As we approach the end of the first month of this year's Indian Premier League, Campaign India caught up with adland to understand which is their favourite and least favourite ad on air during the tournament.
Here's what they had to say:
Director and CEO, ^ a t o m
Disclaimer first. I have taken off my advertising hat while mentioning the following ads. These are purely based on my reaction as a consumer. Also, in particular, I have not considered the ads that our agency has done. Not in the worst list for obvious reasons, and neither in the best to nullify the bias.
My favourite ad this IPL season is Spotify. Simple storytelling, nicely executed, tackles a very strong behaviour people show with music and most importantly, product is at the core. Most of us have used music (then walkman) as a device to ignore things which we wanted to. Be it the persistence of parents to finish homework, or constant nagging by siblings. It is therefore highly relatable and enjoyable for me. David Ogilvy said, “While an advertisement cannot be effective without drawing attention, that attention must be on the product, not the advertisement". And the Spotify work is a shining example of that.
The ad which has been my consistent choice amongst the list of ads which could have been better is Vimal Pan Masala. An ad, which features three top of the league stars, could have used a bit of storytelling. Leave aside the ethical reasons, the ad lacks any kind of imagnication or entertainment value. Yes, the consistent use of the V signature should generate high brand recall. But it stops there.
Co-founder and creative head, One September
Favourite IPL ad: I love the Spotify campaign. Music does make every boring, irritating, unpleasant or dull situation, much better. *listening to music while typing this*
A simple bang-on insight is brought alive by a well-crafted entertaining idea that is so relatable and has so much leg across regions, states and geographies of India. Great casting and characters. Mazza aa gaya!
Least favourite ad: The card gets detected by the metal detector. The protagonist starts dancing and plays around with the bouncer. Until she reveals her metal card. All the other party-goers applaud her performance. Read that aloud. Mind-blown.
Founding team, SuperTeamDAO
Favourite ad(s): Jaquar Lighting - now that's how you milk a banging insight across three films without it getting boring. The execution and the idea come together perfectly with absolute hilarity and clarity.
Spotify - superb idea, great casting and brilliant direction. Love the situations in each film; as it's fresh and not based on trope-y, regular advertising-ish situations that we are used to seeing.
RuPay - mad idea, scripted very well and perfect escalation of the gag. Also, really nice use of a celeb who isn't the best cricketer-actor in the country.
Zepto - Love the fact they didn't go over-the-top with Shankar Mahadevan and kept it real. Brilliantly directed and perfect sound design ensures the idea lands beautifully.
Least favourite: I mean, let's keep moralities aside for a second. But you have SRK, Devgn and Akshay Kumar in one film. That's 1,000 cr worth of box office firepower and we all we get is a three people doing the Vimal sign to each other.
Head of art, Infectious
Favourite ad: Spotify India's campaign makes life better with music. What I like most is the idea of ‘how music helps dilute the dullness or tenacity of a situation. Besides this, I feel the situations are relatable and have the potential to strike a chord with every viewer. The films are fun, and showcase a great acting and expression game on the part of the performers. Here’s a campaign I can watch on loop this IPL season.
Least favourite ad: A campaign from IPL 2022 that I dislike is the Jar App ad featuring Nana Patekar. This ad falls short of driving a decision on the part of the viewer. It might catch plenty of eyeballs - owing to the notorious cast and iconic scene - but expecting a young professional to invest her salary in gold instead of spending seems a bit far fetched to me. All in all, I’m entertained but not convinced.
Favourite ad: Cred’s monopoly over great IPL advertising is facing healthy competition. My clear favourite was Burnett’s work for Spotify (also produced by EarlyMan films, if I’m not wrong) - responsible for atleast four new ear-worms for me.
Jaquar Lights by Enormous was also a favourite. And the chutzpah of 'PayTM direct' series from my alma mater Dentsu, written by Chaitanya Joshi, with a genius touch of using the PayTM sonic branding as part of the script, in the middle of the ad.
Least favourite: There aren’t ads I actively disliked as much as ones I probably ignored.
Head of creative (South India), McCann Worldgroup
Favourite: Jaquar is the campaign that really stood out for me. It used Jaquar’s USP (i.e. bath-fittings) as a great springboard to talk about their new offering (i.e. lighting) in a very memorable way. Kudos to the agency and the client team for playing in the front foot with this one.
Least favourite: The one campaign that didn’t cut much ice is Dream11 - I found the celeb cricketer stories contrived and unconvincing. This was a no-ball.
Founder and chief creative officer, Thinkstr
Favourite ad: While the IPL hasn’t become the Super Bowl for Indian advertising, commercials aired during matches do get noticed more. They have to compete with the excitement generated by sixes that are getting longer and longer. Unlike the Super Bowl, a vast majority of commercials during IPL feature players who are also part of the teams playing. Each sponsoring brand gets a few hours with a motley crew of world class players who are third class actors. Many are shot against green backdrops with surroundings added later in post production. Net result is advertising that’s passable at best and cringeworthy at worst. No wonder, spots that you remember are usually the ones that do not have players. From this year’s collection, Spotify hit the spot. I think they’re wonderful.
My sympathies are with creative teams and production houses, that work within extremely tight constraints to deliver player-centred work, lately from quarantined bubbles. You guys rock.
Least favourite: Only love and affection for the teams making the worst ones. I know how it is!
Sheetal Pritmani Mukherje
Favourite: Livspace. The ad has a very clear message and has hit the spot. I can relate to this ad, even when the television is on mute (I do that to ads while watching cricket). I can’t get Anushka's expression off my mind. It helps to capture the real experience in terms of memorability. The category is a little disorganised but brand consistency is still maintained.
Least favourite: Vimal Elaichi.
Co-founder and CCO, Tilt Brand Solutions
Favourite ads: Spotify, Zepto and Slice were my favourite. Spotify, Zepto and Slice are based on simple relevant insights and then the creators managed to find a decent leap in execution. Justice was done in the available duration.
Least favourite: Cred. It is clutching at straws. The pressure to be funny is killing it.
Chief strategy officer – Asia Pacific and head of global planning council, MullenLowe Group
Least favourite: Kamla Pasand
Chairman and chief creative officer, 82.5 Communications India
Favourite: I love the Jaquar lighting campaign because of the dry humour of the rather wet situations in the non-bathroom areas of the home! I love it because there is no over-the-top acting screaming ‘look, this is a funny ad’. I also love it because the connect is so simple and obvious and yet it wasn’t nixed by some exceedingly sound agency thinkers saying, ‘But, but, but what’s the long-term platform idea’?
Least favourite: I don’t particularly like the Vimal Elaichi ad because I don’t like this type of product to start with. And also because, if I wanted to watch a multi-starrer, I’d rather go for a 70s style 3-hour-long potboiler accompanied by popcorn and not… !