Guest column: Ads that didn't work!

The advertising sector is expected to be a sophisticated and creative one. Creative heads spend hours ensuring the advertising is ‘done right’. Yet, year after year, we come across ads that fail to make any mark and instead end up being called as dunce.

These ads lack engaging storytelling, creativity and in most cases are poorly executed with actors overdoing the act.

The small and local brands deliver such howlers as they only have a small amount to spare on advertising and limited creative counsel. But at times we come across deep-pocketed household name that create bad advertisements.

If it all becomes too much to bear, please cheer yourself up with our listicle on best animated ads in India and ads that rapped with consumers.

Inspiration exists at both ends of the creative scale.The higher end has fewer options to engage with. So, here are five gems according to Publicis India head of creative Nitin Pradhan who was talking to's Santosh Jangid.


Bangur Cement – Godzilla.

You’ve got to give it to this one for the sheer confidence and nerve with which it attacked the air waves.

The plot is to die for and the CG scary. Godzilla rises from the shallows of the Arabian Sea and brings down our very own Bandra Worli sea link only to bang its head and lose its tail (you read that right) to a skyscraper. A white-bearded foreigner and a few flying birds usher in a rainbow.

I’m sure they thought of it on the way to the shoot.

JK Super Cement

It has graced Indian Advertising’s Hall of Fame for long now. A skimpily clad girl rises from the sea and threateningly walks towards us before breaking into a smile. A deep voice in the background interprets the metaphor, “Vishwaas hai. Isme kuchh khaas hai.” Subtle!

Pan Bahar

Pierce Brosnan walks into a casting coup and trips. An idea which will be remembered for eons, for reasons unintended.

When in doubt cast a white man. When in more doubt cast a famous white man. And it will work. It did. And so did many Bhojpuri films.

Micromax  - Nuts, Guts, Glory.

The white man fascination continues and gets scaled up. There are many white men. And women. Quite sure the idea was to appeal to the ‘youth’.

The brand attempts to climb several rungs of the ‘aspirational’ ladder. Taking potshots at an icnoic fruit-logo brand definitely needs guts.

Not sure why they had to replace this piece so soon, then. Maybe, the boring small towners preferred reality.

MDH Spices – Flight of Taste

It’s a flight full of Indians. With a pinch of white skin added to taste. Words like ‘Khushbu’, ‘Swaad’, ‘Taste’ and the three magical letters are thrown in generously in a modest attempt to self-garland the brand multiple times along with its veteran creator. Life saving spices are dropped on to flavour starved regions of the world along with parachutes. Imagination takes a jump without one.

public://Nitin Pradhan.jpg

The observations made in this piece by Nitin Pradhan, in the pix, are with no malice at heart or high-handedness in the head against any individual or organisation. There’s always a good reason behind every piece of not-so-good work. And, how can one judge good from bad when one has been a partner in crime, some time or the other. Good sense prevails only when we look back and analyse. May be, this is that moment, according to Pradhan. However, may not subscribe to his personal views expressed here.


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