Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Ad metre: Aegon Religare's #NothingWillHappen breathes new life in advertising, Pepsi disappoints
ET Bureau Mar 25, 2015, 05.01AM IST
No threats of imminent death or fatal diseases. No doom and gloom voiceover telling us to get insurance or else.... And no insurance agents anywhere in sight. But Aegon Religare's latest campaign #NothingWillHappen breathes new life not only into the category but advertising, in general. This series of witty webfilms doesn't dumb down content or writing or indulge in the favorite tropes of the category because it would be the safe thing to do. And that's refreshing in an age of long-format ad sagas hellbent on making viewers bawl or scrawl 'Aww', but rarely succeeding in their self-appointed task. Even the done to death hashtag employed by the agency and advertiser had a job beyond looking like a infuriatingly complicated world jumble. In #NothingWillHappen stand-up comic Atul Khatri tells us why and how he's invincible while performing death defying tasks like scaling a building to reach his flat because he forgot his keys.
There are many reasons for his invincibility like the fact that in India no one ever dies, they go "off" or expire like processed cheese. Nothing will happen to him because of the many elders who wish death on his dushmans ("death forwarding") and transfer their years to him, a wife who fasts for his safety and of course hood ornaments like limes and green chilies. Or feeding the sacred Indian cow and snake, among other things, are all the reasons why nothing will happen, leaving one with more lifelines than Kaun Banega Crorepati. Of course the message is if you aren't immortal though, there's insurance. We're just glad something did happen in advertising this week, month and probably year. It was getting pretty quiet in the halls of advertising's Best.
Due to poor budgets and indifferent scheduling, many of Bollywood's B-movies unwittingly wreak havoc on the concepts of space and time. A court sequence in (if we recall correctly) Dharmendra-starrer Bhooka Sher features the judge, the accused and the lawyer filmed in entirely different locations. The scene is drawn out to the point where one wonders if the director is actually an auteur in disguise, making a deliberate filmic statement loaded with symbolic portent. Something on the lines of: is justice even possible when judge, defendant and lawyer are quite literally in entirely different places?
We are guessing we can safely rule out such motivations in the case of the new Pepsi ad which packs the star power of Virat Kohli, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma. Except none of these celebrities appear in the same frame together.
There's an air of strained artificiality in their interactions with each other, not helped along by CG that looks like a project from the kid who graduated at the bottom of his class in special effects school. All of which could presumably have been saved by some nifty scripting but instead we are given the dubious joys of seeing Kapoor play a burping windbag.
We are shocked that Pepsi which used to dominate cricket world cups with intelligent memorable commercials that people still reference and riff on, come up with an ad in 2015 that looks and plays worse than the campaigns it created two decades ago. Given its air of amateurishness, we've really got to ask: was there nothing official about it?