afaqs! news bureau

How Schbang roped in Jehan Daruwala for Horlicks despite his unavailability

As a last-minute solution, the agency used face-swapping technology to get the film made.

Just a few weeks ago, there were discussions about how technology and AI can uncover loads of possibilities for the advertising and marketing industries. We have had several case studies from international markets where brands are using AI-generated influencers to drive narratives.

However, India being the land of ‘jugaad’ we also had a similar example a few days ago.

Schbang, managed to rope in Indian racing driver Jehan Daruvala despite him being unavailable on the film shoot days. The agency used a face-swapping technology to recreate Daruwala’s face in the campaign.

Speaking about the campaign and what went behind the scenes, Abhimanyu Balasubramanyam, producer and creative director at Schbang says, the campaign’s intent was to let the parents know the importance of children’s curiosity and why they should let it play out.

“During our research for the campaign, racing came out as one of the most aspiring career opportunities among the young generation. So Jehan Daruwala came up as the obvious name to be associated with the campaign.”

“However, we learnt of his unavailability but were able to fix it with a last-minute solution,” says the creative director.

Balasubramanyam further explains that because the process is not the norm yet, it required getting a lot of permissions from Daruwala as well as the brand. He adds that the brand (Horlicks) also took some time to figure out the solution however, were finally on board.

“We found a photographer who used to be an ex-employee who could go to London and just take photos of Jehan Daruwala. We then used these photos to morph and do a green screen shoot with a body double  (actor) and interchanged the faces. So it wasn’t planned from the get-go but we figured it out as a quick solution. The film was produced by Schbang’s in-house production house and we tied up with famous studios for this.”

Responsible use of technology

Balasubramanyam opines that while such technology is a great solution, nothing can replace the human talent and the elements a personality gets in the process of filmmaking.

“For example, when SRK features in ads, it is his personality and aura that shines through and not just his face. It all depends on how you want to use technology,” he explains.

He further called for the industry to use any kind of technology with a lot of responsibility to avoid exploiting celebrities and audiences.

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