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As the year is fast coming to an end, and I was working on a report on advertising trends of 2012, I took a quick jog down memory lane to run by my favourite ads this year. TheTanishq ad by Lowe Lintas and Partners for Diwali remains one of my favourite campaigns this year. The ad, for me, has a feeling of daily life and exudes warmth. Targetedat the festive season, it encapsulated the feeling around us to the ‘T’. This festive season did not come with the free flowing festivities Diwali normally brings with it. Even though recession hasn’t hit the Indian shores and has been just confined to a slowdown, people for sure are thinking twice before making a purchase, which is not compulsory and is basic in nature.

Jewellery sale – apurchase of indulgence –usually finds significant rise during this season, on the contrary, this year people were found postponing their purchases for future when things would be more secure.

The aim of the ad was to tell people: ‘Diwali comes only once a year. Do not hold back!’ and it was achieved quite effectively. Starting with the dialogue between the husband and wife, wherein the husband surprises the wife with a gift of jewellery,portrays the current environment perfectly. With the wife reminding her husband of their decision to restrain from expenditure, is unaware that the gift she is wrapping is in reality for her, and the sheer delight and joy on her face when she realises, it is indeed a gift for her. The ad does tell the audience, ‘yes the times financially may not be the most secure, butDiwali is a festival to not hold back’; moreover, gold is an investment and not an expenditure. In the TVC, the decision to not get spendthrift,has been made in the woman’s head, but when she eventually has received the jewellery gift from her husband, the expression of joy on her face has been beautifully captured.

Another ad that brought a smile to my face was the Diwali ad of Cadbury by Contract India which captured the festive spirit with its play on making a foreigner, alien to Indian culture, feel welcome in the office in India. The culture divide melted with a warm hug and a box of Cadbury Celebrations.

The other noteworthy campaign for me this year was the Visa campaign by BBDO India. The TVC had a distinct sense of earthiness and warmth with a distinctive emotional connect positioning Visa as an enabler to a better life with a film that was real, gave you a taste and feel of the real India, not an urban town like many others.

When I look back at the ads that made me get up and take notice what they did not have was my favourite Bollywood star, a make believe world, in your face product features and a million promises.

What these ads did have were a touch and feel of the real world and a slice of my daily life; isn’t that what good advertising is all about?

What I missed seeing this year was a campaign as brilliant and legendary as ‘Fevicolkamajbootjod, tuteganahin’,‘Kuchmeethahojaye’ and ‘Daag ache hain’.

Though these campaigns are still running, but the initial euphoria and the universal connect when they first broke was missing – Fevicol became synonymous with anything that was remotely adhesive;‘Kuchmeethahojaye’leveraged on the Indian ‘proverb’and tried to make Cadbury’s a replacement for the traditional mithai; and Surf Excel’s DaagAche Hain changed the perception of Surf from a fuddyduddy brand to one that celebrates change.

All these ads are part of our daily life today. You will hear these lexicons being used in daily life, and this is what great advertising is all about.

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