The task was to pick some of the hottest ads of the season, spinning across a variety of categories such as foods, beverages & tobacco, health & oral care, homes/décor, services for household sector and business products and services. While picking the ripest of the bunch, R Balakrishnan, National Creative Director, Lowe, tried to reconcile some of the issues inherent in Indian advertising. He said, "You just cannot depict snake charmers in Rajasthan and UP, and label it as 'Indian advertising.' It does not adequately represent the various regions, or the flavours inherent in each region. Neither can you mould yourself in a certain way and say "this is Indian advertising' and sell it to the west. There is no standard Indian way of doing things."
He added, "A good ad is the one which makes you stop in your path and get it noticed. But the thought has to be in sync with what you are trying to say. If you execute an interesting ad on a wrong thought, it just won't work. The herculean task about judging some of the best ads is that some seemingly mediocre work could actually be a worthwhile strategy employed by the agency in order to get towards an apt marketing solution. For instance, let me describe an ad that came out for Surf Excel (tailored for Tamil Nadu and the water crisis in the region), which stressed on the 'two buckets only' factor. Again, there was an ad for Vim, which adopts a different style of communication by stressing on the 'Jhootha Hain' aspect. It implies that a plate not washed well, is equivalent to eating 'Jhootha' food."
Balki said, "Some brilliant ads (rich in strategy) may not make it in the big league because they are not creative enough. There is a divide between what's creative and what's employed on the basis of strategy." Balki's favourites in the foods category included the Centre Fresh girl on the swing commercial, Alpenliebe Tuk Bandi ad, Perfetti Chocotella Rumaal Chashma commercial, and Saffola's health conscious wife commercial. In the toiletries and oral care category, there were Parachute Sampoorna 'Kabhi Andaaz' commercial; Hair n Care Silky Shine frog commercial and Tortoise sleeping man commercial. The Kohinoor Is Raat Ki Saubah Nahin condom ad was the clear winner in the health and cosmetics category, while in the homes and décor category, Balki chose the Asian Paints 'Laal Laal Hui' ad.
In the services for household sector, the clear winners were SBI Life Insurance old couple ad, Tata AIG tree commercial and Standard Chartered Manhattan card. The business products and services category included Hutch boy and puppy ad and the Indian Steel Alliance bridge and braces commercials. Yet another commercial in the category was the Windows XP Finish Work faster commercial.
Balki's obvious favourite in the travel and hospitality category was Indian Airlines 'You are amongst your own' commercial and Air Deccan's 'Flying is now for everyone' commercial. He said, "The Indian Airlines commercial is endearing and almost brilliant in execution. As for Air Deccan's commercial, it's a simple thought and is demonstrated in an effective manner." The campaign of the year title went to UB Export Soda, which was also one of the hot picks in the beverage category.
The proceedings listed above were a part of the Ad Review conducted by Ad Club Mumbai. The function began 5.30 pm on Thursday at Nehru Auditorium. Apart from R Balakrishnan who actually conducted the review, MG Parameswaran (President, Ad Club), Bipin Pandit (General Manager, Ad Club), Piyush Pandey (Chairman, O&M) and Pranesh Misra (COO, Lowe) were also present at the occasion.