Everything is shut in India, except the brilliant advertising minds. The challenges posed by the coronavirus lockdown has proved to be a strong stimulus for the Mad Men of the world – those creatively buzzing advertising professionals. The only difference is that the need to innovate has evolved from desire to survival now.
From telling us of new ways of “Just Do It” in a lockdown to how to use protection in public and recharging the nation, the Mad Men of Nike, Durex and DishTV are the new bards of lockdown. They are staying relevant, even when sales are dipping. Not for Durex and other condom companies, though.
Advertisers have proved, once again, that ideas can be bulletproof. Even in the absence of the elaborate production facilities that usually back advertising campaigns, copywriters are successfully punching above their weight. Ad folks are often underrated but are no less than artists.
Indian advertisers are coming out with truly brilliant ads even as companies grapple with dire economic consequences of the lockdown, and advertising and marketing budgets are bleeding dry.
This simply done, beautifully executed, ad by Ixigo demonstrates it. With the travel industry under complete lockdown and staring at an unknown future, one would think travel aggregators would be the last brands who would be able to stay relevant right now, but this ad shattered any such misconceptions.
It ties together one simple thought — ‘the sounds we miss during lockdown’.
Durex to Nike
Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner at Enormous Brands, thinks creativity thrives in the face of challenges. “The best Black poetry and also a lot of Blues happened when they were the most oppressed,” he says. Now that advertisers don’t have the cover of “pretty but overproduced visuals”, interesting ideas are taking shape.
“Since production remains suspect, insights and writing will have to carry much more on their shoulders,” Khazanchi adds.
His agency’s ad for DishTV rode on sharp writing, simple visuals and the insight that Indians are riding on a ‘patriotic high’, now more than ever.
“Desh recharge ho raha hai,” beautifully ties up with DishTV’s offer of not charging its subscribers for a while — something the company says it is doing for the nation during the Covid crisis.
Durex India is well-known for its quirky topical ads, but it has exceeded all expectations amid the lockdown by coming up with ad after ad equating good sexual practices with healthy social and personal habits. The ads are pure joy, shared widely by people because of its relatable content.
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In the internet age, organic shareability of ads has become important. And Durex India does it effortlessly.
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One cannot talk about good advertising without mentioning Nike. If you’re out of things to watch right now and are on a look out for great content, might I suggest going through Nike’s YouTube page. You’ll come across some exceptionally well-written and directed ads that are better motivators than any positivity page you’re following on Instagram.
But how do you advertise “Just do it” when the current philosophy of the world is to not do anything and just sit at home? Nike answers:
While the world searches for comfort in the familiarity of yesterday — hours and hours of old television and recasts — Budweiser hasn’t stayed behind. In fact, it made it possible to bring the past right into the present by recreating their cult ad ‘Wazzup’. How? Simple, they just included one word that did the magic.
All these ads illustrate the commonly used phrases in the Indian ad world — “hatke thinking” and “kuchh fresh soch na” — and show writers have taken the pandemic head on.
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