Old tunes, new TVCs: Good, bad, or…?

08 May,2013

 

By Meghna Sharma

 

What do Bharti AXA, Hero Pleasure and Slice have in common? In their latest commercials, all have used old songs, remixed or tweaked, to sell their products.

 

Yes, the old melodious songs are once again back in vogue as advertisement industry jazz them up to attract audiences. Chala jaata hoon (from the film Mere Jeevan Saathi) and Chakke mein chakka (Brahmachari) for the Nissan Micra ads, Aap yahaan aaye kis liye (Kal Aaj Aur Kal) for Bharti AXA, Tum jo mil gaye ho (Hanste Zakhm) and the earlier Aaj ki raat (Anamika) for Coca Cola, Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche (Brahmachari) for Raymond and Mud mud ke na dekh (Shri 420) for TVS Scooty are some of the new-old tunes on the block. Even Bombay Times got into the act, using Style mara toh darna kya, an edgy takeoff on Pyaar kiya toh darna kya from Mughal-e-Azam, with the words changed to suit the brand.

 

Why is there such an epidemic of remix fever in TVC land? Are creatives running out of ideas, or have they just hit upon the fact that old is, well, gold?

 

New, or an old trend?

Prathap Suthan

History repeats itself and the advertising industry knows that they cannot do without the old classics. “It’s not for the first time that you’ll see advertising agency using old songs, it’s been going on since a very old time, It was there even when I joined the profession,” recalls Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner/Chief Creative Officer at BangInTheMiddle and Chief Creative Officer at iYogi Inc.

 

He isn’t alone; many from the industry feel that the old classics are evergreen and anyone can relate to them. But what’s more important is, how does one use them? “If an old song works for one brand, you’ll see many others copying the trend. But that doesn’t mean or guarantee it will work for all of them. If a song fits the situation and helps the brand tell their story in 30 seconds is when an agency has done a good job with it,” feels Manish Bhatt, founder director, Scarecrow.

 

Manish Bhatt

The Indian Railways advertisement which used Ashok Kumar’s song Rail gaadi is a perfect example of using an old film song for a current situation. The advertisement not only became an instant rage among youngsters but also got many awards at national and international level. “Encashing on an old tune is what matters here more,” adds Mr Bhatt.

 

 

 

 

Narendra Kusnur

Narendra Kusnur, music columnist and critic, feels that since Hindi film songs have always been popular in India and the older ones have a high recall value, so naturally they can act as an effective tool in advertising as longed as they are used intelligently and go along with the brand positioning. “Why only old Hindi songs? Titan watches used the western classical piece Mozart’s 25th Symphony. People remember the tune and the ad, though many don’t know it’s Mozart. However, it’s always more satisfying to create a completely original jingle line. Something like Lifebuoy or Vicco Vajradanti or Vicks. So that should be the first effort,” he adds.

 

 

Josy Paul

“Making one nostalgic has worked in the past, does even today and will continue to do so even in the future,” asserts Mr Suthan.

 

However, Josy Paul, Chairman and National Creative Director, BBDO India, feels that a trend is not an idea but a bunch of guys following each other. And the guy who started it may have already left the room.

 

Shortcut or creativity?

There is no dearth of songs because of the Indian film industry and one can find a song to fit any situation – but does using them mean that the advertising industry being lazy? Or is this creativity too?

 

“Using an old song alone won’t do the trick; one needs to add new value to the song or force people to look at it again because of the unusual nature of the idea. Else, it’s just an old song which one might hear on the radio,” says Mr Paul.

 

“There is nothing wrong in using an old track, but one should not treat it as a shortcut. Finding an appropriate song which fits the bill is difficult and needs creativity too. It’s an art form as well,” adds Mr Suthan.

 

Citing the example of Parle’s campaign Roko mat, Mr Bhatt explains, “If an original jingle/song is catchy or works wonder for a brand then originality shouldn’t never be ignored. The main aim is to stand out of the clutter and help a brand reach its TG.”

 

Hemant Kenkre

Hemant Kenkre, a former music channel professional and a corporate and brand communications veteran, explains, “The old songs are remixed to suit the younger lot whereas the older generation too recalls the retro numbers. However, the brand managers need to understand that the song should suit their brand rather than overpower it. But it wouldn’t be right to say that there is any negative impact in using old songs for a brand.”

 

“Using the power of music to one’s benefit is the deal breaker here – old or new doesn’t matter,” Mr Bhatt adds.

 

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