A lady news reporter covering a riot comes across an old lady trapped as her husband tries to pull her out. Cut to: She throws her mike and runs to rescue the old lady and lifts her out of the debris. The scene ends with Amitabh Bachchan talking about the benefits of Dabur Chyawanprash.
Next Film: A wedding sequence, satin curtains blowing in the breeze, pink coloured roses, people dancing... Cut to: Big B enters the wedding greeting people and keeps hearing the sound Tsk! Tsk! He gets hyper. He thinks people are calling him and goes to each one and asks them if they were calling him. They actually are not. People are just enjoying the ‘Anardana’, also a Dabur product.
These are two different television commercials for the same client Dabur. Both, although made for television, have a feature film feel to it. The reason: YRF AD CELL, the adfilm production division of Yash Raj Films, has shot them.
YRF AD CELL is three months old and has only done the Dabur TV commercials. McCann Erickson handles Dabur. In the pipeline is one commercial for Lowe. The production house is also in talks with Contract for an ad film and also pitching directly for some films. These include a pitch for a plastic, a shampoo and a soap brand.
How did YRF AD CELL come into existence? “It’s a complete circle for Yash Chopra as he had begun his career with ad films. YRF AD CELL has been created because we feel that whatever is required to make a television commercial is already being followed by us for feature films. We bring in creativity in the storyboard, we understand the pulse of the nation and aesthetically too, we bring the same technical excellence that is required to make a television commercial,” says Arjun Sablok, head of operations at YRF AD CELL.
“Gone are the days when television commercials were restricted to problem-product-solution format. Today, clients are looking to tell a story through their brands. Story telling is our strength,” he adds.
Sablok comes to the organisation with a decade’s experience. He has directed various advertisement films including the Dabur Amla campaign with Karisma Kapoor, films for Pantaloon, Bare Jeans and the likes. He has also directed the film Na Tum Jano Na Hum and a television film Humko Ishq Ne Mara apart from music videos.
Apart from being effective story tellers, YRF AD CELL has an impressive pre-production, post production infrastructure, goodwill and resources to bring together leading performers in the entertainment world considering their pedigree of 30 years in the film industry. Through this ad cell, Yash Raj Films aims to give the advertising industry an opportunity to take advantage of the excellence and skill with which it is synonymous.
“The aim is also to introduce more talent from films to the ad world. We are already sharing technicians like cinematographers. We are also keen on bringing lyricists like Javed Akthar and Gulzar to lend their creativity to the ad world,” says Sablok.
It is a great marriage between the two industries. Film producers are already working with advertisers for in-film placements. So this is clearly emerging as another way of branching out. The agencies are also getting proactive. They are willing to work with a production house such as YRF AD CELL.
Economically too, Sablok says they are cost effective. “As film producers, there is already huge volume of work happening at our end. Currently we have four feature films, which are under production. There is ready infrastructure and equipment in place. Most of it is in-house and we do not outsource anything. Therefore, the overheads are down. As compared to normal ad film production houses, our costs would any day be 20-25 per cent lower for a television commercial,” he states.
Industry experts opine that with the film industry moving rapidly towards corporatisation, advertising agencies are also realising that a quid pro quo relationship needs to be developed. While on the one hand we are seeing advertising agencies setting up focused entertainment divisions to enable producers and advertisers talk to each other, on the other hand, an ad cell such as YRF is looking to get closer to the brands.
“I personally feel ads require emotions and performance and both of these come very naturally to us. Repeat value of a TVC comes from two things, namely the creative concept, which the agency creates for the clients, and we do not interfere with that. We come in to bring out the right kind of performance from the cast. It’s this performance that will bring back the people to the commercials,” explains Sablok.
The other added advantage is that a production such as this has good contacts with celebrities and it makes it easier for them to rope in the celebrities for the commercials. “We do feel more comfortable with celebrity-endorsed commercials. There is a comfort zone both for the client and the actor because he knows he is in safe hands and we know what an actor is capable and not capable of doing. We also get them at a fair price,” he adds.