afaqs!

POV: Is remixing a Hindi movie song as an ad jingle always effective?

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 24, 2010
Ad filmmakers are resorting to the use of old Hindi movie songs or soundtrack as jingles. Are they taking the easy way out? Does it always work?

Of late, one has seen a growing trend of revamped versions of Hindi film songs being used in television commercials in place of tailor-made jingles. The practice is being followed by brands across categories; be it FMCG or automobiles or financial products. Is it really a sound strategy, afaqs! asks experts.

Nitesh Tiwari, executive creative director, Leo Burnett India

I think this is getting overdone and is an easy way out. I am not a big fan of using existing songs. Why not create something new that becomes a part of people's lingo?

Vodafone is a classic example. The music that is created for the brand is simple, beautiful and it sticks to the mind easily. Not every jingle is memorable. Not every jingle becomes a 'Kuch Khaas Hai' (Dairy Milk) or 'You and I in this beautiful world' (Vodafone). Consumers, though, do not always scrutinise a commercial as much as we do. They take it on a totality basis. Hence, it works a few times.

I feel that if this continues and happens a bit too often, it will begin to get less effective. It sounded fantastic the first time in the Coca Cola film featuring Imran Khan and Kalki; but do we need to do it every time?

Arun Raman, senior vice-president, planning, Lowe Worldwide

In the past, advertising professionals were also great Hindi writers. They could write beautiful songs that become popular jingles like the ones for Hamara Bajaj, Nerolac, VIP and Nirma.

But times have changed. And with the advent of the English-isation of our communication, the poetry from copywriting is slowly dying. Enter the powerful wor(l)d of Hindi movie songs.

They enter our consciousness from every direction. They come to us as part of movie trailers, music channels, FM stations, reality shows, college 'antaksharis', wedding 'sangeet' and 'baraat'.... Give me an emotion and I can remember, sing or at least hum a Hindi movie song!

Given the ubiquitous penetration and almost singular associations of such songs to specific emotions, it's no wonder that a lot of advertising films tend to slap popular Hindi songs to add that extra zing. Do they add value? Well, as long as the right 'fit' of song words and emotions to the storyline is maintained, I say, why not?

Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy India

I think it is very important to keep the song relevant to the idea of the commercial. And I do not see why it should not be effective. When we did the Pehli Tareekh campaign for Dairy Milk, we used an old song.

The song was about celebrating Pehli Tareekh, the central idea of the film. Similarly we used Hum Jab Honge Saath Saal Ke for the SBI Life Insurance film. The ad was about a couple getting old together and the song reflected that same thought.

People will stop caring and dismiss an ad with a remade song when they see little relevance of the song to the brand and the commercial. You cannot pick up any random song just because it is popular.

Cajetan Vaz, brand consultant

If using a popular Bollywood song matches the brand personality, why not? If it helps recall of the brand and the advertisement, why not? If it makes the brand more endearing, why not? However, if it is just slapped on to a commercial with no brand relevance, then one would doubt the effectiveness.

Some of the best known commercials globally have used popular songs most effectively. The finest case in point is the much acclaimed Cadbury Dairy Milk 'gorilla' ad, which uses a Phil Collins track with amazing effectiveness and relevance.

We are an audio driven culture, which has passed traditional tales through song and verse. We retain audio cues better than visual metaphors. If using Bollywood songs helps make a brand popular with reduced spends, so be it.

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