Sanjeev Kotnala: A lot can happen over a cup of tea

04 Feb,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I was introduced to ‘Wagh Bakri – Risho Ki Garmahat’, a four-minute film via a link from Manish Bhatt of Scarecrow Advertising. I liked the flavour of it. It was really warm. It made me see lot of parallel and believe that this is some work that I would want to share. This is a simple communication that touches your heart. It is how communication should be.


I personally see ‘Wah Taj’ as an iconic communication that is beyond its use by date. The recent efforts to rejuvenate it are a waste.  It is just not relevant to current generation. ‘Jaago Re’ is a new and interesting take. Though it may not be considered functionally effective, as it does not speak of the normal triggers that drive tea buying decision like taste, aroma etc. Yet, it places the brand at a higher pedestal and the imagery is totally contemporary and relevant.


It was heartening to realise that this was presented as an audio version (narration + song) during the pitch, answering the brief ‘Help Wagh Bakri, the third largest tea brand in India connect with young Indians in newer markets. Esp North’, and got converted into a long format film and TVC without a single word being changed. I see it as a perfect amplification of the brand thought ‘Hamesha Rishtey Banaye’. And for a change, I am seeing a pitch work finally seeing the screen.


It is not an extraordinary film. At one level, it simply tells you what goes in to give you the taste and flavour you want. Additionally, it layers that with the warm relationship between husband and wife. That’s where it scores. I like that little touch of wife not looking into camera while she shares her directions to tea in kitchen. That emotional shake works as a visual device.


I like the simplicity in communication and got chatting with Manish Bhatt and I could see where he was coming from. He said “The new TVC gives this central thought a contemporary dimension. Our research revealed that today relationships are suffering. The young India is ambitious; works round the clock and hence can’t give the much-needed time every relationship needs to sustain its warmth. In this, we saw a perfect statement for Wagh Bakri to connect with the new India.” And one would agree that they have done a good work with it.  The whole film is treated well and leaves you with a nice warm thought.


I do not share Manish Bhatt and team’s confidence in banking on the digital format to connect with the mobile generation. Though his argument stands that when AIB 30-minute shows and 3-hour films can be watched on mobile, a good film/ music video will be watched too. In his defence of the long format film, he adds: “The beauty is that there are two components – one is the story, and the other is the song. While the song complements the story, it also works in isolation. It will help promote the TVC like a music video, and also create shorter edits. It will be amplified on radio too”. I do hope that he is proven correct.


Sometime the passion and artistic elements overpower and we forget some minor points. I am not sure if that is like picking bones but what the hell. Ok, the pan being used for making tea is too new. I hate that freshly bought-for-the-shoot look in props. Milk is added after straining tea. That surely is not the way North Indians like their tea. Sugar in the cube format seems a mismatch. And I am not sure if tea in taken out from packs or from cans. It seemed they just bought the tea and the tea pan. This jarred  in an otherwise well-conceived and created TVC


Yet, the overall feeling is what matters at the end. For Wagh Bakri, it is all positive. The best part is that the brand name remains with you unlike another tea TVC that works well as a story. So much so that the brand name is missed out.


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