Amul’s Wuhan Se Yahaan advertisement ignites needless controversy

A very interesting campaign from Coca Cola Australia went wildly viral on social media last week.

Published: 12th February 2020 08:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th February 2020 08:18 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

It doesn’t take much to ignite a controversy these days. The Amul hoarding on Coronavirus, a humorous take headlined Wuhan Se Yahaan Le Aaye…Amul homecoming snack with a visual of the Amul girl wearing a mask and coming off an Air India plane with other mask-wearing travellers had social media in knots.

The brand got savagely trolled for being insensitive, and for treating a life-and-death matter lightheartedly. Honestly, I really didn’t see anything objectionable in the communication at all. The trolls, me thinks, were getting incited for no reason. Much of the ire was directed at the Amul girl shown wearing a mask.

What and how that made Amul ‘insensitive’ is beyond my comprehension, but then social media has strange triggers and even stranger reactions. Amul, always has been tongue-in-cheek in its ad communication and the current creative is no different. What actually incensed the trolls is beyond my limited understanding of such aggressive behaviour.

PNB MetLife’s latest #ShedTheTax campaign is pretty obscure. It shows a man at a barber shop asking for a full head shave-off as it is the time of the year when one is weighed down with tax payment worries. Similarly, a couple at a fairly swish restaurant order the cheapest dish, that too one-by-two, because tax worries are bogging them down.

Frankly, the previous campaign of PNB MetLife featuring PV Sindhu, #ShedTheWait, was vastly better in ideation as well as communication. The extra-heavy weight tickets at the rail platform weighing machine at least had an idea.

The current campaign, sadly, doesn’t quite make the mark. Wonder why the client couldn’t just stay with a winning idea, and just build on it this year. It is actually nothing but the constant itch clients have to re-invent and change which sometimes actually ensures that the baby is thrown out with the bath water!

A very interesting campaign from Coca Cola Australia went wildly viral on social media last week. It partnered with Amazon to give up to 2,000 Australians the opportunity to receive a free personalised Coke with their name on it, delivered to their doorstep as part of a new promotion. Customers could initiate the offer simply by saying, “Alexa, let’s share a coke” using Coke Skill on Alexa.

Once this voice conversation was activated, a text was sent to their nominated mobile, which directed users to the ‘Share a Coke’ website. Voice-assisted lifestyles are becoming increasingly popular among consumers worldwide. So, Coca-Cola worked with specialist ‘voice-agency’ Versa and Amazon to build on the success of one of its most iconic campaigns where sharing a Coke is symbolic of joy and togetherness.

With this, Coke enabled customers to ‘Share A Coke’ in a fun, new and innovative way by using just a voice command. Will this happen in India too? My guess, is yes, that too very soon. Voice is going to materially change consumer behaviour on digital … already 20 per cent searches on Google are through voice. Brands such as Coke have already figured out this new tilt in consumer behaviour, and the Australian campaign only signals what tomorrow will bring us all. 

The SBI Life ad has a stand-up podium setting, where a father is seen addressing the audience about pressures and responsibilities of life and how they just keep adding up and wearing you down. And while he drives home the point, his daughter stands up and whistles in appreciation.

The whistle, the brand claims, is a metaphor for the ‘depressurising effect’ of the family’s support in today’s challenging life and times. Often in its campaigns, it has presented its services as a panacea to the financial turbulence that could afflict a person and the family in times of adversity. Its campaigns typically have laid more emphasis on the family as an organic single unit, and then built upon that in communication. The new film is nice and warm. 

The one interesting event last week, celebrated with quite fanfare in the digital world was Google Maps’ 15th birthday. In 2005, Google set out to map the world. Since then they’ve pushed the limits of what a map can do: from helping us easily navigate from point A to B, helping us explore and get things done.

With over 1 billion people turning to Google Maps every day, its celebration saw a number of very interesting visual renditions of the Google Maps icon. I sometimes marvel at the evolved sense of design that most tech companies today are capable of. They combine cutting edge technology with stunning visual design, leaving traditional ad agencies far far behind. 

(The author is an advertising veteran.)


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