Ads that Break the Clutter

30 Mar,2022



By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaThe audience is never waiting for the advertisement to appear. If the content is engaging and involving, the advertisement break is not welcomed. Hence, the brand communication must be designed for the audience to take notice. It must have the clutter-breaking capability and a robust communication-brand association. Sometimes, execution-style becomes the differentiator, a brand association device and the clutter-breaker.

The recent QR code Super Bowl ad is one such example. In the Indian context, the Flipkart ads with adult-kids and of Vodaphone and even the Pug were such clutter-breakers. Sometimes brands use references to old classics and nostalgia as clutter breakers. Remember the Aaj Tak black and white TVCs. However, clutter-breaking execution styles and devices in communication may not always give you a positive ROI and impact.


UpGrad Hybrid – Real Clutter-Breaker

Having experienced online education as a student and instructor/facilitator/teacher, I must confess I am not a fan of online education. Something is lacking. However, I love the UpGrad Online campaigns addressing the working executives and promising career enhancement with online education.

The new UpGrad ad with Amitabh Bachchan presents a hybrid model trying to break the belief that studies abroad are limited by financial status.


This UpGrad TVC by Womb is different. It uses the angry young man image of Amitabh Bachchan as a clutter-breaker. He is on a rampage, questioning why such UpGrad programmes were not there when he wanted to study abroad, and the brand tells him he can still do so. The film scores as curiosity builder and engager.


Cred Breaks Clutter And Builds On Past.

Enough has been said about CRED’s earlier campaign featuring celebrities. It was strategically a clutter breaker idea before delivering the promise of reward points.


Cred is back with another clutter-breaker idea. And I am a sucker for strategic continuity in style. However, this one takes the cake. I have no way to measure the success of the earlier campaign, so I must trust the brand team; they must be onto something good. Otherwise, who would burn money behind these clutter-breakers? This time Cred used famous advertisements from the golden era of Indian advertising as a precursor to its message. The first ad talks of ‘Sadharan Inamo ko bolo tata’– say bye-bye to ordinary prizes, a take on the Nirma ad.


I hope there are more ads in the series. We will at least have some laughs while still wondering the point of such ads? These devices work the audience exposed to the old referred advertisement. They may even engage the new generation with a curious WTF expression. Maybe there is more to it. Maybe.


Slice Cards Changes Gear

Slice cards’ recent advertisement uses its differentiated execution as a clutter-breaker. These are short and fast-paced TVCs delivering the message- Slice For the fast one. Too fast for me- I needed to slow it down to get the message. Maybe I am not the TG. Earlier, the brand has used slow-motion as a device to deliver the message. But this clutter-breaking device does not seem to work.


Jaquar Double Take To Clutter Break

Jaquar, the brand known for nath fittings, once again attempts to communicate its presence in the lighting segment. It uses its strength of bath fittings to help create a clutter-breaking visual representation before delivering the message. The new  JaquarTVC uses imagination as a clutter breaker. For a more detailed journey of Jaquar lighting, read the Karthik blog. See the brand’s earlier attempts in the lighting category since 2016 and how the clutter-breaking device in the latest ad plays on its strength.


Dinshaw’s Tactical Break- Leveraging Known Communication.

Some time back, Dinshaw’s, the leading brand of milk, milk products and ice cream in central India, ran an outdoor campaign based on other well-known communication lines. It was a short, tactical campaign. The headlines played with famous ad lines enhancing better audience engagement and creating a buzz in the market.





Clutter-breaking communication is not new. Every brand wants clutter-breaking ads. They have their own strategic devices and creative ways to do so. When it is strategically aligned, as in the case of Vodafone, Flipkart, Jaquar, AajTak and UpGrad, it works and delivers. However, at times they are just a waste of time and resources.


Disclaimer. The author is associated with Dinshaw’s as a brand and marketing consultant.


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