There aren't too many mainstream feature filmmakers who have ventured into making TVCs.
Rakesh Roshan, for one, directed an Aishwarya Rai-Hrithik Roshan commercial for Coke; and, of course, Ashutosh Gowarikar, who did the Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola campaign.
Therefore, it would not be wrong to surmise that feature-film production and distribution houses do not exactly warm up to the idea of making ad-films.
One feature film production-cum-distribution company, which has attempted to buck the trend and get into advertising, is Yash Raj Films. The company, which has hits such as Hum Tum to its credit and is set to release multi-starrer Dhoom this August, has created a special division titled YRF Ad cell, devoted to making ad films.
Launched in October last year, the wing has produced 19 commercials for brand Dabur (including work for Chawanprash, Hajmola, Glucose, Anmol and Amla) and is presently working on campaigns for a mouth freshener and a jewellery brand. "I cannot reveal the names of the two products, but the first one is a new brand to be launched in the market," says Arjun Sablok, head of YRF Ad Cell.
With a clear mandate of doing good work, Sablok maintains that the aim of the division is to be absolutely uncompromising on quality. "We do want to grow but the point is - we do not want to achieve quantity at the cost of quality."
Notable campaigns executed by YRF Ad Cell for brand Dabur include 'Bakwaas Dance Ko Hazam Karo' for Hajmola (agency: Lowe) and 'Ruke Na Tum' for Chawanprash (agency: McCann).
Both campaigns, of course, featured brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, and Sablok maintains that one of the Cell's USPs is its proximity to stars. "What we bring to the table is our long-standing relationship with Bollywood stars. However, we do realise that advertising is not just about celebrity endorsements, and the current campaigns for the jewellery brand and mouth freshener are sans high-profile celebrity endorsers."
The Cell has thirteen full-time members. Sablok, who is the in-house director, has a six-member team. "We do not believe in hiring freelancers when executing campaigns," he says. "Each one of my assistants has a certain job on hand, and is required to perform a certain function."
Costing, he claims, is brought down by virtue of the Cell's liberty to use post-production facilities, lighting, sound and equipment of the parent. "The production process for both feature films and ad films is the same. It is the technicians that change. Since the parent is into feature films, there are longstanding relationships we share with industry professionals, which helps us when sourcing technicians for our commercials."
The Cell, for the record, bagged the 2004 RAPA (Radio and TV Advertising Practitioners Association of India) Award for executing the 'Ruke Na Tum' campaign for Dabur Chawanprash.
It's interesting to note that while celebrated film-makers have normally stayed away from the advertising industry, there are several instances of gifted creative people from the ad-world having ventured into films.
Famous ad film directors such as Mahesh Mathai (who directed Bhopal Express a few years ago), John Mathew Mathan (of Sarfarosh fame), Rakesh Mehra (who did Aks with Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Bajpai) have all ventured into making feature films in recent years.
So are a gang of seven popular ad filmmakers including Prasoon Pandey, Ram Madhvani, Abhinay Deo and Shamin Desai, who will interpret the subject of sin in a movie aptly titled Sin.
Perhaps, the attraction of narrating a story in three hours as opposed to communicating a brand message in thirty, forty-five or sixty seconds is too good to resist. © 2004 agencyfaqs!