Anti-smoking message gets a sanskari and sexy makeover

From a completely contrasting star cast to conveying a serious message in a humour-laced manner – the new anti-smoking ad crafted by Scarecrow Communications, christened ‘11 Minutes’ – has been raking in the views on YouTube. On last count, the film had garnered over 4 million views in less than 200 hours.

The film brings together Alok Nath, Sunny Leone and Deepak Dobriyal to convey the message how smoking one cigarette reduces one’s life by 11 minutes that hits the viewers with the twist in the end. The ad film is seen as having a rather altered approach on delivering the message of no smoking.

The film begins with a village medicine man telling Alok Nath that his sick son has no hope of recovering from his illness and that the family should get ready to fulfil his last wish. When asked what his last wish was, the cheeky young man (Deepak Dobriyal) shows his father the photo of a girl. Though shocked, the hapless father decides to fulfil his son’s last wish and brings home a veiled voluptuous belle (Sunny Leone), who is welcomed by the family as if she was the bride. She goes on to seduce the young man, who quite unexpectedly breathes his last while in the throes of passion. The message of ‘11 minutes’ and no smoking at the end of the film hits home loud and clear.

The story has been formulated by Aditya Bhat, Creative Director of the campaign, who wanted to “deliver the right message without being preachy”. “We are not really trying to change the world. The entire thought process is very simple. Even if one person can think that smoking is going to take 11 minutes of my life then we are successful,” he said.

Watch the film here:

‘11 minutes’ is probably the first Indian commercial where the message of no smoking is delivered without lighting a cigarette. It shows how critical those ‘11 Minutes’ of smoking can be. On being asked if the message gets somewhat diluted given the long length of the film, director of the campaign, Vibhu Puri, said, “We decided that it should have a life of its own. Ours is the only commercial where we are talking about no smoking, but we have not shown anybody light up a cigarette. It is more involved and this is what goes on for so much longer in the audience’s mind.”

Dileep Niar, Producer of the film, added here, “The production challenges were that the B-cast was involved and everybody had a very busy schedule. We took 52 shots a day, which is kind of unheard of in my career. We finished in about 18 hours in a day’s time. All the cast and crew were very cooperative and professional.”

Apart from standing out in the category of no smoking campaigns, ‘11 Minutes’ has also been a huge digital success. Talking about the success and the provocative effect of the campaign, Manish Bhatt, Founder, Scarecrow Communications, said, “It gives this public service campaign a whole new light. It is very colourful, entertaining, lighthearted and very new age. It breaks through the normal category ports of public service communication. It’s not pretending to be interactive and is fairly entertaining.”

Aditya Bhat added here, “With a response like this, I am pretty happy that India has loved it and India has seen it. It has been an amazing experience and it is something that I would treasure. I am very grateful to everyone associated with it, especially the star cast, because this film had been made with a lot of love and passion. Like Sunny, I also lost my father to smoking, so we are very serious about the cause.”

There was a dedicated team behind the making of ‘11 Minutes’ that made it the successful campaign that it is today.

Campaign credits:
Creative agencies: Business of Ideas & Scarecrow Communications
Creative Supervision: Aditya Bhat & Manish Bhatt
Story, Screenplay & Dialogues: Ankit Sharma, Manish Bhatt, Vibhu Puri
Creative & Executive Producer: Harshit Desai
Creative Director: Ankit Sharma
Production House: Escaping Elephant
Directed By: Vibhu Puri
Producer: Dileep Nair
DOP: Savita Singh
Music Conceptualisation & Lyrics: Manish Bhatt
[Music Composed by Rooshin Dalal/ Singers: Aditya Gadhvi & Vatsala Patil/ Sound Engineer: Kunal Dabholkar (Sounds Good Studio)]
Executive Producer: Raza Surti
Art Director: Ram Chavan
Line Producer: Jigar shah
Costumes: Nivedita Das
Client: Harshit Desai & Ankit Sharma
Initiative produced & supported by: Aneel Murarka & Manish Murarka (Ample Mission)


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