Anil Thakraney’s Debrief: Good strategy, poor creative

04 Oct,2011

There’s a new commercial on air for Parker Pens. And it stars brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The creative thought is this: ‘What the world calls a pen’. And it’s a correct one. Because as we all know, pens as a category is on a fast decline on the product life cycle chart. There will come a time when the pen will become a historical product, much like the typewriter. So it makes sense to make the brand synonymous with the product, to own the category, and thus at least be a leader for as long as the product survives. I completely agree with this strategy.


But the creative fails to leave a mark. Bachchan is seen sitting inside what looks like a hotel lobby. And he’s got the whole range of Parkers spread out on the table. What is he, a pen seller? That’s not explained. Suddenly, a firang arrives and asks if he can borrow a pen. But instead of lending him one, Big B begins educating the gent on how Parker is pronounced in various nations. Exasperated, the man asks for a Parker, which is immediately handed to him.


Boring creative. After the first exposure, you will reach out for the zap button on the remote control. Because it’s laboured, un-engaging and witless. While I like the idea of getting the brand to be the hero, so that consumers ask for it at retail outlets, sadly the commercial is very dry. And no, Bachchan has no role to play out here… he’s forced in, as he usually is in ads.


Rating: (On a scale of 1 to 5): 2. For a sound strategy.


Anil Thakraney’s ad review column DeBrief will appear twice a week – Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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