afaqs! news bureau

2022 in ads: Witty, woke, and whimsical

What was your favourite ad campaign of 2022? Is it among these 10 ads?

It’s a wrap! 

With the worst of the pandemic behind us, it was programming as usual in 2022. Brands rebranded and renamed themselves and launched new services and products. Some continued with their eccentric ads, while others forced consumers to look inwards and do some soul-searching. 

Ads were thoughtful, playful, progressive, and outlandish in equal measure. Some ads hurt religious sentiments. Others rightfully earned the wrath of consumers and regulators for creating and disseminating distasteful ads. We are just glad brands are done claiming that shirts, mattresses, and paints can keep Covid-19 away. 

Brands embraced purpose, pranked consumers, and ad land debated every creative on LinkedIn - possibly even conjured up insights and connections the creative teams did not see. 

As we reported on all the ad campaigns that brands carried out throughout the year, some stayed with us. Today, team afaqs! looks back at the year and brings to you a collection of some memorable ads of the year.


Aakriti Kaur Kochhar, Delhi

Ariel, SeeEqual - ShareTheLoad (2022)

Ariel, the detergent brand from Procter & Gamble has been talking on the unequal division of household chores since 2015. According to a study cited by the brand, 83% of women feel men don’t see women as equals when it comes to housework. Ariel, therefore, raised the question: if men can share the load equally with other men, why are they not doing it with their wives?

To continue the conversation about the distribution of household chores, the brand and its agency BBDO released the fifth edition of the Share The Load campaign, See Equal. In the ad, the wife, juggling work at the office and household chores, tells her husband that she feels slighted that he takes her time for granted. Exasperated, she wonders if her husband could share chores with his male roommate in college, why not with her?

In the 2.57-minute long ad, Ariel makes an entry in the last 15 seconds. The rest of the ad goes beyond laundry and sheds light on the invisible burden that women bear. The idea was thought-provoking and the brand was successful in creating meaningful conversations. 

It is for all these reasons that it managed to secure a place in my heart.

Akshit Pushkarna, Delhi

Swiggy, Why is this a Swiggy ad? (Oct 2022)

Food delivery app Swiggy has been known to make out-of-the-box advertisements. In its October 2022 ad, Swiggy took its trademark out-of-the-box creatives to an unconventional advertising medium. It ditched its digital-first marketing approach, and went out-of-home (OOH) with its new campaign, asking consumers the question- "Why is this a Swiggy ad?"

The OOH creative had multiple layers to it. The brand utilised several images that hinted at previous campaigns and pop culture references. The sci-fi-styled creative also tipped its hat to the OG Swiggy Uncle, one of the most recognisable figures from the 'Swiggy-verse'.

What was interesting is how the brand utilised the outdoor medium in driving engagement on social media. Posing the question to the audience online garnered a lot of whacky fan theories. The contest would earn the winner Rs 1 lakh in Swiggy money. Revealing the winners also allowed the brand to release another creative. The campaign culminated with Swiggy releasing a 20-minute video naming the winners of the contest as well as answering the question itself. Or did they answer anything with it?

All in all, it wasn't that hard to figure out why it was a Swiggy ad after all. 

Ankita Madan,  Ambala City

Dove, Stop The Beauty Test 2.0

This ad by Dove reflects the conventional mindset of Indian society. Almost every Indian woman can relate to this. Girls growing up are made painfully aware of how they don’t fit into the traditional mould of beauty and good looks. Casual remarks, sometimes couched in humour, do little to no good to the self-esteem of a child who is figuring out her place in the world.

The ad takes the beauty test girls are subjected to a step further. This time, it is family members, often the mother who ensures her daughter passes the beauty test she will be subjected to outside the home - further damaging her self-esteem.

The brand made parents reflect on how they treat their young daughters and sent a strong message to parents to emphasise in-classroom education instead of seeing young girls from the eyes of a prospective groom.

Benita Chacko, Ahmedabad

Mahindra Thar, Explore the Impossible (2022)

Mahindra Thar’s commercial, featuring a modern rendition of the iconic song Mere Sapno ki Rani in the background, broke several stereotypes associated with SUV ads.

Very rarely do ads for SUVs feature women, and even when they do, she is the damsel in distress. And that sets the Mahindra Thar ad apart. While a man is driving the car, there is also a woman driving competently next to him. The ad makes the SUV equally desirable for women as a target group. 

Moreover, unlike the regular SUV ads, which have an aggressive and macho tone, this one depicts an adventurous romantic moment.

The ad, created by The Womb Communications, shows a couple chasing each other in their respective Thars in extreme terrain, while their eyes keep meeting flirtatiously. When they finally pull over after the chase concludes, the man proposes to the woman with a ring. As she takes a moment to react, he tells her that they’ve already taken their ‘pheras’ (wedding vows) around the volcanic mountain.

The song Mere Sapno ki Rani connects back to Mahindra’s SUV heritage. The original song had Rajesh Khanna wooing Sharmila Tagore in a Mahindra 4x4 vehicle. Even the song brings a touch of inclusivity. Unlike the original, this rendition also has a female voice, sung by Anushka Manchanda.

Namah Chawla, Agra

Sabhyata’s Diwali campaign #RedefiningCelebration 

While there is no dearth of content-led ads that are released during the festive season, especially Diwali, some of the stories in these ads linger in the mind of the audiences longer.

