What caught my eye yesterday was the McDowell’s ad starring our cricketer of the year Mr Mahender Singh Dhoni. Coming from United Breweries, which I learnt a few days back, is a far smaller company by profit than its rival Seagram’s in India, the TVC is a bold take on Seagram’s Royal Stag which has for long played on the theme of Make it Large starring Saif Ali Khan. Oozing sophistication with the Pataudi Jr the ad has struck chords with whisky drinkers across the country and has been able to do larger numbers courtesy widespread campaigns (Seagram’s also happens to be one of the largest spenders on marketing in India).
The Dhoni ad takes a dig on Make it Large theme. I tried to YouTube the ad but could not find it (UB sucks at social media marketing/optimization). From what I remember, it is an advert about a young man who manufactures a product in his father’s factory a bit large, with the reminiscent theme of Make it Large in the background. Upon failure, Dhoni appears on the screen, preaching ‘make it different, don’t make it large’. For those who have seen the Seagram’s advert, will immediately find a connect with the Seagam’s make it large TVC.
Hard drinks or liquor companies have so forth stayed away from countering adverts which is much prevalent in the soft drinks sector (Pepsi-Cola for instance). This is in my memory the first time that a liquor company (remember its all surrogate advertising) has taken on a bigger liquor giant, and this potentially can become a larger war if Seagram’s agency Oglivy’s creative abilities are tested. Given Seagram’s play rules and Ogilvy’s clean & creative antics, it’s unlikely that Seagram’s would respond in the same vein, but it would be very interesting to see how they respond McDowell’s especially with man of the moment Dhoni endorsing it. I can’t blame Dhoni for this unethical act because he is just a paid actor and nothing else.
Another TVC that caught my eye this week was Mahindra’s Verito ad. Given the fact that I have been very observational in the past year or two about the auto sector, the new Verito ad is quite refreshing. The first campaign of a brand is very crucial to its positing. I can’t disclose the brand name here, but I have witnessed a brand manager of an auto brand struggle with positioning of his brand after numerous directionless campaigns, perhaps leading to a confused positioning internally as well.
Verito has perhaps taken some inspiration from Raymond by going with the ‘Verito Man’. I am expecting a few more ads on this line from Mahindra Verito. If I come to dissecting the TVC, I believe the script is quite humorous, Shergill works perfect to plan as an underplayed and underrated actor, the execution is brilliant, even if music could have been better and novel (I think I have heard that kind of background score many a times in many car ads). This advert was easily spotted on YouTube, just reinstating the fact how aggressive Mahindra has been with social media and caught up well with the Youth.
I am all for indigenous car brands. Liquor brands too, if they are more ethical and innovative than reactive and stupid!