What is it with Indian creative agencies making ads for Pakistani brands? Lowe Lintas Mumbai has been making ads for Surf Excel Pakistan for quite a while now. In the past O&M India and O&M Pakistan have collaborated to make ads for Shan Foods (Ramzan Mubarak and Food opens the door to our hearts). This time around, the two agencies have collaborated to make an ad for EBM's (a Pakistan based company) cupcake brand, Peek Freans Cake Up. One would also notice that the actors in this ad are all Indians. The digital ad was released on YouTube on February 16. The same ad is also being run as a TVC in Pakistan.
The ad film has been produced by Curious and directed by Vivek Kakkad.
The ad is centred on two characters - a working mom and her school-going son. The mother teaches her son good values via small letters that she keeps in his tiffin box along with the cake. The son ends up leaving half the cake with a letter of his own to his mother indicating that he is following the values she has taught him. It ends with one value that stands out - 'when you share a dessert with someone, it becomes even sweeter'. This puts a smile on the mother's face as the ad ends with both the mother, at her clinic and son at his school, each eating a share of the cake.
Talking about the collaboration on this particular ad and how it came to be, Sukesh Nayak, chief creative officer, Ogilvy West (India), says, "Ayesha Janjua, the marketing head of EBM (promoter of Peek Freans Cake Up), was the marketing head of Shan Foods when we made two ads for them and when she moved here, she just wanted to continue the relationship."
Adding about how a good piece of content can become borderless and get shared, Nayak says, "Content has to be inspiring enough to reach out to the people. The context of the storyline is just like something that comes across the world to us and we see it and say "wow!" I presume a film like this will reach out to a whole lot of people because this story is true for anybody. The story is beautiful and inspiring. It is about humanity and about what we want to achieve in life as a parent and that's the cultural truth they have gone after. Over the weekend, the ad was circulated among mothers in Mumbai and it just shows that a good piece of content is borderless and it will go from one mother to the other and people will talk about it and share it."
Sharing a little about the client's brief to the agency, Nayak says, "They were launching something for the first time, a unique product and they wanted to be in the world of relationships because it is a product that is consumed. They wanted to find strategic insights and we came up with real goodness inside, which exactly describes the product and human emotions that we are trying to capture in the ad."
In the past, ads focusing on family sentiments have been overdone. So we asked our experts if it is a well-executed ad and could the branding have been done subtly?
Veneet Bagga, an ad film director, founder and creative head, Onions Creative Media, says, "Sure, it seems done to death, if you look at it as a formula, but I won't discredit the sentiment itself. One emotion that drives every human is that of belonging somewhere and a film on family tugs at that very emotion and puts a smile on your face. So, yes, overall it's a good film and well executed but predictable in bits and a tad overstretched. Having said that, credit must be given to the finer details that got through to me, like the casting, unobtrusive music and the lovable kids."
He adds, "It's pretty apparent through the script that they wanted the product placement to be subtle, but I feel it could have been subtler. Showing the product fewer times would have made it more impactful and made the ending stronger and more memorable. Seeing the product repeatedly, made it seem like a hard sell to me. Also, an important trope that got missed out or wasn't paid enough attention to was the idea of portraying the product as the 'extra perk' and not the lunch itself. It seems like the child's mother only gives him a ready-made packaged cupcake for lunch instead of healthy homemade food, which in turn reflects badly on the mother. What a lot of advertisers miss out on is that sometimes, less is more."
Kailash Surendranath, ad filmmaker and founder of the film production company Kailash Picture Company, says, "I think this is a well written and well-executed ad making it quite realistic, not overly tear-jerking which sets it apart from other ads based on family emotions. The situations and casting are very real and so are the performances. These factors are just right for the market it's meant for."
He adds, "The story revolves around the product unabashedly which I thought makes it unpretentiously an ad which is again, a good thing for a change. Surely a viewer knows when he is watching an ad and being overly subtle about the product is not necessarily a measure of great creativity. If anything at all could be corrected in hindsight, it's the length of the story and the number of scenes involving the note from the mother to her son. This makes the story predictable after a while. It could have been more impactful with a scene or two less."