Ad Review: Havells Fans’ new TVC is a PR coup gone bad

"The TVC portrays Rajesh Khanna as a superstar caught in the memory of bygone era who has nothing but Havells Fans left with him"

e4m by Deepika Bhardwaj
Updated: May 21, 2012 8:44 PM
Ad Review: Havells Fans’ new TVC is a PR coup gone bad

Havells Fans is famous for its quirky and out-of-the-box advertising – be it the ‘Shock laga’ commercial for Havells MCBs and switches, the ‘Better ways to save energy’ campaign for Havells Geysers or ‘Hava Chahiye Fan Lagaiye’ campaign for Havells Fans.

The latest one in the series is a TVC for Havells Fans with the superstar of yesteryears Rajesh Khanna with Havells Fans standing tall ‘metaphorically’ as his real fan that no one can take away from him.

Called ‘Havells Fans are forever’, the commercial marks debut of superstar in the ad world, though he looks drastically different from the superstar Rajesh Khanna we all grew up watching films of.

The film has been conceptualised by Lowe Lintas, directed by R Balki and shot in Bangalore at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium. While the film showcases the star and his huge fan following in old days, it takes a turn when today he isn’t surrounded by real fans but Havells Fans.

The brief

Anil Gupta, Joint Managing Director, Havells India said, “It’s always been our endeavour to come out with clutter-breaking ad campaigns and create the desired impact amongst the audience. Even after 30 or 40 odd years, people of not only our generation but also the younger generation remember Rajesh Khanna as one of the biggest stars of his time. He was thus undoubtedly the best fit for our campaign. The idea is he will be revered forever just like Havells Fans.”

R Balki, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Lowe Lintas added to what Gupta said, “The new campaign gave us a great opportunity to capture the essence of the brand with sheer simplicity. When the ad was being conceived, we could think of none other than Rajesh Khanna as he still commands a great deal of respect and fan following.”

The commercial is being aired on all leading channels. It has also marked its presence during IPL matches. It has been extended to print, internet and in-shop POSM too.

Take a look at the TVC:

Positive or negative air?

Bringing back a frail Rajesh Khanna who is barely able to speak and making him talk about fans while standing in a huge stadium, devoid of any real fan has drawn mixed reactions from the Industry. We found out if the ad is fanning positive or negative air...

“Havell's has always had highly salient advertising to make people look again at boring things such as switches and fans. The Rajesh Khanna ad has created conversations for the brand. This certainly works for Havells. The ad may have got mixed reactions but it has got people talking. Rajesh Khanna’s song in the superhit movie Amar Prem, “Kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna” fits amazingly here,” said Josy Paul, Chairman and National Creative Director, BBDO India.

Nima DT Namchu, Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director, Contract Advertising, finds the ad a bad pun. He said, “Getting someone as iconic as Rajesh Khanna to endorse a brand for the first time is quite something. So, from the moment I heard his unmistakable voice, I was on the edge of the seat waiting for the ad to blow me away. However, as an agency guy, I was disappointed by the lame pun and by how the agency let a big opportunity slip through their fingers. As someone who spent his childhood being dragged to Rajesh Khanna blockbusters by his parents and listening to the songs from his movies coming from Radio Ceylon, I was angry – the man was a superstar of his time, he certainly deserved more than just a bad pun. And as a human being, I am embarrassed by what we are capable of doing in the name of commerce. I think it’s a PR coup gone bad.”

Rahul Jauhari, National Creative Director, Everest Brand Solutions echoes Namchu’s thoughts. He says, “Technically the ad does exactly what it was intended to do. Create noise and conversation in a low involvement category at the start of summer. So when people go to buy a fan, they'll hopefully have Havells on top of their mind. It's just that I wish it had treated Rajesh Khanna better. I wish he wasn't made to look as sorry as he does. It depicts him as a superstar caught in the memory of a bygone era, who has nothing but Havells Fans left with him. Was that the intention? I don't know. But that's what comes across every time I watch this commercial.”

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