Thursday, July 05, 2007

New Ads

There are two new ads that I want to write about today. Both share a common trait, they turn around things completely, and thus create magic!

The first one is the one from SBI, where a group of really old and retired people play cricket in the street, their ball lands in the house of a group of young children, and the ensuing dialogue is what you would expect, had the youngsters been playing and the oldies been sitting in their homes! The references to "reserve ball" and the taunting song-and-dance routine by the oldies on being able to play the game inspite of losing their ball, is sheer magic! It is a cleverly crafted ad, where a strong role reversal takes place. The ad is a treat to watch.

The other one is from ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, the now-famous "Jeetey Raho" campaign. Contrary to established norms, this one sells life insurance in a radically different way. We have grown up on a staple diet of LIC ads, which never mention death directly. Death is the ever-present-but-never-mentioned, euphemistic fear around us. There are references to "Anhonee", "Durghatna", "Eventuality" and so on. The best ad from LIC I ever saw was one where a widow is shown after the marriage of her daughter, and the VO congratulates her on the same, and wonders how difficult it must have been, especially "Verma Sahab Ke Jaane Ke Baad". She says, "Asli Jimmedari Toh Unhone Pehle Hee Puri Kar Dee Thee, LIC Policy Lekar. Bachhon Ki Padhai, Beti Ki Shaadi Sab Beeme Ki Rakam Se Hee Puri Hui. Main Toh Kehti Hoon, Ki Hum Sub Ko LIC Ki Policy Zaroor Leni Chahiye". An simple but effective what-will-happen-when-you-die kind of Scenario-Building (see, I can't leave my MBA roots behind :-D ).

But the ICICI ad talks openly of death. A wife asks her husband to sign the insurance papers and when he asks her directly, "Mere Marne Ke Baad In Paison Ka Kya Karogi?", she coolly, blatantly and sarcastically replies, "Doosri Shaadi Karoongi, World Tour Pe Jaaongi". Of course, she then goes on to explain that an insurance will lead to lesser tension on the husband's part for the family's future and therefore his longer life. At the end, when the husband bends to pick up a dropped pen, she blesses him on the head and says "Jeetey Raho". The ad is available here.

To me, both the ads represent changing social mores. An aging population, which is healthier than previous generations, one not reluctant to age in a less-than-graceful fashion is playing cricket in the SBI ad. This is similar to American Baby-Boomers enjoying a second life after retirement. The other one talks to the present generation in its language. A language that is found in Channel V, MTV, Dil Chahta Hai, is full of PJs, bitter repartee, sarcasm etc. is the one best understood by them. Of course, it does address the whole issue in a more serious manner also, but there too, the logic is a completely new one!

I wish I see more ads like these. Kudos to the film-makers! May their tribe grow!


  1. yes love the first ad.

    BTW SBI is advertising so much these days, but the stark fact is that even today when someones goes to these state banks to get a education loan sanctioned they expect 5-15% of the sanctioned amount as their cut, else u should have a contact, else u are in for a rough ride, one of my friends is going thru this...was shocked to know this!!

  2. Good Observation. But I haven't seen the SBI and ICICI ad. Out of touch with TV these days.