Eyeballing 2012

Dec 18 2012, 02:13 IST
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SummaryUneven creative output marked the year gone by. If there was anything new, it was that telecom gave away its pride of place in Indian advertising to internet start-ups.

with consumers, otherwise it finds itself living from campaign to campaign.

The category that seemed to be coming into its own, at least in terms of visibility, was that of the various internet start-ups that, flush with valuation-backed funding, have populated our screens with great gusto. The most consistent performer here, in terms of advertising, has been Flipkart; the idea of kids acting as adults might by itself not be a creative breakthrough, but the executions have been charming, and thanks to its consistency and visibility, the campaign has delivered some sense of coherence to the brand. For the category as a whole, of course, coherence is the one quality that has remained remarkably elusive. The typical advertising in this category tends to be exaggerated to the point of being somewhat unhinged; prime examples being the trying-so-hard-that-it-bleeds attempt by Quikr featuring Bob Biswas and the decidedly strange offering dished out by Godaddy.com. Salman Khan’s presence made a ham-handed Yatra.com campaign worse. Untethered by having to cater to too many ground realities, internet and e-commerce start-ups seem to reside in a world of their imagination. The pressure to be whimsical makes for some very uneven creative output; 2012 was certainly a great illustration of this aspect.

Some of the better work this year included Cadbury’s on-going campaign—though less distinguished than last year’s effort it continued to move along a very clear and well-defined trajectory. This year the quality was less consistent, but there were winners like the ‘in-laws, outlaws’ commercial featuring a young couple talking on the sidelines of a wedding, and the one where a wife tells her husband she is pregnant. The Cadbury’s Milk Shots campaign that featured Anurag Kashyap looking for appropriate people to cast in a new film worked well, although the same could not be said of another brand from the stable, Oreo, which is too cutesy for its own good. In the case of Oreo, one senses the heavy hand of international campaign formats lurking somewhere in the background.

Tanishq was another brand that did some consistently good work; the wedding gift and the solitaire commercials in particular, use a simple idea to exceedingly good effect. The depiction of a taciturn husband displaying affection for his wife in a gruff understated way was executed flawlessly in both cases. The idea of making jewellery conversational without losing out on its specialness is a delicate task and the brand has

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