Sanjeev Kotnala: Shan, Ikea, Nike… Work you can’t ignore

10 May,2017

By Sanjeev Kotnala


This week I am taking a detour to share some of the work which I believe must be appreciated. Storytelling is a key pivot for the communication business. And if one can make a static medium like print come alive with a story that involves and engages the reader, the job is done. Unfortunately, such examples are rare.

In the last few weeks, I have been fortunate to be exposed to some work that has immediately hit the chord. The work for Shan Foods, a big spice and recipe brand in Pakistan executed by Ogilvy India and Ogilvy Pakistan is a good example of simple storytelling. Use of an eastern coupe as the just moved in neighbours is interesting. The basic brand propositions of flavour and taste were delivered on the foundation of ‘ sharing food can break all barriers and start new friendships.

When two offices from not-so-neighbourly countries come together to create this magic, the flavour gets enhanced. You can feel the audience engagement when you see the consumer enact their own stories and parodies keeping the framework of the campaign intact.

The next creative I first experienced on Whatsapp when I was sent these images and was asked to zoom in. Wow, initially I just saw them as images that circulate in digital media as no thought or promise or brand name was associated with it. It is later that I realised it was work for ‘World For All’.

The work was powerful for me to Google for World seeing some more relevant work from 2013 ‘Dogs cure depression, adapt one’. It is a simple thought that has been brilliantly executed.

Prega, more imprinted as the Shilpa Shetty pregnancy announcement brand, surprised by taking a detour and silently entering the thoughtful world of celebrating approaching motherhood with care. This time, instead of husband or mother-in-law or mother, it moved into the tough office environment.

The thought of such consideration in an office environment looks too far-fetched in the current reality. Normally, we associate these moments with ‘Who will do her job’, ‘Now she will go on leave’ on one side to ‘there goes my career, will I ever be able to get back’.

Nevertheless, there is no harm in thinking positively and visualising an idealistic world. It will be great even if one office or one colleague or one boss is inspired by the thought.

Then Adweek exposed me to this Nike print ad. Wow. This is where the visual says a lot more than copy could have ever explained. The involvement is so complete. It is an engaging visualisation.

And then recently what one may call cheeky, and some may call as ‘released in public interest’ stunt. It is Ikea’s reaction to Ballenciga 2154$ bag. This high priced bag seems a replica of Ikea’s 0.99 $ tote bag.

See the communication released by IKEA. The copy is straightforward and simple. It reads;

How to identify an original Ikea Frakta bag

1) Shake it. If it rustles, it’s the real deal. 2) Multifunctional. It can carry hockey gear, bricks, and even water. 3) Throw it in the dirt. A true Frakta is simply rinsed off with a garden hose when dirty. 4) Fold it. Are you able to fold it to the size of a small purse? If the answer is yes, congratulations. 5) Look inside. The original has an authentic Ikea tag. 6) Price tag. Only $0.99.

And then the mother of all BREAKING2 by NIKE fell just a wee bit short of the target when Kipchoge finished the race in 2:00:25 in the Monza F1 Track in Italy. This was the attempt to run a marathon in under two minutes. He did break the official timing of 2:02:57  and it did not matter that this record breaking time was not eligible as a record.

As a concept and activation, it was an engagement success. It was almost like Sir Roger Banister breaking the 4-minute mile record in 1954.

Let’s hear it from the  Nike CEO Mark Parker: “I’ve seen the magic of gold shoes and swift suits. I’ve seen iconic athletes leave it all on the track. But I’ve never seen anything like what we saw today,” sound so true and genuine. He further added, “This achievement represents more than a race. It’s a moment of global inspiration that will encourage every athlete, in every community, to push the limits of their potential.” And that is what it was really about ‘Unlocking the Human Potential’. Impossibility is after all an opportunity to envision the future of sports. It allows bringing inspiration and innovation to every athlete on the planet.

The race was live on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It generated enough conversation pre, during and post the event. With 5.3 million views (as I write) on Nike’s BREAKING2 Facebook Page, the experience can be relived for some time. And later in the year National geography will produce a feature-length documentary on it.


Wonderful reacting and enjoying these good works. Hope you liked this compilation. Do share if there are ads – campaigns that I must cover and share in this platform.


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