Taking a romantic walk down memory lane with adland

The industry’s creative minds speak with Campaign India on Valentine's Day about the brands that spell love for them, ones they enjoyed working on and the campaigns they’ll always cherish

Feb 14, 2022 03:53:00 AM | Article | Eularie Saldanha

The virus is still in the air, but so is love. Once again, we see couples indecisively browsing through gifting options to get some extra mush from their beaus or simply proclaim their love. While some fondly remember Valentine’s Day for the gifts they received, others prod their better halves to better their gifting game for the coming year. The hype around this day has had brands working their fingers to the bone, with the hope of coming out as beacons of love that their customers would always remember them for. 
 
This year, we chat with the industry's creative heads who reminisce their favourite Valentine’s Day campaigns and share names and stories from the brands that they’ll always associate the day of love with. 
 
Kainaz Karmakar, chief creative officer, Ogilvy India 
 
The brand that I associate Valentine’s Day with, is Cadbury Silk. Not only because we work on this brand, but also because it’s so closely knit with romance, which I believe is not the same as love. Love is the quiet and forever presence of feelings, while romance is the proclamation. And Silk is about the latter. It nudges you into an innocent fantasy about a grand gesture of love. However, SBI Life Insurance’s ‘Heere ko kya pata tumhaari umar’ (What does a diamond know about your age?) is my all-time favourite ad. It was made by Piyush Pandey and Prasoon Pandey. It is the best romance Indian advertising has seen and we have yet to work on anything that beats this.
 
 
Sambit Mohanty, creative head (South), McCann Worldgroup
 
Without a doubt, brand Coke comes to my mind when I think of Valentine's Day. Maybe it's something to do with the colour red that one invariably associates with a Valentine. Also, drinking Coca Cola leaves you feeling recharged and uplifted - much like how you feel with a loved one.
 
However, I loved working on the Facebook Thumbstoppers campaign, which required us to think up nano stories in 10 seconds. It was challenging, but we managed to pull it off! Love and faith go hand in hand and I was lucky that my clients at Facebook - Sunita GR and Jasveen Kaur - had belief in us. I once was also part of a meeting for another brand, where the marketing head said that they would love to do something like Thumbstoppers. That moment gladdened my heart.
 
 
Roopak Saluja, founder and CEO, BANG BANG Mediacorp
 
Hallmark is what comes to my mind because it is allegedly behind the creation and popularisation of Valentine's Day. Although I haven't worked on a Valentine's Day specific campaign, the one brand I loved working on was Motorola. I managed it regionally for Europe, the Middle East and Africa out of Ogilvy Paris in my network agency days in the early 2000s. The campaigns hugely involved music for the brand's marketing and messaging, with a specific focus on EDM and DJs. Since I was also a professional trance DJ at the time, I was lucky to fly around Europe and beyond, going to gigs at clubs and other venues with iconic DJs, all sponsored by the client of course!
 
Ayesha Ghosh, CEO, Taproot Dentsu
 
For me, it’s Ok Cupid. This is not only the dating app that Taproot worked for last year but also one, that for me, is synonymous with love. Ok Cupid is all about meaningful connections, in contrast to hook-ups. Many of us have experienced the world of dating apps, and so our discussions would inevitably result in an exchange of personal dating anecdotes. There are some funny stories about completely mismatched profiles to happier ones like mine, where I eventually married the guy I met on a chat site.
 
 
Unmisha Bhatt, co-founder, and chief strategy officer, Tonic Worldwide 
 
Cadbury's Dairy Milk, although, ironically, none of their Valentine’s Day campaigns have played a role in this recall value. Over the years, I’ve realised that it's not just about the day and the campaigns done on that day, but more about owning the brand essence consistently. I remember working on this fintech brand at Tonic in 2013 when we launched ‘Avoid Valentines Nightmares' campaign to promote their gift cards as a valentine gift for loved ones, as opposed to other gifts which might lead to disasters. It was a fun take, showcasing horror stories of valentine gifts gone wrong. Another brand I enjoyed working with, was Logitech UE Roll. We did a social music experiment with the help of host Luke Kenny to check if music can find you a date.