Khadim’s was a small regional shoe brand from Kolkata till just a few years ago. Then the company went public, revamped its product offering and rapidly expanded its distribution footprint. Now, the firm has revved up its brand with not one or two, but three celebrities at one-go: Farhan Akhtar, Kangana Ranaut, and Dinesh Karthik. The new ad campaign, produced by ad agency Rediffusion, went on air recently, catapulting Khadim’s onto the national arena as a brand with all-India aspirations.
More than the advertising, I admire the audacity of challenger brands like Khadim’s. To have the grit, focus and determination to hire a small army of famous faces and then attempt to use their cumulative goodwill to pull the brand onto a national level requires both guts and gumption. And a reasonable amount of monetary ammunition.
Kangana looks gorgeous in all the sequences, Farhan has gravitas and both look good. The campaign centres around the “ ’s” in the brand-name and the ad-film showcases Tina’s, Vikram’s, Riya’s, Karan’s, Aditi’s, Imran’s and of course Kangana’s and Farhan’s choices of footwear. Clever play on the “ ’s” for sure. As I said before, it is the ability of small brands to play for big stakes that heartens me. The attempt in the communication is surely to youngify and contemporarise the brand and make it relevant to the national audience, but that is a long road which will demand consistent and tireless efforts. Let us see how far Khadim’s gets to go.
Another nice little ad this week has been the Dr Oetker Fun Foods’ veg mayo film featuring Dia Mirza. ‘Iska Taste Mile, Toh Sab Milein’ centres around a young dad left at home with two hyper-energetic kids who literally pull the entire house down.
Thankfully, the mom, Dia Mirza, gets back earlier than planned from her outstation trip. As she surveys the upside-down house, she gets more worked up when the dad wants to order in some food for the kids. Seeing her consternation, the dad scurries towards the refrigerator and uses the Fun Foods vegetarian mayonnaise to rustle up some sandwiches and roti-rolls. The kids are delighted. And the dad takes a bow while Dia smiles knowing that all the kudos really belong to the veg mayo. Nice, warm film. No real role for Dia, but it is always nicer to have a celebrity in the ad these days, no?
Look at the latest campaign of Air Asia. It too has a celebrity - Diljit Dosanjh - singing a completely mindless song, flying on the clouds, hugging an old lady on a charpoy in the middle of sarson fields and taking a selfie, dancing a jig with some gidda girls, wanting to convey ‘Har Dil Bole Udippa’ which even I had difficulty understanding. It is, to say the least, a terrible ad.
First I don’t know who chose Dosanjh, and why. Two, I don’t know what his thoughtless song is all about and who it is targeted at. Three, I wonder what Dosanjh and the song have to do with Air Asia. Many years ago, Air Deccan too wanted everyone to fly. They had run one of the finest, most heart-warming communications in the category getting an old man from a village to take wings. The ad had emotion, it had feelings, it left a lump in your throat.
And I still remember the ad years later today. The Air Asia campaign is just a complete time-pass — sans strategy, sans any creative thought. Just a usually fail-safe formula — hire a celebrity; if he can sing, shoot a video; have some product shots; then get your PR agency to get some write-ups that say you have a great campaign. What a waste! Air Asia ought to fire its ad agency without notice and yank this idiotic ad off air because it is doing more harm than good to its brand.
Vodka brand Absolut also launched a brand-new campaign named ‘Born Colourless’ this week, bringing forward its belief in global unity. The brand, over the years, has championed purpose-led creativity and instigated an open world. In this new campaign too, Absolut highlights the deeply coloured opinions that divide the world and emphasizes the message that for the world to become a happy and colourful place, it must first become colourless. Good campaign. Shot by three-time Academy Award winner Robert Richardson and directed by Brazilian director Pedro Becker. They are the celebrities of this campaign.
(The author is an advertising and media industry veteran)