Center Fresh: Tickling the funny bone

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | June 13, 2011
After presenting a serious side with a social message that talked about Indians and how they should be responsible through the 'Come on India; talk less and work more' campaign, Center Fresh returns back with its funny proposition this year with 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam'.

The confectionery company Perfetti Van Melle India, in its new campaign for Center Fresh chewing gum, presents the funny side of the brand. With this television commercial, the brand moves beyond its earlier campaign which was somewhat serious, carrying a social message -- a route the company adopted in 2009 through the 'Come on India; talk less and work more' campaign. In between, the agency launched another campaign called Shoe Lace.

Created by Ogilvy India, the latest film, titled Bank Robbery, depicts a bank robbery where the robber turns out to be the security guard, who returns to the call of duty (security) by sheer force of habit. The TVC ends with the voiceover saying, 'Phisal gayi zubaan?', highlighting the tagline, 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam'.

Speaking to afaqs!, Sameer Suneja, chief executive officer, Perfetti Van Melle, says, "Every year, the attempt is to present a refreshing idea to bring forward the message 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam'. The new campaign highlights the brand value in an interesting way, with the TVC leaving the consumer smiling."

Elaborating on the concept, Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy, says, "While the 'Come on India; talk less and work more' campaign was a satirical take on people owning up to their responsibilities, and was more about corporate social responsibility (CSR), we thought of toying with the advantage of Center Fresh being a fun brand this time. The idea came across when we were brain storming for a new idea that reflected the core values of the brand. We focussed on a simple way of storytelling, this time."

An impressive tale

The TVC draws mixed reviews from advertising professionals -- while a few believe that it fails to live up to the expectations in terms of idea when compared to some of the recent ads of Center Fresh, for some, it presents an interesting situation and connects well with the brand's core value.

Sailesh Wadhwa, group planning director, strategic planning, Bates 141, says, "Most often than not, 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam' advertising has left one speechless. However, the current spot smells a lot like a David Dhawan type of Bollywood number. Comparisons are inevitable, and the current film lacks the sharp wit and the 'aha!' moment of Center Fresh's 'Zubaan pe lagam lagata hai, haath par nahin'.

Hope to see more interesting takes on the thought; nevertheless, the execution, including the characterisation and setting, looks rather fresh."

According to Nitin Pradhan, executive creative director, Leo Burnett, the agency has presented the bank robbery situation in a very interesting manner. He adds, "Categories like these need to be sticky to their proposition to remain true to their value, and as long as the brand is able to justify its value, such ads will always work for it."

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