Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Cadbury's girl dances on...

I ate a chocolate today. Cadbury's obviously. Plain and simple Milk chocolate, no fuss. As I savoured it, I recalled the associated old TV commercials and all those childhood memories flooded me.
An old man and his wife walk down the road as a football comes bounding their way. Suddenly the man, not quite fitting his demeanour and stature, performs a little jig and finally gives a ball a solid kick. As the ball disappears skywards, he looks back at his wife admiring him. Or the one where a well-dressed corporate-looking manager drops a piece of chocolate on the road. Then he picks it up, hopes that nobody is looking, and proceeds to eat it.
Or the
young girl desperately wanting to eat a chocolate but is hampered by mehndi on both hands. We all know what happens after that.
And maybe the best of all. A sprightly girl throws all protocol aside and rushes out to the cricket field, breaking out into a celebration of dance; even as the batsman blushes and hides his face... What moments!
Compare these with the series of flops that we have encountered in the later years. Pappu paas ho gaya,
Palanpur ki Radha and all that. Not to mention the one where Bacchan's 'ghost' enters a girls body.
Cadbury's ads have just kept
going from bad to worse after those initial years.
So I sat thinking as to what made those ads so memorable? The chocolate was over, so there was little else to do. Plus, as Wikipedia tells me, chocolate has theobromine, a mood enhancer. So what was it? Was it the jingle, the visuals, or the actual words? Yes, I think their core lay in the copy..
Remember the words? They said "कुछ ख़ास है
हम सभी में, कुछ बात है हम सभी में. ख़ास है, बात है, स्वाद है. क्या स्वाद है ज़िन्दगी का." Wow. So the words exactly mirrored how we felt when eating a chocolate? I mean, we did feel special and pampered. I surely felt so when I got to eat one FULL chocolate without having to share it with my brothers or the neighbour। (This was when I earned my first salary।)
So they
said to us, "kuchh baat hai hum sabhi mein." There is something special, something nice in everyone. Prince or a Pauper, but there is always something special in each one of us. Yesssss! The ad appealed to our sense of identity and probably ignited some deep existential questions. Who am I? What is the meaning of life?
You know what. I am just kidding, really. I just made this all up. All that I have written by way of analysis is pure nonsense. Poppycock. Cock and bull. Bull-whatever. And anything else you might want to call it.
Those old ads were simply good. Rather, simple AND good. Which brings me to a point, and now I am serious. No kidding, no existential psycho-babble here. Without exception, everytime the topic between friends veers towards old ads, this is ALWAYS the opinion. Cadbury's old ads were better than the later ones. Now if EVERYONE has no doubt about this, then have Cadbury's (along with their ad agency) gone deaf and blind?
Thank your stars that the chocolates have remained the same. Except the price.
So be it. Go eat one today. And answer the existential question. As the chocolate melts in your mouth, do you feel like the dancing girl or like the one who acquired Bacchan's voice?
And just in case you are still in doubt, here are some old memories. Enjoy!

Girl dancing - cricket ad

Girl with mehndi

Kya swaad hai!


Vibhuti B said...

I remember those ads' were discussed in forums at college too. Listed as a 'Good Ad' and a great advertising campaign in an Ad' Mag called A&M..You have most rightly said that the quality of their campaigns has indeed deteriorated lately...Interesting subject for discussion!
thanks you just revived my memories of a field that I truly loved but have sadly drifted away from!
ENjoyed your blogspot..really!

Asif said...

I simply loved those ads and they are still fresh in my mind (why will not they be? After all I used to love those ads and used to sing the song whenever the ad came up) and I can get my mood enhanced even without eating the chocolates just by viewing the ad :)
I wonder why the ad agency people can’t realize it when we all know the difference between the good old ads and these new ones. May be they are thinking that such old ads are so sweet and mood enhancers that people may not feel the need to eat the chocolates after watching them ;)…Did they really reduce the quality of the ads knowingly for such a reason ? :P

Pushkaraj said...

@ Susan, Vibhuti, Pratz and Asif - Thanks! Asif's comment gave me another line of thought. None of the old ads had any big stars. No celebrity endorsement. All simple people, the living-next-door types. As soon as Bacchan appeared on the scene, I think the celebrity became the focus rather than the product.

Swati said...

wonder what happens now to cadbury advertising post the KRAFT takeover! and good ads is all about the content..and the emotion that the viewer goes and buys the product. The current ads are the way they are because advertisers are desparately trying to reach the vastly differentiated audience through a single communication - so they are confused if they want to talk to the A,B or Rural audience. SO radha the cow is for rural (does it make them by the product?), 'aaj pehali tareekh hai" - for the middle class and Amitabh entering a girls body - i give up on trying to identify who it is meant for?

I still think aaj pehali tareekh hai is a good line - as I remember I would buy some sweet for my daughter on my salary day - and I think it still works for the middle class - but then the visualisation??? it sure lost out there.

And this is the case not just with Cadbury's, but most of the other old ads.

Pushkaraj said...

@ Swati - Now that's a more balanced view! Cadbury's would probably send you a gift hamper if they read your comment.
On the topic of target audience, I can understand the ad-maker's predicament of wanting to lure 100 million people with one single communication. Specifically for Cadbury's case, the cow ad may have appealed to rural, but it surely put off urban viewers like me. Unless they were already sure that urban people would continue to eat chocolates being hooked to the product already, ads or no ads. On that front, they were right. I still eat chocolates, don't I? Regardless of Radha and Pappu.

Meethi Imli said...

oh yeah!!!!! I love those days... miss them a lot :( Thanks Pushkaraj for sharing these.. even i had put most of them on my Orkut profile as well

Cameos of Life said...

While researching for my post on advertisement, I stumbled upon this nice post on ads. Though we have some good ads today,overall quality has deteriorated a bit.
It's nice to remember those old ads and posts such as these help in reviving those memories.