Silence is golden

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | February 12, 2007
After nine years, Perfetti Van Melle (PVM) has rolled out a commercial for its mother brand, Center Fresh. The TVC has a new tagline, 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam', which the confectionery giant hopes will become a colloquialism

One look & #BANNER1 & # at the latest Center Fresh commercial, and the words 'bizarre' and 'wacky' come to mind. Perfetti Van Melle and O&M (its agency on Center Fresh) have yet again tried to maintain an element of dramatic surprise in their communication.

The first commercial for Center Fresh in India was launched in 1994. PVM then rolled out another set of commercials for the brand in 1996. During that time, the gum was being projected as India's first gel-filled gum and the communication was largely of the nature of product explanation. After this, PVM did not advertise the mother brand, though it advertised variants such as Air Action Center Fresh, Center Fruit, and Center Shock. But now, the confectionery giant has returned to advertising Center Fresh, which it claims has been doing well in the intervening years.

Says Sameer Suneja, head, marketing, Perfetti Van Melle India, "In recent years, we have been advertising the variants. We thought it was time to do some thematic advertising around the mother brand itself. Also, the mother brand has been doing really well for the past two years. As and when another variant is launched, we will go back to advertising variants."

The goons in the act.

Witness to the crime.

Goons intimidate the midget.

Center Fresh tagline.
Center Fresh's advertising steps out of hibernation with the tagline, 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam' ('Controls incessant speech'). The opening shot shows a car approaching a bridge and coming to a stop. Four goons step out of the car, carrying what appears to be a dead body in a sack. Looking around to make sure no one is watching, they throw the body over the bridge.

Immediately after they throw the sack, some noise attracts their attention. They turn around and see a puny figure herding a group of donkeys. The man, who happens to be a midget, looks scared and seems to have witnessed the goons disposing of the body. The goons approach the midget, pick him up, intimidate him and demand an account of all that he has witnessed. The victim only makes weird incoherent sounds. Assuming he is dumb, the goons spare his life.

Just as the goons make their way back to their vehicle, the puny man blurts out, 'Bhaisahaab, aapka shoe lace ... khul gaya!' ('Hey brother, your shoelace has come undone!') He realizes he has made a mistake, but by then the goons are exchanging meaningful looks and it's too late. The voice-over chips in: 'Center Fresh. Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam'.

Speaking about the TVC, Abhijit Avasthi, group creative director, O&M Mumbai, says, "There are times when the mouth just shoots itself off when it would be better off keeping shut. Keep your mouth busy is the basic thought running through this TVC." In other words, silence is golden. "We had a couple of scripts and this one seemed to be the most interesting," adds Avasthi. As there is quite a demand for Center Fresh, it made sense to advertise the mother brand itself at this point as reinforcement, he says.

There was no formal brief given, though the client asked the agency to do something that would 'blow people's minds'. Adds Avasthi, "This is how we always work with Perfetti. There is never a formal brief. We sit down together and evolve it on our own with the objective of coming up with a piece of communication that the audience will love and try out the product as well."

Says filmmaker Prasoon Pandey of Corcoise Films, "This is one script that every director will die for." He says this is because it is a fairly simple execution of a very funny script. "The idea was to get the performances right as it involved some sort of intimidation," says Pandey. "We wanted the film to look humorous and not crude and gory."

The product sees kids and those aged 16-24 years as its core target group. Speaking about the expectations that PVM has from this commercial, Suneja adds, "We asked the agency to do something that really usurps chewing as a benefit. We also wanted a tagline that could become a colloquialism like other Perfetti taglines such as 'Lage raho' and 'Dimaag ki batti jalaa de'. If 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam' becomes that kind of thought, it would be brilliant."

Kailash Kher has sung the jingle for this TVC and the lyrics have been penned by Piyush Pandey. The music has been composed by Ehsaan and Loy.

2007 agencyfaqs!

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