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Hello.. buy buy

entertainment Updated: Nov 21, 2008 12:55 IST
Lalita Iyer
Lalita Iyer
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

They’re slicker and starrier. So, Abhinav Bindra waxes eloquent on a TV brand with global technology. Saif Ali Khan records an emotion-packed voice message for beloved Bebo. Shah Rukh Khan extols his dish-wish. Aamir Khan thumbs up another satellite smorgasbord.

So what’s happening on the ad scene right now? What’s appealing and what isn’t? Lalita Iyer polls a few ad pundits.



Sumanto ChattopadhyaySumanto Chattopadhyay

Executive Creative Director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather

How much is too much ad spend on a campaign?
Multi-starrer TV commercials seem to be the order of the day. The Airtel Digital TV one, for example. It seems to star everyone who is anyone plus their pals: Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Vidya Balan, Madhavan, A R Rahman. Given how much our movie stars and cricket maestros charge for brand endorsements, the mind boggles at the amount Airtel must have spent.

One ad or ad campaign that you find offensive?
I have never been offended by an ad. In fact, I think Indians should stop getting offended by every second ad, film or book. Because, after they take offence, they try to ban it. And censorship is the thing that I find really offensive.
One brand ambassador who doesn’t make any sense?

There is an over-reliance on brand ambassadors in India. They tend to become a crutch to prop up weak advertising. There are too few brand ambassadors spread thin across too many brands.

One brand ambassador who is a perfect fit?
Preity Zinta is an A-list celebrity who is admired for the brave stands she has taken in her professional and personal lives. This makes her the perfect brand ambassador for the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Awards.

Prasoon Joshi Prasoon Joshi

Executive chairman and Creative Director, Asia Pacific, McCann Erickson

How much is too much for ad spend on a brand?
Well, it depends on the need of the hour—if the category you are advertising for is too cluttered, you definitely need a louder voice, more repeat ads with the same message.. and so on. It also depends whether you are in the announcement phase or a sustenance phase of advertising.. but as such, there are no limits….

One ad campaign that offended you in recent times?
Well, there have been a couple of underwear ads which haven’t been in particularly good taste.

Any celebrity endorsed brands that worked really well for you?
There seems to be a spate of celebrity endorsements. As long as the celebrity is entertaining, doesn’t jar with the brand and doesn’t seem incongruous, that’s fine..

Aamir Khan in Coke was a great fit, and so was Amitabh Bachchan in Dabur Chyawanprash. Shah Rukh Khan has worked really well for Dish TV recently.. so has Aamir Khan with Gul Panag for Tata Sky that was initiated a couple of months ago.

Some that haven’t?
Well there was this blockbuster campaign for a brand called Hometrade several years ago which had Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan and a few others—it just didn’t make any sense.

Tista SenTista

Senior VP and Executive Creative Director, J Walter Thompson

How much is too much ad spend on a campaign?
Since ad spends are a closely guarded secret between agency and the client, I’m not quite sure how colossal campaign spends actually are. Any celebrity who endorses a brand, which has scenic picture postcard locations, lots of horrific graphic elements critiqued by advertising industry types as well as the unsuspecting public would qualify I guess.

One ad or ad campaign that is offensive?
Anything that portrays women as stereotypes and kitchen bimbos, permanently pre- occupied with removing stains, cooking as well as their mum- in- law, looking bovine and diva-like in the kitchen.

There’s currently an ad for some underwear, inner wear on television in which an ape makes off with a pair of pristine white undies, tries it on, preens and then plays strip poker. Offensive is too mild a word. Even really offensive doesn’t do it! Amul macho is the brand I think.

One brand ambassador who doesn’t fit?
Any celebrity for every brand, anything brand, what was that brand?

One brand ambassador who is a perfect fit?
M S Dhoni for Brylcreem. The brand was attempting to reach a wider audience. needed a relevant brand ambassador like a desi style icon. Dhoni with his swarthy good looks and earthy vulnerability fits naturally.