Observing,appreciating and even condemning TV ads is a trait I inherited from Dad. He would go "hey..athu nalla ad ila ...antha actress apdi solluvale.." ("hey thats a good ad..you know that actress says that...") the moment he saw his favorite ad of the season. His face would lighten up and he would try so diligently to mimic the actor/actress's histrionics from the ad to such an extent that we all would say "yeah yeah ..we get it....now stop it please". I have had my fair share of ad-observing too. Its just sad that I got no one here to share my ramblings with - Vijay's eyes are forced upon the Indian TV channels only because of me and expecting him to join this ad-discussion would be asking a bit too much of life.
It feels nice to call myself a 90s person.Because it is this generation that saw a good deal of the old India with Sunday Mahabharatha ,2 minutes Maggi noodles and Samosa-Chaat and also experienced the transforming India with Indian Idol show (my lack of knowledge of latest indian TV shows to be excused), Cup noodles and Pizza-burger and what not mexicano-italiano food. The concept and quality of the Indian ads have also seen a wave of change, and in the process, suffered much too.
In my opinion, there are four kinds of ads based on the level of entertainment and enlightenment they provide:
Type1: Highly entertaining.Amazing concept.Totally relates to the lay man attitude & life. Rare to find.
Example: Bank ads, Insurance ads,Ads with kids (well..only some of them)
Type 2 : Great visuals,stellar cast,weak or no concept.
Example :ads of food & beverage,automobiles
Type 3: Good concept, visual appeal is a rarity
Example: ads of mobile networks & TV services
Type 4: Stupid concept. Stupid everything.Ubiquitous.
Example: Cosmetics (need I say more?)
In those days,well the days when I was in school ...the ads belonged more to type 2 or 3 and sometimes even to 1. We used to enjoy the ads even if it didn't make us buy the product. Like the Dhara oil ad or the Cadbury ad. These ads had life,had passion and that made them enjoyable. I hardly see these kind of ads today.
This ad for example is about the Lifeboy Handwash that is supposed to kill germs in 10 seconds:
It starts off well - the school set up-lunch break-kids hungrily gaping at their boxes etc. But then the concept - a big Zero! None of the kids look cute or act cute.And burger in an indian kid's lunch box?! Really?? That sounds blasphemous to me. And I don't understand why the kids laugh for "Un soap enna slow ah..?" Its not remotely funny to me. The latest Saina Nehwal oil ad is another big disappointment. The ad was relayed in parts. The first trailer-like part created quite a stir (at least in me, I wanted to know more about it) and then when she says "This oil is fat free..I can eat how much ever I want.." it just made me bang my head on my stove.
Then these Horlicks,Complan and Boost ads. Isn't it high time they changed their concept? Still the same adangapidari kids fussing over the food, the boy who doesn't grow taller, the worried mom and the over-enthusiastic know-it-all kids - same old, same old. As if Complan or Horlicks is the elixir of life and all they say is 'ithil irukum ootachathu ungal kozhandaigalai valaravaikum.." ("the nutrients in this drink will help your children grow") - machis, its a tag line gone stale!
The best-ly worst of all is (here I come!!) the cosmetics' ad. Look at this - summarizes what I feel about such ads. And we indians have no business talking about racism!
If I can recall one good ad in the recent times, it is the BRU coffee ad. Couldn't find it in Youtube. Simple yet very strong concept- Daughter-in-law (DIL) uses the coffee powder to make rendavadhu decoction (decoction made out of already used coffee powder - yes!) and Mom-in-law is worried the guests will find out. DIL smiles and says "You never found out..!". And the guests never really find out and all of them enjoy the coffee!
What an epic win! Such an ad would make my Mom or Paati run to the stores and get BRU! This is something that happens in every Indian household - women reusing coffee powder twice or thrice a day. And that is why Paati's coffee tastes best only in the morning.Anyway coming back to the topic, the ad's concept is thoroughy credible and thats the USP of it.
That reminds me folks - there is a Type 0 ad i.e. FREE announcement ad.
Example: "Get this soap, you get this beauty cream free!!!" OR "Buy this sambar powder, you get Rs 15 worth rasam powder free!!!"
This is probably the best of all types of ads -minimal investment,no star cast,easy to shoot,no concept required and this is the one that actually sells stuff!