all bedecked and ready to walk around the holy fire, and she is reading this magazine where she sees an advertisement for a watch with a leather strap. She remembers her groom-to-be having said he really liked “leather watches”. No, she does not send him back to grade school to learn proper English (though the script-writer could be dispatched there). She picks up her telephone and logs on to Rediff.com and quickly orders it. The groom is, of course, thrilled to get the “leather watch” as a gift (I couldn’t quite understand the delivery time involved) but I was left wondering why the Hindi film song playing in the background said (and I loosely translate), “Maybe we will not have another chance to meet in this lifetime”. Rather ominous a thought on your wedding day, one would imagine. All-in-all, an opportunity lost.

All heart

Rotary International has released yet another advertisement. This time it’s about their Saving Little hearts programme which evidently has resulted in 5,000 heart surgeries for underprivileged children. The creative has great continuity with the earlier advertisement which spoke about the anti-polio campaign which the Rotary movement in India and abroad can be justifiably proud of. Some superb animation depicts a little girl formed out of the lines of a palm lying in bed strapped with all kinds of IV lines and hospital support systems. The girl tries to rise, in vain. Then the other hand appears with a swing formed again out of the lines on the palm. The girl perks up, breaks free of these constraints and swings onto the other side and is shown healthy and happy. The pace of the film could be a little faster, but otherwise, the effort by JWT Kolkata is rather interesting and definitely unique.

(Ramesh Narayan is a communications consultant. Send your feedback to [email protected] )

Published on June 05, 2014


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