Shephali Bhatt
Jan 24, 2013

Work 2012: Adland gets laudatory and self-critical

Shephali Bhatt gets 15 admen to talk about one Indian ad they wish they had done. A few of them also spoke about one ad they could’ve done better in the year 2012.

Work 2012: Adland gets laudatory and self-critical


piyush pandeyPiyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, O&M India

If you ask me about one ad I wish I had done in 2012, my answer would be - “I did it.” (Referring to The Hindu Classroom TVC). I have no regrets whatsoever about 2012 because on 31 December, I looked back at the year gone by and I realised I had accomplished what I had in my wish list. I am happy about the work on ICICI too. I have a long wish-list for 2013 and it is in the same direction as The Hindu commercial. It involves an aspiration to create work that brings about some minor change in the society. I will be happy if I can accomplish 50 per cent of this wish-list in 2013.

piyush pandeyKartik Iyer, chief executive officer, Happy Creative Services

The Hindu’s commercial titled Classroom is one commercial I wish I had done. The ad is so relevant considering the current emotional situation in our country. The message is so strong and has so much truth in it. It is clearly what our country needs. And who better than a brand like The Hindu to deliver this message.

From the craft point-of-view, the film is so unexpected till the rowdy behaviour breaks out in the class room. Love the little touches of mike throwing, and porn watching as has been happening in our Indian parliament. The music is the icing on the cake.

Besides, being from the communications industry, I have always wanted to give back to society in some way using my capabilities other than just helping brands sell. This commercial encapsulates all that I have felt and wanted to do. Piyush  Pandey - Salute!

sonal dabralSonal Dabral, chairman, cheif creative officer, DDB Mudra Group

2012 threw up a lot of good ads though I must state, very few made me truly envious. The one I wish I had done would be the TVC for The Hindu done by Ogilvy and written by Piyush. It’s bold and takes a definite point of view. A point of view that’s thought provoking and a wakeup call in these rapidly deteriorating times. I found it insightful, impactful and like most of Piyush’s work, startlingly simple.

In fact, I wish I had not only written but also directed this TVC. Not only has Prasoon Pandey’s direction done full justice to the idea, it has actually raised it to a new level.  Everything about the set up, the cast and the action feels authentic.  Use of a soothing ‘Vaishnav Jana To’ on the track while the students go after each other’s blood, heightens the irony inherent in the idea.
I hope we see more ideas like this in 2013 and (in keeping with the theme of this feature) at least a few of them should be mine.

minakshiMinakshi Achan, co-founder, Salt Brand Solutions

The one Indian ad I wish I had done? That would be the Classroom commercial by Ogilvy for The Hindu. I thought it brilliantly depicted the decline in political culture in our country and reflected the sad times we live in.  It truly expresses the daily’s viewpoint on how the Indian youth perceives its politicians and parliamentary proceedings. Young people need powerful role models to set an example for them and the commercial reflected the grim reality of parliament today. I loved the thought of setting the right stage for the future leaders of the country and of asking the politicians to get responsible and behave.  Advertising should be meaningful and this one was. The sound track of ‘Vaishnava jana to’   was so ironical, it hit home brilliantly.

arun iyerArun Iyer, national creative director, Lowe Lintas

I wish I had done The Hindu Classroom commercial. It's a powerful thought with an impactful line - 'Behave yourself. The youth are watching'. The way the ad has been made, it hits you immediately. When you watch this ad you reckon you've lived with the thought of what the youth is growing up watching. The film makes a strong statement on the state of our country.

In hindsight, I feel most of the ads I had done could have been better. If you ask me specifically, we could have better executed the Surf Excel Matic ad where one of the two kids pretends to be a washing machine. It was a nice thought which somehow lost out on the execution front. We could have worked on creating an engaging visual for the part where the boy does some stuff masquerading as the washing machine.

bobby pawarBobby Pawar, chief creative officer, JWT India

I would have loved to do the IPL carnival ad (by Ogilvy). Great scale, great portrayal and all of it put in context of the game. Cricket is a thrilling roller coaster ride and that was captured well.


charles victorCharles Victor, national creative director, Law & Kenneth

It would have been great to have been part of the Flipkart TVCs (by Happy Creative Services). I’ve always been a fan of the writing and a bigger fan of those non-written moments of the film that added so much! Remember the forgetful guy’s temple roll on ‘thank god’? The spots were absolutely mad, nonsensical and hilarious, and drove the point home every time. It’s not very often that one gets to write a campaign that’s so childishly simple and single-minded. Congratulations to the team on hitting the right spot almost all the time and being consistent with the humour.(Actually, I think the only one I switched channels on was the Granny and the Mouse film but that was a long time ago!)

There’s no such thing as being entirely satisfied with a commercial you’ve made! I think anyone who’s ever made a commercial would love to go back in time and change something! I think if I could revisit an ad from 2012, it would be the Renault Scala launch TVC. Don’t get me wrong, I do like how it turned out and I believe Arun Gopalan, the director, did a fine job of what he was expected to do. But I do believe there was a little more that we could’ve done. There were so many humourous situations, glances, expressions and subtle background action that we shot that just couldn’t fit into the final film. In fact, we had enough to make two different 60 seconders in the end. So, if I could go back, I would’ve spent a little more time on the edit table, filtering harder on the final edits. But this is advertising. There never is a little more time!

santosh padhiSantosh Padhi, chief creative officer and co-founder, Taproot India

I wish I had done the Cadbury Gems Raho Umarless campaign, specially the exhibition one (by Ogilvy). The category does 90 per cent work on humour, most of which involves jokes being converted into scripts. This one has a brilliant insight to it; elder people behaving like kids is a very relevant thing to do for a chocolate category. Most grown-ups do become kids when they see a chocolate around.

