Humour & Consistency in Advertising

20 Jul,2022



By Sanjeev Kotnala


Sanjeev KotnalaI love brands that are consistent in their communication. And really appreciate brands using humour without missing the point and amplifying the proposition. The audience rarely consumes media for advertising. Hence, if the brand communication can deliver the message with humour, it may be better received.


I remember the series of It’s Different  ad series by Maggi Hot and Sweet sauce way back in late 1980s and early 90s with Javed Jaffrey. It retained humour but did not pack the same punch when it was revived with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Javed Jaffrey or with the Imli Pichkoo ad again with Jaffrey. Additionally the older generation would remember Doobara nahi ppoochna– Chloromint or the brilliant ads of HappyDent.



In the recent past, Policy Bazaar using the Devdoot to decide who would go to hell or heaven was well-appreciated. And then there was Shetty OLX used car series. OLX leveraged the well-known and hugely followed act of Rohit Shetty blowing cars in movies. So, OLX offering the best price for a used, be it a ‘Ghoomti Hui Car; ‘Boombastic Car’, or any other, becomes so relatable. The casting of Sharman Joshi as the insurance salesman/agent adds to the impact. The proposition remains ‘best-price’ for pre-owned cars and the ease of selling. Time the confidence of buying a pre-owned vehicle from OLX is also addressed.



What3word 3×3 Matrix

What3words is a location-based technology app dividing the whole world into a matrix of 3m x 3m squares. And thus provides a more accurate address. The brand uses Vijay Raaz as the person giving directions to the delivery boy in his overused style. We know how long and convoluted Indian addresses are and how difficult it is to provide the right direction. The conversation between Vijay Raaz and the delivery boy trying to follow is relatable. The problem is solved in the end with the use of what3words.



Swiggy Rasogula Waale Uncle

Swiggy has used the Rasogullawaale uncle smartly across the years. And the humour of the situation is not lost on people. The faster delivery, simple single item delivery and other messages are an integral part of the story. And then, in Swiggy Instamart, the delivery speed is amplified using humour- be it a soap or watching the match in peace.



Flipkart Superwoman

After a long time, Flipkart seems to have got their communication act right. And they hopefully have been able to get out of the overused creative device of Kids masquerading as an adult. It was losing steam. Alia Bhatt is the Flipkart superwoman helping the citizens and talking about 1-hour delivery for white goods! Though the idea is a bit stretched, it works.



Cadbury Fuse Bhari Khali

However, the Khali ad of Cadbury’s fuse is humorous. And the rationale of Bhari Bhook- Bhari Hath- and bhari– loaded Cadbury fuse is a bit stretched. The humour stops working when you have to explain the whole premise of your communication.



Cred Takes The Cake

While discussing these, I would include the Cred TVC across the years – and here, I am not referring to motivational severe, experiential or behavioural Cred videos. The Cred ad featuring Ravi Shastri was a class act.




A humorous approach to brand message tends to keep it more relatable, engaged and maybe better remembered. If given a choice between a logical rationale full of brand support facts and a humorous, playful story around the brand- we know what the right choice is.


Not-so-humourous – The creative burnout

Some days back, an early morning WhatsApp message pushed me to watch Kill Your Darlings. It is a documentary film about the world of modern advertising and the creative talent defining it. Presented by ‘togetherr’, produced by Drive Studios and directed by Adam Bonke and Christian Bonke. It is a journey through the eyes of a young female creative and interviews with advertising legends, creative marketers and new talent in the creative industry. The voices were clear in their point of view on where modern advertising with the existing agency-client model is in problem. Almost all talked of the pressure, business, margin and the need to work freely as a team. The resulting suffocation due to demands where they end up almost like slaves! A few still believe it is the broken agency, not the model of providing creative solutions. That the networks are under pressure and hence it may not be the most fun with clothes on- is a result of it. Think everyone in advertising – marketing should watch this video.

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