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Ad Mad World: Companies move beyond tech,focus on emotion and human connect

This year,commercials pushed forward creative boundaries,and narrated heartfelt stories.

Written by Kevin Lobo | December 26, 2013 2:41:16 am

With the economy struggling to find firm ground,abstinence from all things capitalistic has been the motto of the year. Brands poised between recession and the green shoots of recovery forced their agencies to deliver think out of the box. While many ads ended up trying too hard,the gems this year have been good enough to share on Facebook walls and Twitter feeds,causing them to go viral. Josy Paul,Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of advertising agency BBDO,says,“The difference in advertising this year has been social media. There are now conversations happening with brands directly and the ads have helped this happen. This will

continue to be important in the next year.”

Old Spice


The idea to relaunch Old Spice was to tap into two generations — people who used Old Spice in the ’80s and those who were kids at the time and watched their elders use it. Using India’s first male supermodel Milind Soman’s mature and “Mantastic” looks,this campaign managed instant “virality”. When the shirtless Soman hardsells masculinity in a bottle of Old Spice,a lot of viewers,especially of the female persuasion,were impressed. V Sunil,Executive Creative Director of Wyde+Kennedy,says,“I wanted to have Milind Soman even before we had fully formed the idea for the TVC. When you think about it there are no real good-looking ‘men’,most of them are chocolate boys.”

Google Reunion

Ogilvy & Mather

All the ad men we spoke to mentioned the Google Reunion campaign as one of the most powerful ones of 2013. In the ad,two old friends,separated by Partition,meet again,powered by Google. The scriptwriter for the ad,Sukesh Kumar Nayak of Ogilvy & Mather,says,“People reach out for Google when they want to find out something they don’t know. We wanted to dig deeper,and make the connection between real life and Google magical.” This magic has given the ad more than 10 million views on YouTube.

GE Cancer Diagnostic Scanner


This has been a year of socially aware advertising,” says Josy Paul. GE’s branding stresses on adding a human connect with machines,and their ad for the Diagnostic Scanner stretches this concept further. If cancer does not discriminate and affects everyone — rich or poor,young or old — GE’s unprejudiced technology paves the road to hope. Though this ad didn’t go viral,the message of hope was too good for us not to add it to our Top 5.

Tanishq remarriage

Lowe Lintas

In the aftermath of the Delhi gang rape,2013 became the year when women’s issues found a voice — from the social media to the mainstream. When National Creative Director Arun Iyer and his team at Lowe Lintas began to brainstorm for Tanishq’s new collection,they realised they needed to do something bold. Their ad shows a dusky woman getting remarried with all the frills of Indian weddings,including the saat pheras,and with her little daughter among the guests. The woman realises that she has made the right choice when her new husband reaches out to her daughter in a unique way. The ad,reflecting a new level of gender equality,went viral within days and tapped into India’s larger conversation.

IDBI Bank – Friendship Ogilvy & Mather

Children are a common trope used by advertisers to attract eyeballs and mindspace,but this one by IDBI

gets it right. It taps into nostalgia and is among the shortest ads we have featured on this list. In its four spots,the ads feature different children,who are friends because one of them has stood up for the other through a tough time. Warm and fuzzy,it reminds us of our earliest friendships.

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