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‘Pitaji ki patloon’ to ‘uncle ji ki kursi’ — Cadbury 5 Star hit the spot with Ramesh-Suresh duo

The iconic twosome became cult figures in the early 2010s for their quirky antics and became synonymous with the chocolate bar.

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New Delhi: In an era that glorified hustle culture, the Cadbury 5 Star, a popular chocolate brand from Mondelez International, asked people to turn off the chaos.

The brand launched the ‘Jo Khaaye, Kho Jaaye‘ campaign with the affable sibling duo of Ramesh and Suresh who get lost in the taste of the chocolate bar and enter into a short-lived amnesia.

The 5 Star advertisement made zoning out cool again.

The snack was shown as the ultimate comfort food, one that can put the brakes on difficult days. It was like a slow movie wrapping up in 30 seconds.

The commercial shows Ramesh and Suresh enter a tailor’s shop to shorten the length of their father’s trousers. At about the same time, they dig into a 5 Star bar and instruct the tailor, “pitaji ki patloon ek bilang choti kardo” (shorten father’s trousers).

An overworked tailor complies, without any question, and the trouser gets altered to a shorts’ length while Ramesh and Suresh enter into a temporary oblivion after having the chocolate bar. However, unfazed by the consequences, Ramesh and Suresh only declare ‘who cares?’

The ad went on to make the Ramesh-Suresh duo as iconic as ‘Jai-Veeru’ of Bollywood film Sholay and ‘Karan-Arjun’ of the Rakesh Roshan hit.

While the advertisement featuring Ramesh-Suresh first appeared in 2006, the ‘pitaji ki patloon’ commercial which made the siblings household names was released three years later, in 2009.

Some of the brand’s recent ads featuring Ramesh and Suresh are ‘uncle ji ki kursi‘ and ‘bank robbery‘.

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‘Getting lost’ with Ramesh & Suresh

Cadbury’s 5 Star first came into existence over 50 years ago, in 1969. Filled with chocolate, nougat and the goodness of caramel, Cadbury launched the popular chocolate brand with a distinctive golden wrapper and five stars embellished on it.

While it was a popular chocolate in the market, the ads that many actually associate with 5 Star today arose nearly four decades after the brand’s launch.

Prashant Peres, director of marketing, Mondelez India, said, “Ramesh-Suresh and the campaign helped 5 Star strengthen its edge over competitors by significantly increasing its scores on being ‘youthful and innovative,’ hitting the right spot with its target audience.”

The quirky sibling duo Ramesh-Suresh was the brainchild of advertising firm Ogilvy India, its National Creative Director Abhijit Avasthi, Sameer Sojwal and Amitabh Agnihotri.

Mondelez, Cadbury’s parent company, first approached Ogilvy in 2005-2006 with a simple idea — a bite of Cadbury 5 Star as a wholesome experience. This led to the brand’s ‘Lost in the taste’ campaign.

But it was Avasthi who came up with the 5 Star commercial’s signature tagline, ‘Jo Khaaye, Kho Jaaye’. It was based on his childhood memories of having the chocolate and losing himself in each bite.

Avasthi captured this feeling through the eccentricities of the goofy characters Ramesh-Suresh. The sibling duo is shown getting so absorbed in the 5 Star’s taste that they handle even the most tense situations — getting a stitch wrong at a tailor’s shop or a robbery — calmly.

Director Prashant Sippy first cast Rana Pratap Sengar and Goldie Duggal to play Ramesh and Suresh respectively. The first ad featuring the duo came out in 2006.

“I think the message of these ads was that ordinary people can do extraordinary things after eating Cadbury 5 Star. They become heroes in the oddest situations,” Sengar told ThePrint.

In 2009, legendary ad-film director Prasoon Pandey took over direction of the ads.

“Pandey’s unique sense of humour and direction really made the ads iconic. He added a sense of casual comedy to the commercials, bringing life to the script by adding whimsical body movements like pulling up our pants, shaking our body while eating the chocolate bar and more. Those details are what people still remember,” Sengar said.

Over a decade of playing these characters, Sengar and Duggal acted in roughly 35-40 television and 200 digital ads until 2018.

Duggal told ThePrint, “Honestly, Ramesh and Suresh would not be who or where they are without its writers (Avasthi, Sojwal and Agnihotri) and director Pandey. Pandey helped add many of the quirks and eccentricities to the characters, from using words like ‘bilang’ to using sunglasses to make the duo look goofy. The ads he directed were perhaps the most iconic and popular.”

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5 Star to 5 stars

This year, 5 Star moved beyond its widely-known Ramesh-Suresh ads to another unique commercial in order to meet advertising needs in the fast-paced digital space.

As a part of its new ‘5 Stars Everywhere’ ad campaign, Cadbury decided to revamp the chocolate’s logo to highlight the ‘5 stars’, a symbol seen across digital space to rate or rank products. The idea was to not spend tons of money on ads. Calling it the ‘biggest ad campaign in history’, 5 Star managed to create yet another ingenious advertising move with immense recall value.

While most of its ad campaigns have been successful, some have also faced flak. One of its ads in 2019 that was part of its ‘Do Nothing’ campaign found itself in the middle of a controversy for allegedly being insensitive and portraying the country’s youth in a poor light.

The 50-second commercial shows a young man having a Cadbury 5 Star when an elderly woman asks him to pick up her walking stick that she had dropped by mistake. To this, he says yes but does nothing, forcing the old lady to help herself. The ad concludes with the campaign’s tagline ‘Kabhi Kuch Na Karke Bhi Dekho, Eat Five Star and Do Nothing’.

While Cadbury 5 Star continues to come up with intriguing and unique ideas to keep consumers on their toes, it is perhaps Ramesh and Suresh who people continue to go back to.

“While I have seen many of 5 Star’s recent ads, I don’t think anything can ever replace or top the whimsiness of Ramesh and Suresh’s adventures. For me, 5 Star and Ramesh-Suresh are the same,” said Kunjan Swali, a Mumbai-based film student.

Talking about why these ads continue to be so popular among the masses, Duggal said, “I think what continues to resonate with people about the Ramesh-Suresh ads is the fact that they are not stars. They are everyday people, common people doing extraordinary things.”

Last year, food delivery platform Swiggy also reinvented the iconic ‘Pitaji ki patloon’ ad to promote Swiggy Instamart. When ThePrint asked Sengar and Duggal what they thought of the remake, they both responded, “The original will remain the original.”

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