At a first glance, the execution might remind you of Skittles’ ads, but the idea here is very different. The special effect is seamless and looks effortless.

There is a conscious decision to grow the brand beyond the kids’ space by targeting the grown-ups, another brave attempt by the brand to break the routine and do something new.

I think we did a great job on the recent Karbonn dual processor campaign, bringing in mad situations and a quaky track. Over all, I feel it’s an above average campaign in the phone category. It will sound clichéd, but if there were better monies and timelines, the final creative product could have been better, as these two things always help. This particular idea had the scope of doing more than three to four TVCs. The campaign could’ve been made bigger in scale. Though we have done lot more on digital via user-generated videos, but I feel some more films could have added to the zing.

zarvan patelZarvan Patel, founder, ideas@work

I wish I had done the Mumbai Mirror film (by Taproot India) which captures the city's rage against the machinery. I really liked the voice of the TVC. Great film and a brilliant positioning!

A piece of work that could’ve been better: I'm quite fond of all of our work this year, in both film and press, but since the Jumjoji viral was picked off the web by Malavika Sangghvi and virtually given a free run in Midday, let's give my favorite columnist and Freddie the benefit of doubt. For the Freddie Mercury ad for Jumjoji, a Parsi diner, we had initially used the asterisk on bhen as b*** and let the last four letters of the expletive spell themselves in the ad. A few folks did find our use of expletives a little too explicit, so the agency leaped into action and corrected it at once. In the very next press release, the asterisks were moved three letters to the right. Ah, perfect.

satbir singhSatbir Singh, managing partner and chief creative officer, Havas Worldwide (India)

While there are many campaigns that have been impressive in content and creativity, I would like to mention the Flipkart work. Most dotcom work has been loud and rather crass while the Flipkart films have been understated, with a dash of wit and have restored some sanity to the category. More power to the client and their wonderful independent agency (Happy Creative Services).

I shudder to speak about the work that we did that could have been done better because there’s a fair amount of that. And we’d need two editions of this magazine. With wisdom of hindsight, you always know what you shouldn’t have done or what you should have. An extra five seconds in one or ten less in another, more attention to a product window or less to a tagline are issues that you discover a week after a film’s first airing. It’s a bit like cricket. You know how you should have played a ball as you’re walking back to the pavilion.

ashish khazanchiAshish Khazanchi, national creative director, Publicis Ambience

I wish I had done the 'Honey Bunny' commercial for Idea (by Lowe Lintas). I have a huge inclination toward popular work that catches people's imagination. Often there's no formula to it, which is why it's magical how some ideas work spectacularly. This Idea commercial was plugged in effectively. Great campaign!

One ad I could have done better, I guess that would be the Renault Duster TVC. Though the film did very well for the brand, we could have done a much better job of crafting it. The idea was to highlight the 'unstoppable Indian' but somehow the film just centered on the car. We could have worked more on the visuals to bring out the persona of the individual and the land he inhabited. But there was nothing wrong in the spirit of the ad film. 

nima namchuNima Namchu, executive creative director, Cheil Worldwide

There are quite a few commercials from 2012 that I would have liked to have in my show reel, but the one that I liked the most was for Tanishq (by Lowe Lintas) in which two young men in a jewellery store are waiting and discussing their imminent ruin as their wives pick and choose some jewellery.

Besides being insightful and so relatable, the casting, the acting and the editing was brilliant and the direction, quite flawless. For instance, in one of the shots, the director has deliberately kept the main character and his reaction out of focus and yet, underlined it so well. I thought that was very delicately handled.

While I was with Contract, I worked on a commercial for NIIT’s GNIIT in which four friends have come to the railway station to bid goodbye to a fifth friend who has obviously got a good job in some big city. The four of them wistfully reminisce about how they were all so alike yet one got a good break because he decided to join GNIIT. While it was appreciated by the client and colleagues, and it worked well with the target audience, I think we could have been more rigorous with the casting. A couple of the actors didn’t quite hit it. And I still maintain that we should not have shown the friend on the train at the end of the commercial.

nitesh tiwariNitesh Tiwari, cheif creative officer, Leo Burnett

I wish I had done the Tanishq Solitaires commercial (by Lowe Lintas). Every time I see this ad, it puts a smile on my face. It not only captures a beautiful relationship between a couple but also weaves in the product seamlessly. And this is what a good television commercial is all about. Write a nice story and make it with a lot of love and care. Well done!


russell barrettRussell Barrett, managing partner, BBH India

I believe 2012 has not seen as many breakthrough ads as the year before; nothing that challenged form or function. But there were some really entertaining commercials on air, which is quite good really. Because if advertising can't entertain and engage, then why are you on TV, trying to tell stories?

Of the films released in 2012, I really like the IDBI Federal Life Insurance 'English picture ki tijori' ad (by Ogilvy). Correct casting, tight dialogues, simple, enjoyable idea. So all in all, a really well put together film. For me, it was the best of all their campaigns, and amongst the best of 2012.

I don't believe that there's any ad I've ever done that's perfect. There will always be things I wish we had more time or more money to do. But I also believe that if you're smart enough, you learn and so keep making progressively better ads.

abhijit avasthiAbhijit Avasthi, national creative director, O&M India

When I look at the hoardings across the streets and highways, I spot these print-outdoor ads of fashion brands that involve good-looking people sitting in a beautiful location, and that's it. That's the whole idea. And I wish I had done that. I wish I get to do some campaigns that just involve shooting beautiful models on a beautiful location. You don't have to edit or do any lazy thinking. In fact, it involves no thinking at all.

I would be really lucky if there was just one piece of work that I could have done better. It's only natural for a creative to see his work and feel that he could have made it better, be it in writing the script or making the dialogues crisper.

Campaign India

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