I quite liked the Nerolac Paints ad for its Excel Mica Marble range when I first saw it. For a change, it features a celebrity in a more quirky and memorable narrative. India’s gutsy opener Shikhar Dhawan is famous for his up-twirled ‘mooch’ and the Nerolac ad uses this unique facial feature to build a nice little story about how its product offering keeps Dhawan’s moustache from drooping!
Shikhar Dhawan is featured as a worthy modern-day descendant of a long line of royal ancestors, all featured on the walls of an old haveli through portraits that highlight their up-turned signature moustaches. But Shikhar’s ‘mooch’ is starting to lose its ‘taav’ because the old haveli is full of nasty ‘daags’, which is getting our hero depressed. ‘Taav nahin to shaan nahin’. Various solutions are tried to keep the ‘mooch’ from losing its twirl. A snake-charmer, helium balloons, even black-cat commandoes fail to keep the majestic ‘mooch’ upbeat. Shikhar even contemplates snipping off the pride of his tribe.
Nothing works. Finally, good sense prevails and the haveli receives a round of Nerolac’s Excel Mica Marble paint. Gone are the ‘daags’ and Shikhar is inundated by ‘taareef’ that keeps the ‘taav’ of his ‘mooch’ intact. No earth-shattering story line, but the ad has cute little touches that make it endearing. The ‘mooch’ dancing to the tune of the snake-charmer is very nicely done. The ‘mooch’ held up by the red balloons is funny.
The paper clips supported by a system of pulleys and pumped up by muscle men keeping the ‘mooch’ upturned is funny too. But what I like most is that Shikhar is so natural in the entire commercial. He looks worried when he needs to; he looks happy when he needs to. Most times, most celebrities cannot even deliver those basic emotions.
For a change, this is a celebrity commercial where it is not the celebrity but his famous ‘mooch’ that hogs much of the footage. It is a nice touch, and a welcome change from the usual ads featuring famous faces. Also, Nerolac has done well to maximise the derived value from its deal with one of the IPL teams that gives it access to players for product advertising as a quid pro quo to being a team sponsor. Shikhar is used almost solo in the commercial and his other two team mates are relegated to just one forgettable frame.
Overall, the ad is assured ‘taareef ki guarantee’ for its sheer simplicity and single minded creative delivery. The new Vistara commercials featuring epicures Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma (of Highway On My Plate fame), however, do not quite come up to expectations. There is, first and foremost, no brand connect with the minor celebrities featured in the ads. Singh and Sharma are not necessarily the best known faces around. Sure, they are anchors of a long running food show, but the average Joe on the street is hardly expected to know them, lesser still be swayed by their endorsements.
The commercials too are quite predictable. The messaging about Starbucks coffee or extra carry-on baggage or beating the check-in-queue could have been handled with a little more panache. The only ‘creative’ touch in the TVCs is the Twitter birdie flying from one frame to the other … perhaps to underline that brand Vistara is digitally savvy.
I think brands are going overboard on celebrity usage. It almost seems as if an ad will not merit release if there is no celebrity in it. And if you cannot afford a really famous face, just get anybody who can at least lay claim to some measure of fame. The Vistara ads did not really need Rocky and Mayur. The duo add zilch value to either the brand or the communication.
Back to the Nerolac ad, at least Shikhar Dhawan is used in a nice, quirky way. The play around the ‘mooch’ and its ‘taav’ surely gives the commercial a fighting chance to differentiate itself and stand out in the clutter of celebrity advertising. Well done! (Sandeep Goyal is an advertising veteran)