Mumbai cops’ No Honking campaign is outstanding, Lava’s take on fake news brave

The punishing signal has further elevated the Mumbai Police in my eyes.

Published: 05th February 2020 12:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th February 2020 01:23 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Actually it would be a misnomer to call it an advertising campaign. Mumbai Police this week rolled out an incredibly interesting initiative that takes on the ‘honking’ problem in the city. Called ‘the punishing signal’, the idea is to reduce honking at signals through a decibel meter, the first ones having been already installed across a few signals at CSMT, Marine Drive, Peddar Road, Hindmata and Bandra. Every time the meter exceeds 85 dB, the traffic signal timer resets, causing further delay for the honking folks — immediate punishment for the impatient ones. Honk more, Wait more.

What an incredibly simple idea! With a call-to-action (CTA) that is many times more compelling than any advertising campaign. I have, for long, been an admirer of the Mumbai Police’s Twitter handle; it is topical, it is engaging, yet it is incredibly sharp. The punishing signal has further elevated the Mumbai Police in my eyes. This new initiative is a fantastic creative solution for bringing about awareness and an emphatic behavioural change amongst the drivers in Mumbai. Well done, guys!  

Gulf Oil released a very ‘global’ commercial recently. Depicting what appears to be the childhood background story of three Manchester United players – Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingaard — the ad film showcases the trio’s journey from playing on the streets to sporting the United emblem on their chests in the ‘Theatre of Dreams’, day in and day out. After narrating the story of the three players, the ad film ends with the brand connect: You Get Out What You Put In. I liked the film because of its simplicity. Beautifully shot, well narrated, well thought through, with no force-fit of the brand. I haven’t seen much of the film in media though, but whenever it will run, I am sure it will captivate and entertain viewers, especially football fans. 

Lava, the handset brand, ran an innovative and interesting campaign to coincide with Republic Day. Lava’s #SendItBack campaign highlights the constant menace of fake forwards that we confront every day. The film shows how fake forwards create panic and fuel needless acts of violence. Lava, therefore, urges all mobile phone users in the country to pause, think and send the ‘back’ emoji to verify the authenticity of a forwarded message before sharing it with others. The film shows how untruths can be selectively edited and communicated, making them look real and convincing, creating panic and even inciting violence. Lava has been running a ‘proudly Indian’ campaign for quite a while now. The brand essentially has its heart in the right place. The fake news ad is a timely reminder in our vitiated times today that it is so easy to trigger negative actions through motivated messaging. Good thinking by Lava. And brave action too. 

To be honest, I didn’t quite like the new Apple campaign ‘born with wings’ shot on the iPhone 11 Pro. The film has words of former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as a voice-over from his visits to schools across the country. Dr Kalam, it is said, used to quote a poem written by Sufi poet Rumi to encourage the young to follow their dreams and ideas, and spread their wings.  The film has portraits of many school children pulsed to the narrative. As a ‘creative’ brand, one always expects more from Apple. Without the prompt of a PR release, frankly I would not know if poem is Kalam’s or Rumi’s. Without that essential connect, the words are not half as powerful. 

The new Vicco Vajradanti ad featuring Alia Bhatt is cute but is focused more on making the old jingle famous again, than any new news or product plus. Does Alia Bhatt make the brand look and feel younger? Well, she has the charm. She has the million-dollar smile. And in this ad, she has the naughty wink too. One does hope her personality and youth will give Vicco a new life. 

The ‘We Are India’ – Alive India is yet another song video celebrating the country, its diversity, its beauty and its togetherness and unity. An unbelievable number of singers feature in the video but there is nothing new in the messaging. Old wine in new bottles, sadly. Would really say the same about the new Vedanta campaign where a young boy wants to know why the nib of his pen is made of metal. This triggers a journey through the village, past the pond to a candy floss vendor to some ‘miners’ on the riverside. Completely obtuse, if you ask me. And with no real connect to Vedanta or its business. Why waste money if you have nothing really to say?  

Last, but not the least, there is a really nice Kejriwal video doing the rounds on WhatsApp. It’s about Arvind Kejriwal coming home to you to explain his government’s achievements over the past five years. I loved the simplicity of the execution and the succinct dissemination of the message. Political advertising is really becoming engaging and interactive! (The author is  an advertisement veteran)

India Matters


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