This is the classic story of how to waste not one celebrity, but two, in an ad that really requires no celebrities. The new TV commercial for Oppo’s flash charge feature uses Deepika Padukone and Sidharth Malhotra in its narrative for the Oppo’s F9 Pro features, and wastes both of them. Completely. Conceptualised and created by Mullen Lintas, the film looks to push home the proposition of the phone’s VOOC Flash Charge, which allows users two hours of talk time on a five-minute charge.
Deepika Padukone plays a fashion designer working in her studio. She receives a call on her mobile from Sidharth who asks, “Where are you?” She answers, “I will leave in five minutes”. She then discovers that the phone is on low-charge and plugs it in (for five minutes of course). She leaves her studio to meet Sidharth. She tells him, “I will take two hours”.
Through the entire road trip, Sidharth and she chat, while Sidharth potters around in a kitchen and puts something into the oven. In dot two hours (countdown shown all along on the side of the frame), Deepika reaches her destination. Sidharth is waiting with a freshly baked birthday cake for her. They hug. TVC ends with a super reiterating the new Oppo phone’s 5-minute charge, 2-hour talk (time).
On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with the commercial. Deepika voices both the main features in her conversation: the recharge time and the talk time. But Deepika has nothing more to contribute to the entire communication. Of course, she looks gorgeous and she does flash her 400 watts smile once in the commercial. But that’s it.
I am quite sure the Oppo F9 Pro ad would have been equally memorable (or equally forgettable) with or without Dips, the diva. And the less said about Sidharth Malhotra, the better. He is there. And yet, he is almost not there. What a waste of celebrities! I am sure Mullen Lintas could have created the same commercial without needing any star power. It is such a simple story line. It is such a simple feature. But I suppose, when a client has enough money to burn, why shy away?
The big commercial of the last few days, without doubt, has been the ‘Just Do It’ commercial for Nike as this famous tag line turns 30. The new ad conceptualised by Wieden+Kennedy features Colin Kaepernick (who also provides the voice over), Serena Williams and Lebron James among others. Titled ‘dream crazy’, the film shows a collection of athletes who have stuck it out to chase their dreams. The new Nike commercial evinced vitriolic comments from President Donald Trump, no less.
The new TVC says, “If people say your dreams are crazy … If they laugh at what you think you can do … Stay that way … Because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult. It’s a compliment.” The TVC goes on to urge, “Don’t try to be the fastest runner in your school. Or the fastest in the world. Be the fastest ever.” The two-minute-long ad concludes saying, “And if you’re a girl from Compton, don’t just become a tennis player. Become the greatest athlete ever. Yeah, that’s more like it. So, don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough. It’s only crazy until you do it. Just do it.”
The ad is evocative. The ad is impactful. But the reason the Nike ad is attracting so much attention is because Kaepernick has been using his prominence to call attention to racial injustice. He began by sitting on the bench, rather than standing up and gazing adoringly at a large US flag, as is traditional, during the playing of the national anthem before games.
That obviously got a lot of people upset, including President Trump. The NFL quarter back then started to kneel every time the anthem is played, hence not showing disrespect, yet protesting against police brutality inflicted on coloured people. Nike has braved protests and backlashes to feature Kaepernick in the campaign, underlining again that Nike has a spine, a soul that most other brands lack.
(Sandeep Goyal is an advertising veteran)