Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bajrangi and the case for "brand security"

Have you watched the new television ad for Center Fresh gum? The ad shows a bank being robbed. When the thief takes off, the staff starts screaming for security. To their surprise, the thief runs back in. He is the security guard, Bajrangi (see below).

I thought the ad by O&M was funny, clever, and so typical of Center Fresh. I was surprised, therefore, to read the comments by advertising expert Prathap Suthan in Mint. Suthan, who features regularly in the newspaper's Spot Light column, says if he had seen this film years ago, he would have "fallen down, broken my crown and come tumbling after".

He continues:

The production’s all right. The cast’s all right. And the acting, direction, grading, lighting and music is at par. It made me smile. But that was it. It didn’t make me ooze laughter. And it didn’t make me watch it online till I got sick.

And then he makes an important point, a point that should be noted by all those aspiring to an ad career:

I personally have an issue with crime as a brand core. Especially when crime is north-bound. Kidnappings. Heists. Scams. At a deeper level, it corrodes the brand from inside. Innocent fun is one thing. Making crass cool is arsenic. Of course, I’m not the defined target audience. But I happen to be more than a moron who watches television.

Suthan also elaborates on whether this particular strategy works for the brand and he explains how a brand can stand out in such a crowded segment. Read his views here.


  1. I agree partly with what he's saying. Yes, when you come to think about it, even a hard boiled sweet can keep your mouth shut. And he's right about the fact that the earlier films were edgier. But I don't agree with the idea that using crime as a theme corrodes the brand. The TG today is a little different; if it is funny, it is funny. They wouldn't bother about thinking about the use of crime as the theme.

  2. This ad, when I first saw it, hardly evoked a response. Yes I was curious to see where it would go but the result was severely disappointing. And there I agree with what he says. Maybe it's fatigue or maybe it's an overuse of this particular brand of humour, but until I saw the brand name at the end, it could have been an ad for any of the other chewing gum/logenze brands.

    Crime itself, as a theme, is perfectly acceptable to me, provided it is used appropriately. In this case, I feel it is script-funny rather than being wit-funny where Mentos, for me, wins hands-down. Let the audience laugh by itself. Don't try to force it out of him. And then, whether the theme be crime or aliens, the brand still wins at the end of the day.


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