ADs THAT STUCK
Ho ho ho School time, Action ka School time;
Classroom, homework, punishment, lecture;
Good…good morning teacher!
Fighting, freshing, masti, P.T.;
Baji bell aur ho gayi chhutti;
Ho ho ho School time, Action ka School time!
As soon as we set eyes on the above lines, instead of reading, we sing them in a familiar tune, reminiscent of our childhood days. Everyone aged 20+ remember, recall and relive the simpler days gone by on watching or hearing these words. They, like family photographs and videos, evoke nostalgia of the childhoods spent singing them in engaging rhythms and tunes. These words and the associated tunes, music, products et al have left an indelible impression on our mind. They are interesting works of simple creative endeavour – Advertisements, and have stayed on as reminiscences.
Prof. Philip Kotler, considered as the Father of Marketing Management, says “Advertising is any paid form of non-personal presentation & promotion of ideas, goods or services by an identified sponsor.” In simpler terms, the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary explains advertisement as “a notice, picture or film/movie telling people about a product, job or service; an example of something that shows its good qualities…” The advertisements of the 20th century had all the characteristics of a successful ad – told people about the product while simultaneously showing its good qualities.
While the ads of our parents’ era (50s to 70s), of the 80s and early 90s have come along us into the 21st century riding on simple advertising principles, the story today is completely different. In the present dynamic, globalised and highly competitive market, consumers are faced with numerous products and infinite ads. But, most of those advertisements fail to leave a lasting memory due to many reasons – high competition in every product category, sheer number of ads, consumers’ short attention span, increase in communication mediums, etc. This requires marketers and advertisers to come up with new ideas everyday, change the advertisement copy and thus force the earlier ones to move out of consumers’ minds.
In stark contrast to the current scenario, there were many ads in our childhood that almost everyone had seen, heard and knew about. They were simple in thought but had a visual magnetism in them which established an image. Many of us still remember legendary artistes late Shammi Kapoor and Ashok Kumar in the Pan Parag, pan masala ad, the only time they shared space onscreen. The Lijjat papad rabbit, of then unknown ventriloquist Ramdas Padhye, with a prominent smile and a papad in hand is another example of ingenuous quality of those ads.
The most important characteristic of the post independence – pre-liberalization ads, and perhaps the major reason people still remember them, were the imaginative and original jingles & tunes. They were intelligent, extremely catchy and to the point. The Action School Time shoes jingle mentioned in the beginning, the Vicks jingle “vicks ki goli lo, khich khich door karo...” and many others are proof of the magic they performed.
An ad campaign that was, rather is, extremely popular and has retained relevance with the changing times is that of AMUL Butter. The “Utterly Butterly delicious…AMUL!” jingle is still heard on televisions and seen in print media. AMUL’s jovial, naughty “Utterly, Butterly…” girl in her polka dotted dress and red & white bow still makes heads turn. The campaign came out in 1967 and has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest running campaign that hasn’t changed in theme and style. Sylvester daCunha of Advertising & Sales Promotion was given a free hand by Dr. Kurien for the campaign. Sylvester’s wife came up with the jingle and illustration of the chubby AMUL girl was designed by Eustace Fernandes. The ads are thematic, usually featuring the cute girl in a spoof of current affairs with AMUL butter in her hand making...
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