Center Fresh: An ad that mocks ads

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Last updated : February 27, 2014
The brand's latest 'Yeh Wala' campaign takes the 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam' thought forward through a film that pokes fun at familiar marketing tactics.

It is not every day that one takes a funny dig at the business one is in. Well, a one off case this might be as Ogilvy India, in its newly crafted ad for Center Fresh, has revealed the funny side of some product advertisements.

Abhijit Avasthi

Titled 'Yeh Wala', the film pokes fun at common and familiar marketing techniques which urge consumers to use products. Though the film creatively connects different brands and products as a part of one story, the clear intent is a direct attack on the way brands are projected through advertisements and the tall claims made by brands.

Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy India clarifies that it is not a dig at advertising, rather a funny take on how different people are. "There are people everywhere who tend to talk more and advertising is also not an exception. Our industry also has many people who talk too much and it is a funny take on them, which also aligns well with the brand thought of 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam'," he adds.

Avasthi adds that Center Fresh ads have never been about serious subjects and that provided the creative license to poke fun at advertising. "Earlier, we have made fun of different topics and people from different genres. This time it happens to be advertising," he says.

Center Fresh introduced its proposition of 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam' back in early 2007, and has been following it up on every advertisement depicting new stories each time. This time also, states Avasthi, the brief from the brand was to take the 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam' proposition forward with a new story.

To promote the campaign, the brand has also launched the #YehWala Contest on Facebook and Twitter, asking users to exercise their writing skills and create a tagline under the theme 'Suraksha'. The rules of the game are simple - the tagline should start with "Yeh Wala" and include the word 'Suraksha'. Besides, as per Avasthi, there will be numerous other digital and radio activities initiated to support the campaign.


So, does the idea of 'laughing at ourselves' work for Center Fresh, especially when the idea is to establish the proposition of 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam'?

Prathap Suthan

Raghu Bhat

Prathap Suthan, managing partner and chief creative officer, Bang In The Middle, loves the fact that 'we have had the gumption to laugh at ourselves.' "This indeed is a sign that we haven't stagnated, got too pompous, and that we have matured more and evolved further. No society or community or industry can progress if you really aren't able to pull your own leg. I mean we all have enough seriousness in life at 7 am in the morning," he adds.

However, Suthan also feels that the ad is a little more intelligent than it appears. "There is a layer underneath, which could get lost, in the sense that the film is not a series of random situations. There are enough barbs flying out at brands. And, our industry's rotor-mouth. All that innuendo may not be very obvious to the layman. But even then, it brings out the fact that we talk too much - which is pretty much in the scope of the line - Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam," he states.

Sure enough, one can always argue that the connecting logic between the situations isn't consistent. Suthan says this could have been better imagined, and the film tends to lag a bit and could have been shorter. However, it's the bigger picture that always wins, he adds.

To Raghu Bhat, founder and director, Scarecrow Communications, the treatment and casting are hilarious. "The construct of how one product flows into another is quite interesting and keeps you glued. The main question is of context. Some people might feel that the irony of characters in ads making banal claims is more of an 'insider' joke. But I don't think so. I believe young people in India follow TV ads very closely as it is also some kind of content. So they will definitely get the joke. Therefore 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam' does get established," he adds.

First Published : February 27, 2014
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