For, some ‘daag’ are ‘achche’

16 Mar,2022



By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaHoli Hai. Bura Na Mano Holi Hai. And if it’s Holi, can Daag (dirt spots) be far behind. Despite the government’s proposed control and appeals from environment groups, it’s Holi after many years. So all are eagerly awaiting the day, ready for some fun and some Daag.

There is therefore no surprise that Surf Excel has extended its ‘daag achche hai‘ – a 17-year-old campaign insight with yet another Holi film in 2022.

Holi and Daag and detergent go hand in hand. After all, even the ignorant Hindu agrees that  Holi is all about remixing-forgiving-cleaning and recreating the magic of relationship.

There is only that much advertising magic in ‘Daag Achche hain’. And the craftiness required to keep it alive with newer expression and intent is getting tougher with every passing year.



Jo rang bachpan lautaye, woh rang achhe hain‘. (Dirt spots that can bring back the childhood- are good)- a desire to bring alive the child within and enjoy childhood is a nice thought.

The mega-solution suggested by the kid in the film is unexpected and not of her age. A stretch of the imagination. Surf kids are an integral part of the films, and they have been significantly evolved and mature for their age. They are too woke. Childhood is hidden behind the tricky crafty twist and finding the solution to every problem.

The first time it did with the puddle, it was fresh and made you appreciate the thought. “Daag lagne se agar kuch achcha hota hai, toh daag achche hai na? (If something good comes out of staining, stains are good).’ It was definitely fresh.



Overall the new 2022 version does the job. Its cast, execution and straining vocal collectively make it a feel-good film. It does not evoke a wow and does not push the viewer to see the brand differently.

In the campaign journey, kids have played with dirt and stained their clothes, and in the process, they solved some problems. Remember the kid watering the pitch, the sack race buddies and the so emotional ad of the teachcher losing her pet.

All of them were wonderfully directed, and they mostly brought a smile to the face of the viewer. But, I am not sure if it has the same pull- surprise and engagement. The template of kids’ freedom to get dirty, the wokeness of the solution needs a mega uplift.



And the extensions at times open for debate and discussion. ‘Rang Laaye Sang’- the Hindu-Muslim unity raised many eyebrows, and questions were raised. And if such questions (Daag) are raised on such communication, I agree ‘Daag Achche hai’. Though I know, like the Tanishq ad, people will always rightly question if the reverse could have been true or even thought of.



One does appreciate some of the extensions of the campaign. ‘Agar ungli pe daag lagne se achhi sarkar banti hai, to daag achche hain’ . If the staining of a finger results in forming a good government, then the stain is good was good and is relevant even today.

Many may disagree with me- but then the daag of disagreement is achcha for further thinking. Maybe we have stretched the thought too far for too long.


Daag– Not A Flaw- But An Opportunity To Better.


Daag– the dirt stains symbolise imperfection- a defect- unwanted. Chaand pe Daag. The daag on izzat is defined by the Bollywood masala films. Wherever expectations are not met, Daag is imprinted. If the kid does not qualify in an exam- Daag on the family. If a movie does not run- a Daag on producer- actor- director’s career. A dent on the car- a Daag on its beauty. Pimple on the face-  Daag on the face.

Daag may be as versatile as OSHO’s famous narration of the other four-letter word. Daag is just a flaw- temporary or permanent. And has always been an unwanted aspect of life.

Surf Excel have, in the past, done wonderfully well to remind that flaws only make her human. And that flaws/Daag/stains can be as transient as the stains on the cloth. That the flaws in relationships, in society, and may be in the individual attitude could be more than repaired- removed and amended. However, the brand should remain cautious of the dirt it refers to.

Some dirt should never be cleaned. It is an essential part of life, and it helps create society and retain human flaws.

Some emotions that the woke brands and intellectuals find archaic and unwarranted actually make life what it is. There is no point in practical life to be DEVTULYA- like God- and then even God has flaws. And somewhere, the kids and elders in Surf are so Devtulya that they make the consumer realise- Saab Daag Achche Nahi hai.



Style Note: Achche is spelt variously by people: Achhe, Achhe or an accented Achché. MxMIndia spells with with Achche. Here and in the Achche Din Aane Waale Hain line – Ed

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