Produced by ‘p से picture,’ Sabhyata’s Diwali campaign was one such story which pointed us to the harsh reality of the corporate world because of which many women suffer, even today.

The casting of acclaimed actors like Sheeba Chaddha and Ayesha Kaduskar and the peaceful pace at which the story unfolds instantly capture the viewer’s interest. The ad highlights all the questions that interviewers tend to ask women applicants during an interview that has nothing to do with her professional accomplishments.

Elements like the hustle around the office, the candidate’s anxiety that reflects on her face, and the minutely detailed contents of the offer letter imply the amount of effort that went into the execution of the campaign. The background score, the non-intrusive brand placement and the message delivery all come together seamlessly in this ad.

Pooja Yadav, Delhi

CRED ad feat. Ravi Shastri - Play it Different

Fintech company CRED has always grabbed the attention of audiences through its very absurd ads that tend to go viral. Of all of its ad films, ‘Play it Different’, featuring former cricketer and head coach of the Indian men's cricket team, Ravi Shastri playing a caricatured version of himself stood out in 2022.

This ad was first shared on Twitter on the personal handle of Ravi Shastri, not the CRED handle. People took notice and it went viral within a few hours of its launch. The film was produced by EarlyMan Films and music director Karan Malhotra composed the music for the film.

Shastri has been a cricketer, coach and commentator and with this ad film the former Indian all-rounder shows the audience that he is not only the life of the party, but the party follows him wherever he goes.

From giving the perfect team talk to the coolest conversation starters and icebreakers, the ad shows Shastri having a gala time. CRED has tapped Shastri’s love for parties and happy hours into its ad film, which makes the ad unique yet fun.

Shreyas Kulkarni, Mumbai

Spotify On Toh Mazza On

Little things matter, and when you’re able to spot them, that’s when the magic happens. Leo Burnett and Spotify’s 15 ads during the ’22 IPL in multiple languages do this to the T.

What’s that little thing you ask? It is us listening to music while on the outside. From being stuck in traffic to a plane ride to shopping, cutting out the noise is the most enjoyable feeling and the audio streamer’s new ads turn this little nugget into ad gold.

What’s more impressive is how Spotify, with its several ads (2020-21) touting its countless playlists, has effortlessly moved from awareness to consideration and/or conversion stage of the marketing funnel.  

Ubaid Zargar, Delhi

Tata Play, Tata Sky is now Tata Play

For the past decade or so, Tata Sky has produced some of the most comically popular ad commercials, reeling in top celebrities such as Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, and Darsheel Safary.

The year 2022 saw the brand initiate a rebranding campaign that introduced its new name, Tata Play, onboarding the celebrity couple Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor and R Madhavan and Priyamani in the south to promote the new identity.

The DTH operator launched a series of ad commercials featuring Saifeena, with Saif Ali Khan donning a salesman avatar Ganpat, while Kareena Kapoor assumed the role of a buyer, Kanta. Although the roles that the couple have adopted are so atypical of their real-life personas, the chemistry between the Nawab couple is still unmatched.

Through the constant bickering between Kanta, who’s out to buy Tata Sky, and Ganpat, who’s trying to explain to her How Tata Sky has now become Tata Play, the brand communication has employed humour adequately to cement the new identity in the minds of its audience.

With the celebrity couple’s previous tie-up with Airtel DTH services, the collaboration raised a few eyebrows initially. But, given the popularity of the campaign, it is safe to conclude that the audiences have accommodated the new association rather congenially. Ogilvy India in association with erstwhile Tata Sky hit the nail on its head with this one.

Venkata Susmita Biswas, Mumbai 

Tanishq, Marriage Conversations (2022)

Tanishq has made it a habit to be the zeitgeist of our times. 

Be it Lowe Lintas and Gauri Shinde’s 2013 Remarriage ad or the most recent series of ads titled Marriage Conversations from newly-formed agency Talented, the brand continues to tell stories about relationships in the modern context. 

In 2021, the brand nudged brides and grooms to have the hard conversations that make the marriage, not the wedding. In the 2022 edition of the campaign, the brand talks about financial planning and supporting ageing parents — conversations important to planning a life together.   

The ads exude warmth and give viewers that extra dose of courage to have these conversations with their partners. As women assert their place in society and their marriages, Tanishq’s ads gently hint at all the intimate conversations that couples need to have before taking the plunge and making a life-altering decision. 

Full marks to Tanishq and Talented for recognising the subjects that have a profound impact on a married couple’s life together.   

Yash Bhatia, Delhi 

Tinder, We Need To Talk

In a country like India, where sex-related topics are still taboo, the online dating app Tinder came up with a unique idea to demonstrate that talking about consent is important in the modern world. Tinder’s We Need To Talk campaign was a short film directed by Sonam Nair and conceptualised in collaboration with The Script Room.

While releasing the campaign, the company revealed statistics to show how people do not know how to give, ask or withdraw consent. Data from its survey showed that more than 65% of the people surveyed don’t know how to give consent, ask for it, or withdraw consent when dating someone.

And out of that, 50% of people don’t know what to do if their consent is violated. This data showed that talking about consent is crucial for this generation. That is why Tinder’s We Need to Talk is my favourite ad of the year, as talking about how others feel can make our country more empathetic.

I also liked the statement, “Anything less than Yes is a No.” It's so refreshing to see that Tinder has addressed this subject in such a heartwarming way to highlight that Millennials and Gen-Z viewers need to understand the importance of ‘yes’ in any relationship.

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