The Anchor: Sonal Dabral on 6 ads that will always remain in his mind

10 Nov,2011

Liril with Karen Lunel:  I remember waiting eagerly to watch the ad in auditorium just before the beginning of a movie. The entire packaging of the ad makes it compelling and I think it was a unique leap that Mr Alyque Padamsee and Lintas had taken at that time. It was a commercial to sell a soap but done in an impactful manner. Kailash (Surendranath) had shot it tastefully so it was not vulgar even if you have a girl frolicking under a waterfall.

Lifebuoy:  Lifebuoy hai jahan, tandrusti hai wahan. It was a simple ad but also a great idea. Such a wonderful and simple line captured the essence of the product. In advertising, it often happens that in search of a good idea we tend to make life too complicated for ourselves. We try too hard to be clever, ‘creative’ but we just have to remember that in advertising in the end it is just about selling a product, selling an attitude and a shift in behaviour and nothing beyond that. If we realize this then that’s where simplicity comes. Lifebuoy advertising was unpretentious, simple and did its job for many many years.

The Freedom Run: This ad came at a time when I was just about to leave NID and it rebuilt my faith in advertising as a profession. At that point, I was at a crossroads whether to go into pure design, films or advertising. Suresh Mullick’s Freedom Run was not an ad but a film that brought pride when you watched it.  It was meant to bring pride and you could sense the passion with which it was made.  It is the truth that if you do something with passion, it generally turns out to be good.

Cadbury’s girl dancing on the pitch: I had the wonderful opportunity to work in O&M and at one point  Piyush Pandey and I decided that we would turn around the agency one day and be the top agency in India, the region and possibly in the world. After tremendous hard work came the flagship campaign on Cadbury Dairy Milk which was the girl on the cricket field. I had worked on the ad along with Piyush and the team, and I think the ad was a milestone in Indian advertising and was somewhere even dubbed as ad of the century.

Fevicol: The work on Fevicol has been landmark. The idea is great and has been well executed.

Virgin Mobile: The work by Bates on Virgin Mobile is again pathbreaking and stretched the morals, if I can say, to a certain limit. Indian Panga League was daring, risky and pushed boundaries. It created a new lingo. Since I have worked on it, it might be selfish to say but it’s a personal favourite piece of work too. It was audacity to come out with 115 films and put on the web. Daring, risky and an amazing idea done amazingly well.

Sonal Dabral is Chairman India and Regional Executive Creative Director, Bates Asia.

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