Yeh Dil Maange no more 1
Long long ago, when I was a kid… (now that I have started with that dramatic bestseller line, I can continue). Long long ago, when I was a kid, I saw an ad on TV for a soft drink. That ad was for Pepsi (Yeh dil maange more – AHA days). It starred some new faces and some not so new. The new faces attained great heights. It won’t be an exaggeration to state that the great heights were achieved *because* of the ad. It starred raging heartthrob Aamir Khan, along with upcoming models Aishwarya Rai and Mahima Chaudhry. While Mahima was shown as a common girl next door (she definitely had potential for looking much more than the plain jane that she did), Aishwarya Rai was shown as this sizzling siren who asked “weak in the knees and heart going flip flop” Aamir for a Pepsi, right when he had risked limb and life for a bottle of the soft drink. That ad catapulted Aishwarya Rai into the top of the charts and even before the Miss India title she had a major fan following who believed that she would win the crown that year. This ad also found a lot of mention as a landmark of sorts in the ad world. All that was then.
Lots of years later, when I was not a kid anymore, I saw another ad on TV. Again, it was for a soft drink but a rival one – Coke. And it was being endorsed by this very couple mentioned in the previous ad – Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai. When I saw that ad for the first time, I saw it from somewhere in the middle. I saw that both Ash and Aamir were looking for each other with a bottle of coke in their hands and when they did meet, they looked at the soft drink bottles and at each other like longlost friends. It all gave me the impression that it’s a sequel of the landmark pepsi ad and somehow after having bumped into each other so many years later, both realised that their tastes still match and that they both prefer a “better” drink now. I found that idea pretty interesting and thought that it was pretty innovative for the agency to have made use of the fact that they were endorsing a rival product earlier (though I was not very sure if they can legally do that). But to my dismay my bubble soon burst and I realised that the ad was an insult on the name of creativity as it just showed that Ash/Aamir were chatting on some website and choose a bottle of coke as their means of recognising each other. Utterly dumb.
But this isn’t all. For some reason, soft drink ads, instead of outdoing each other in terms of creativity are outdoing each other in the “create the worst ad” department. I simply abhor the ad where Amitabh Bachhan plays a rustic boatman. It just doesn’t appeal to my senses. But then all AB ads are getting quite irritating. Just taken the sheen off him. Then there are these new ads that have recently started being aired. One has Shah Rukh Khan drinking what else but Pepsi. But the sickening part is that the ad has some horrible animation which shows the bellybutton of some females as lips (ugh) with the lips singing some stupid song which goes ‘oye hoye bubbly’. The idea is that all objects around the soft drink somehow become ‘animated’ and start hitting on bubbly – the soft drink! These myriad objects include the burger that SRK is about to gobble, SRK’s shirt pocket etc. and the idea is that ‘bubbly’ is depicted like a female with all ‘objects’ in the universe trying to flirt with it! For heaven’s sake, I wouldn’t want to drink a soft drink like that – pesticides or no pesticides! Then Aamir Khan has gone one step ahead and become Manno Bhabhi! This ad of his has a double role with him playing a dumb NRI and also Manno Bhabhi at the same time. Manno Bhabhi sets the NRI’s nakhras right with some silly desi cookery dialogues like ‘tadka lagana’ and ‘chhaunkh lagana’ etc. Though Manno Bhabhi doesn’t look very bad to look at (much better than the concept of ‘bubbly’), it fails to promote a soft drink and promotes Manno Bhabhi instead. Sadly endorsing a product is no longer equivalent to vouching for it. It’s just become equivalent to making a fool of oneself on national TV.