An advertising campaign which left an impact on me

Shortlisted Entry #9
Written By Urvish Mehta 28/09/2017
Every ad-man will nod in unison to the fact that restraints for them are unavoidable ogres which come in all possible shapes and sizes. Be it restraints pertaining to budget, length, characters, artistic license, time slots or locations - their inevitability is often assumed than expressly communicated. The only thing which is unbounded for an ad-man is his creativity and intuition. A story needs to be delivered on a platter within the boundaries of restraints. Restraints have tangible form; it often takes a very high quantum of creativity to navigate through them without the message getting distorted. It is akin to a chef given limited ingredients and asked to please the taste buds; his art, at the end, becomes the most important ingredient. In the same vein, restraints, in the advertising world, act as exploration- enablers more than restriction-imposers.

In such a backdrop, uni-themed campaigns present unique challenges of their own. Every advertisement under a campaign needs to advocate the same message, though the content may differ. The theme, thus becomes a given and the first boundary is set. If the theme isn't staged up well, the campaign goes for a toss.

I particularly am in awe of Bajaj Discover's campaign in the late 2009. Though 2009 seems like a decade ago, the campaign still seems relevant. That's how good campaigns are – timeless in duration and resonant in their approach. 
               
Now how do you advertise 100 CC motor bikes in the Indian setting? It is a no-brainer to realize that a motor bike, in an Indian context, is more than a mere vehicle. It is a prized possession of a middle-class family, often treated akin to a family member. Motor bike rides, are their escapade from the banal everyday mundane. Memories often manifest around these joy-rides. The motor-bike, in more ways than one, acts as a facilitator of their life!
 
Mileage is the topmost checkbox a potential buyer ticks before finalizing which 100 CC bike he will zero down upon. Maruti Suzuki’s ‘Kitna deti hai?’ campaign is still afresh in our minds. The plot before Bajaj Discover was crystal clear – portray the power of 1 litre petrol, both in terms of distance covered and the explorations undertaken. The setting they chose was a masterpiece – advertise places which are within a periphery of 100 metres from a major town or city, that is, the places which require less than a litre of petrol on Bajaj Discover to travel.
 
One of the most neatly crafted advertisements of this campaign was the one involving a husband and wife going on an excursion to Shani Shingnapur, a quaint little village of religious importance about 100 kilometres away from Aurangabad. The wife is shown to be very careful, vigilant, cautious and possessive of her belongings (something which we can easily relate to – that’s how we all are!). She double-checks whether their house has been properly locked before they set upon their journey to Shani Shingnapur on their Bajaj Discover bike. On their ride, she flips her purse to her left when they halt on a railway crossing and see some not-so-suspicious characters waiting on her right. When they take a break on the humble countryside tea-stall, she intuitively snatches her husband’s helmet from the sight of the playing children near their parked bike and angrily hands it over to her husband to keep it in his custody and not ‘carelessly’ leave it on the bike for anyone to run away with it! And then, comes the most important phase of the advertisement – when they reach Shani Shingnapur and ask for the directions to the temple. Remember, this is a pre-Google-Maps-era where one had to rely on the localites for directions! The wife asks directions to the temple to a localite and what she sees is absolutely a bolt from the blue for her – no house in the village has doors; forget a locking mechanism. What she witnesses is in total contrast to her over-possessive nature – the villagers rely on a divine spirit to safeguard their belongings. Locks are unheard of in this little part of India. There is no fear of being robbed. The wife learns a lesson and the husband has a wry smile on his face – almost as if the purpose of the journey was to develop a carefree insight in his loving wife! And voila, the wife snatches away the helmet from her husband and places it on the parked bike – almost an antithesis to what happened 30 seconds earlier. A lesson learnt, and more importantly, a beautiful message delivered!
The other advertisements in this campaign work upon a central theme of exploration of interesting places in India on a bike. A village on the outskirts of Mangalore where only Sanskrit is spoken till date, a place known for its magnetic properties in Ladakh, a village known as ‘India’s Africa’ near Junagadh are the other places covered by this theme. All the advertisements have an impeccable background score that keeps you glued and intrigued. Phrases like ‘In India, one litre of petrol can take you back by 3500 years’, ‘It is only in India that one litre of petrol can take you to a foreign land’ are absolute masterstrokes.
India has always been a subject ripe for literary exploitation and mileage of motor-vehicles has always been a point of discussion. Interlinking and connecting these two facets was really a job well done and wondrously executed by Bajaj Discover. In a minute of advertisement, the most important features are conveyed through the agency of a story cornered around a place.
 
Discovery through travel is ancient folklore. It cannot be a mere co-incidence that ‘Discover’ is an exquisitely well-placed pun here.
 
We had been taught that distances are measured in kilometres and miles. We later learnt that distances are measured in ‘minutes’ in India (Is it unusual to hear – that place is 20 minutes away from here?). Courtesy Bajaj Discover’s advertisements, we now came to terms with the fact that distances are measured in litres of petrol – that place is only a litre of petrol away! Take a bow, Bajaj Discover!

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The serene beauty of nature, the calm of the lake, company of loved ones and a Sagar Gaire sandwich in hand, there is nothing more a true Bhopali can ask for. Sagar Gaire also known as Cycle Soup Wala is the story of a man, his hard-work, determination and thrive for success. Dolraj Gaire is surely
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