Shreyas Kulkarni

Happydent shines a light on an issue that matters…

… While retaining the sense of humour we’ve come to expect from it.

“I think it’s a relatable ad…,” said Prasoon Joshi, CEO and CCO, McCann Worldgroup India, and chairman, McCann Asia Pacific.

He is referring to the newest ad from Happydent, a sugar-free coated bubble gum for healthy and bright teeth. The ad shines a spotlight on an issue Indian women have faced numerous times on a (public transport) bus.

The ad features a woman, who tells two men that they’re sitting in the ‘Ladies Seat’ and it is written right about their heads. But the men, stubborn as they are, throw their weight, refuse to budge and remark, “Kahaan likha hai? Hame to nahin dikh raha…”

Two young boys, who’re seeing this scene play out, decide to set things straight… they pop a few Happydents and smile at the men… thanks to the gum, the ‘spotlight’ is now on their teeth and the ‘stubborn’ men can see ‘Ladies Only’ written above their seats.

Filmmaker Prakash Varma directed the 45-second ad, Kapil Batra, executive creative director, McCann Worldgroup, helmed the creative responsibilities, and Nirvana Films was the production house behind it.

The YouTube description of the ad reads, “Sometimes, a smile is all it takes to do something good! Dikha Battissi, Kar Baat Achhi Si.”

Pay close attention to the tune that plays in the background and it goes, “Laaton ke bhoot jab kaboon na aaye, thodi si light maaro saachi so…” It’s like a classic Happydent ad that one has watched over the years.

Prasoon Joshi
Prasoon Joshi

It is not just the slapstick humour, but the charm too, which is very much part of Happydent, remarked Joshi. There are hyperboles as well. Joshi went on to say that the society, right now, is going through socially responsible and consciousness ads…

So, while one leg of Happydent is the fun part, “we felt the other leg of communication should be about how we can link it to social life… Putting ‘prakash’ on issues… throwing a shaft of light is important…”

It was Joshi who helped Perfetti Van Melle India, a leading confectionery and gum company, to launch Happydent in India. He’s also the force behind the now legendary Happdent ad called ‘The Palace’, which The Gunn Report says is among the 20 best ads of the century.

And while the ambitions of the brand at the start weren’t too broad, and one could find Happydent at chemist shops… Joshi recalled telling the then marketing director Sameer Suneja (he’s now the global CEO of Perfetti Van Melle) that one day, you will see Happydent selling everywhere…

“We broadened the horizon of the brand, proactively shot and developed the ads and told the client this should be the language… We tested the ads and felt it appealed to the consumers and that’s when we took this brand language,” revealed Joshi.

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