Ogilvy & Mather has this knack of coming up with stories that tug at the heartstrings or mirror life's experiences that stays with the viewer for a long time. Remember the Google Reunion campaign? Now the agency is back with another story called "Ghar ka khana" for Fortune Oil. The four-and-a-half minute long film revolves around the love of a grandmother who has resolved to feed her bedridden grandson home-cooked dal (lentil).
The film opens with an old lady struggling to climb a long flight of stairs. The second shot shows a nurse feeding a male patient as the old lady enters the room. The patient, who is her grandson, smiles at her weakly. The old lady tells the visibly apprehensive nurse that the hospital food is doing no good to her grandson. She insists that she be allowed to feed her grandson just two-spoons of home-cooked dal. The nurse refuses pointing out that "outside food" is not allowed to which the old lady insists that it is home-cooked.
The routine continues for many days when the old lady tries every trick from anecdotes, flattery, humour, love to anger to convince the nurse. One day she brings two dabbas saying it is her grandson's birthday and she has brought one dabba for her. The nurse tastes the food that day in private. The next day when the old lady again requests the nurse to feed home-cooked dal she agrees. Surprised and teary-eyed, the old lady fumbles with the dabba and starts feeding the grandson who after first few spoons takes the dabba to guzzle down the dal himself. Satisfied, the old lady kisses him as the film ends with a brand message 'Ghar ka khana, ghar ka khana hota hai'.
Dubbing it as a 'brave campaign', creative heavyweight Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director (south Asia), Ogilvy & Mather says that it is not very often that you get clients like Pranav Adani (MD of Adani Wilmar which owns Fortune Oil brand) who entrust faith in the agency and let you create a story instead of a regular 40 second ad film.
"When you've to tell a story then you better tell it properly," he says commenting on the length of the campaign. Speaking of the visual execution, Pandey tells us that he's a great believer in "homegrown truths" and wanted to weave a story that will move people.
"A regular cooking oil campaign is usually laden with images of delicacies and kids appreciating mother's food. We wanted to break this clutter and create something heart-rending," he quips adding that his team has believed in the campaign and gave their heart to it. The campaign will be promoted on TV, print, outdoors and digital.
Vivek Kakkad of Curious Films has directed the film. The cast includes Kamlesh Gill of Vicky Donor fame. Gill plays the dadi (grandmom) while Chandan Roy Sanyal, who has also worked in Rang De Basanti, Kaminey and D-Day, is the grandson. Theatre artist Suruchi Aulakh, who was also seen recently in the movie Yeh hai Bakrapur, plays the nurse. The campaign was shot in four-and-a-half days in Budapest, Hungary.
"We wanted a very colonial looking hospital with an old-world charm. Besides this there were a lot of permission related issues back home that is why we zeroed on Budapest," explains Kakkad on the choice of location. The background score, which plays an important role, was created by Abhishek Arora (the music director for Vicky Donor) while Nitin Pradhan, former creative director at JWT, penned the lyrics. Swaroop Khan, a contestant on Indian Idol 5 and a folk singer from Rajasthan has sung the song.
Fortune Oil is an edible oil brand of Adani Wilmar. It was in 1999, that the Adani Group forged a partnership with Wilmar International to launch Adani Wilmar and subsequently their flagship brand - Fortune cooking oil. Its brand portfolio includes Fortune Plus Soya Health, Sunlite, Cottonlite, Fortune Rice Bran Health, Fortune Soya Health, Fortune Premium Kachi Ghani, filtered mustard oil, filtered groundnut oil, Fortune Goldnut and Fortune Coconut Pure.
Plucked right out of life
Experts we spoke to believe that the film is endearing to the core and will have a high recall value. They give two thumbs up to Ogilvy for creating a piece of communication, which is clutter-breaking yet simple in execution.
The execution is clean and focussed on the story. "It makes you feel good about the profession - really," he says. Speaking of execution, Suthan says that most of us can see our grandmas in Gill. Commenting on increasing number of brands resorting to long formats on digital, Suthan asserts that we exist in a world where content is what creates, builds, and adds conversation to brands. Especially in the social space. "I think the digital medium just brought magic back into storytelling. If you really want to enjoy advertising and the stories that advertising creates (and India is still in that space), digital and mobile offer excellent platforms to showcase such superior content," he adds.
Many brands are creating longer formats. "That is because companies and brands are now increasingly looking at mainline TV merely as a reminder medium," points out Suthan. He wishes that the brand plays the full campaign on TV as well. "It's one of those classic films that people need to see once, to remember and to keep playing it in the head. A couple of times on prime time TV, and the client would even be able to save media money. This is the great future of this business - once again underlined by Ogilvy," he notes.
Applauding the meticulous direction, ad filmmaker Kailash Surendranath says that it will elicit a highly emotional response at all levels from the audience. "You feel for the old lady, you want to tell the nurse to chill and each time the lady is refused you feel both angry and sad for her," he says. For him, all the elements (direction, the performances, and the background score) are perfectly understated. There is a simplicity in the entire execution, which scores, and in every heart across this land.
He however feels that the pace of the campaign is a bit slow which might not hold the younger audience's attention span. "Perhaps reducing the number of times the old lady is turned down would have definitely helped," he suggests. Claiming that the ad has a tremendous recall value, he points that the only challenge is to get people to see it. "Given the duration, it is far too expensive to put on air as a regular commercial with any appreciable frequency. Getting people to find it and see it online will take some innovative strategy," he says.