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3 ads whose message is lost on the audience

Admen are hailed as the makers of brands, the ultimate creative minds that make brands come alive in our minds. Indeed, creative agencies go out of the box at times and come up with content which dazzles the audience. But creativity is tough business. Its not every day that you can churn out award winning, behavior changing advertisements.

Social messages have been one of the favorites of admen of late. But it doesn’t work all the time either. Especially if the social message has nothing to do with the brand, or if the execution is not up to mark.

In this piece, I am going to dissect a few ads where brands try to weave in social messages along to make it relevant to people. Most of these ads had great messages, but it seems to me that somewhere the ad-men lost their way and had to force-fit the idea to the ad concept. Lets take a look.

1. Somany Tiles: Nahi Phislenge Campaign (Organ Donation)

RK Swamy BBDO came up with this brilliant line: “Nahi Phislenge”, for a new anti-slip tile that Somany Ceramics had launched in 2016. It was a great idea to weave in the social message, equating it with slipping off our moral values, etiquette, responsibilities etc. The message was in line with the product attributes and would have been brilliant if executed well. Take a look at the advert below:

It looks like the team was in a lot of rush to complete the ad. They had this version named “Organ Donation”, wherein they show a blind guy going to an organ donation camp. When questioned by two of his able bodied friends, he says that he also has organs he can donate.

Well, it is a noble cause. But the ad is a failure due to multiple reasons.

  • Disconnect with the concept:  The product that this advert was promoting had properties of “Anti-slipping”. In the entire advert, I didn’t see much of slipping at all. Slipping is an act of going wrong unintentionally, or giving in to a certain momentum due to lack of friction. I really couldn’t relate the concept to this advert at all. There was nothing about slipping.
  • Lack of presence of the brand: For someone uninitiated, it is unlikely that the audience will realize which brand it is that’s advertising. Only after 1 min 4 seconds do we get an inkling of some association with Somany Tiles. One could as well have shut off the ad midway thinking its an organ donation camp advert.

Conclusion: “Nahi Phislenge” was a great tagline, perfect for the brand of Anti-slip tiles. But execution left a lot of gaps. The communication hardly associated with the brand.

2. Bournvita Badam Booster: Taiyari Har Exam ki

This beautiful ad has a very strong message for parents. It was developed by Ogilvy and tries to connect the product to better learning instead of marks. But unfortunately, they tried too hard to pass on a social message and lost the connect with the product.

It starts with a room full of parents being addressed by a teacher. She asks the parents if they remember what marks they would have got in their school exams. The parents are blank. So, the teacher goes on to emphasize that marks do not matter. What matter is learning.

Learning can be so beautifully connected to the product which is aimed at the perception that Badam is good for developing better memory. But the ad goes on to rebuke the parents for focusing on marks instead of learning. Not a very convincing sales pitch for the brand.

Conclusion: Well, what the hell, there is no message about the product quality or features here. I think such ads are a waste of money for brands. It is just one of those situations where you don’t want to speak about something out-rightly, but try to be sneaky, beat about the bush, and then say, “Yeah, this is also about a product” in the end.

3. KFC Flaming Crunch: Feed your Fire

The ad shows a young boy with a promising career in basketball in his early days. But due to lack of height as he grows older, he ends up on the bench. But behind the scenes, he has been working to overcome his weaknesses by practising dribbling. Eventually, he gets a chance to play in the match and leads them to glory.

Yeah, I know some of you might be scratching your heads wondering what the ad makers were smoking. At least that’s what my reaction was like.

First of all, KFC is a brand which is not at all related to sports in India. The image simply doesn’t fit sports. Secondly, the message is wonderful, feed your fire, overcome obstacles despite shortcomings, but where does the product come in to benefit?

Watch the ad here:

Conclusion: Brands should invest into adverts that strengthen their brand associations, strengthen the image. The messages should be clear and hit the audience directly. In this advert, neither is the brand or product feature being highlighted, nor is the image being enhanced. Instead, it drives a conflict in the mind of people.

That brings us to the end of the list for this post. If there are ads which you feel fit the bill, then please feel free to share with us in the comments section below.

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