LookBack 2012: Debrief Special: Best and worst ads of the Year

27 Dec,2012

By Anil Thakraney


Okay people, since the year is saying good-bye, like all good media brands, we have to conduct the traditional ceremony. Of picking the gems and the turkeys of the year. So here are the Big Six Awards. Alag chhe, as Salman Khan would say. Please forgive us if we inadvertently missed out on any deserving candidate. In both the categories.



The big winners:


1. The Hindu: Powerful and entertaining

Kickass creative. Students behaving like those idiotic parliamentarians we elect. With Bapu’s favourite bhajan, ‘Vaishnava jana toh’, adding to the irony. Treatment that youngsters would immediately connect with. Because it reflects their deep cynicism with the politics of this nation.


2. Idea: Heart warming

Idea’s Diwali ads were endearing. They promoted communal harmony, and that’s so badly needed in this fractured country. Superb example of how to lift an otherwise ordinary Diwali discount ad. As a Diwali bonus, they got rid of Small B with this campaign. Good idea that, Sirji!


3. Fevicol Marine: The magic returned

With this ad, Fevicol revived the magic that had gone missing in their ads in recent times. The boatman TVC was beautifully shot and was highly entertaining. And I loved the Rabindra sangeet background track. Single-minded communication at its best.


4. Surf Excel: The power of idea

Surf Excel’s ‘Daag achchhe hain’ campaign rolled on merrily. The cricket turf war between kids was very realistically captured. This continuing campaign is a very good case study for all students and professionals in the business. When you have a strong idea, 80% of the battle is already won.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7VyizsCss0[/youtube]

5. Maruti: ‘Kitna deti hai?’ shone again

I have always been a fan of Maruti’s ‘Kitna deti hai?’ idea. Because it’s totally relevant; Indians tend to be obsessed with mileage. The TVC re-created the thirties, with a firang lady flyer called Amelia Johnson. I simply adore Amelia’s expression when that deadly desi question is fired at her. Superb idea, superb direction.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AyynrjP3EM[/youtube]

6. FOX Movies: Brilliant

FOX Movies decided to offer cinema dubbed in regional languages for the Thai market, and their ad agency turned it into an idea for subtitles-free communication. Fantastic lateral thinking to highlight what is otherwise a very uninteresting product promise.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvG-lYsPAiM[/youtube]


The big losers:


1. Appy Fizz: Ewwwww!

Everything went wrong out here. Saif Ali Khan? What was the point of casting a middle aged angry actor for a ‘buddy hang out’ drink? Since the ad was entirely conversation based, wit and sharp humour became the key ingredients. I haven’t heard such silly, juvenile banter amongst junior school kids. Made me squirm.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWVoq1ePqx0[/youtube]

2. Mid Day: Maximum City. Minimum TVC.

‘My City, My Life’, the slogan, was a promising thought. But the execution sucked big-time. They should have tried to capture the spirit the city’s youngsters possess. Instead they showed them goofing around like headless chicken. This ad told me Mid Day doesn’t really understand Mumbai.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_EJUXqpYwk[/youtube]

3. Coca-Cola: Zero Freshness

Yet another commercial based on cricket (yawn!). The TVC featured rural kids playing the game in extremely hot, dusty and inhuman conditions. Suddenly, towards the end of the commercial, Rajya Sabha MP, Shri Sachin Tendulkar, appears in an air-conditioned studio. He ‘opens happiness’ and happily gulps it down. And doesn’t offer a sip to the poor lads. Totally put me off.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gPcupJrqig[/youtube]

4. Nivea Fresh Active: Very annoying

There are many ads in India (and am sure the whole world) which irritate us. But there will always be a few that piss us off so much, it leads to a rise in blood pressure. Sadly, Nivea managed to achieve that. In the commercial, a group of men yawn very loudly, offensively and repeatedly. And that’s pretty much it.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qh5g5z1eaxw[/youtube]

5. Pepsi: Not the game, they should have changed the ad

Creators of this ad for Pepsi had all the power tools at their disposal: A funky, irreverent brand. Top Indian cricket heroes. The most happening Bollywood star. And a cool idea – Change the game- which packs in potential for super commercials. And yet, they went ahead and botched it all up. Witless, uninteresting dialogues. Forced irreverence, which falls totally flat.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8YeNX6l5ek[/youtube]

6. BlackBerry: Lazy, lazy creative work

BlackBerry’s ‘Action starts here’ must be the most boring slogan of 2012. And it was back to the usual youngsters with their usual dreams, but with no clue provided to us on how Blackberry makes them come true. And a very tired jingle to round it all off. Very sixties. Yes, the treatment looked that ancient.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”200″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuE2fzL8nXg[/youtube]


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