Do Indian films influence television commercials?

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | October 17, 2005
Indian advertising professionals list the reasons for such inspirations

Television commercials

in India are often found to be influenced by our films. At times, watching a TVC gives the feeling of watching a 30-second feature film. For instance, in one of the Fair & Lovely commercials, a story unfolds just like a feature film and also has a message in the end.

Milind Dhaimade, executive creative director, Everest Brand Solutions, explains the borrowing from movies. He says, "Movies are popular influencers. They are also excellent barometers to gauge people's taste. The main objective of a television commercial is to influence people. So, borrowing an idea from a successful movie actually ensures that the ad will cater to the taste of the masses."

He cites the example of the blockbuster, 'Dil Chahta Hai' ('DCH'), which has been an inspiration for many commercials.

Dhaimade says, "Many commercials tried to explore the genre of urban friendship after the success of 'DCH'.

For instance, the Lays commercial with Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan and Rahul Khanna was based on a similar concept. Even Pepsi tried this for a while when it had a series of commercials with Fardeen Khan, Saif Ali Khan and the popular 'Pepsi Ke Liye Hum Besharam Hai' slogan.

Elaborating on other influences of cinema on advertisements, Dhaimade says, "The language of cinema, like showing strong family ties, high drama and even the genre of emotion, is all borrowed by advertisements."

He adds, "Borrowing is not just restricted to movies, even popular serials that have caught the pulse of the nation have found their way into ads." He cites the example of the 'saas-bahu' sagas that are the subject of many advertisements.

Priti Nair Chakravarthy, executive creative director, Lowe, says, "More than ideation, the ad world takes its visual references from cinema." She adds, "When creating a certain look, we do refer to movies, say, a certain kind of house or some other set, and try to give it our own interpretation."

Agreeing to films being a reference point for ad filmmakers, Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films says, "Reference is important for research and films serve that purpose. It is not to recreate the same thing, but to get inspiration and improvise to create an even better product."

Another aspect of movies that has influenced TVCs is catchy music. The Cadbury's 'Kuch khaas hai...' song is an iconic example, where the song has transformed into instant recognition for the brand.

Chakravarthy of Lowe explains, "Many Indian films are recognised for their music. The same strategy was adopted by TVCs and the Cadbury's signature tune is a classic example of the strategy's success."

For some, the only difference between an ad film and a movie is the time duration. Prasoon Joshi, regional creative director for South and South East Asia, McCann-Erickson, explains this, "Both mediums entertain and give a message. A movie is a product, whereas advertisements target at selling a product. A good advertisement tries to bring in the message somewhere with the entertainment and does not declare the message outright."

In fact, there are some admen who feel that both movies and television commercials influence each other. Joshi of McCann-Erickson says, "In terms of technology, ads are way ahead and they set a precedent for filmmakers to follow." He offers the example of digital editing, which was used in commercials much before it caught on with the film fraternity.

Abhinay Deo, filmmaker with Ramesh Deo Productions (RDP), agrees that films borrow from commercials. He says, "The concept of colour correction is very much like in advertising, which filmmakers are exploring now." He concludes, "The medium has seen many established names crossing over to make commercials, like Farah Khan. So, the theory that ad filmmakers, who, till now, have been accused of using commercials as a training ground to enter the film industry falls flat."

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