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India @75: From cult classics to Deepfake AI – Rajshekhar Patil on iconic ads

As India gears up to celebrate her 75th year of Independence, we at Adgully are tracing the journey of Advertising and its contribution to the Indian society at large – whether it is bringing about a change in mindsets, or a societal pattern, or empowering different communities or ushering in new thoughts – basically, Soch badal ke rakh diya.

Our aim is to collate 75 most impressive and significant ways in which Advertising has impacted India over the decades. For this, we are reaching out to the Advertising Honchos of India to share the most significant contributions of Advertising to the Indian society and why they consider them to be important developments. We will serialise the story on Adgully’s website in the lead-up to the Independence Day this year in this special series: India @75 – Through the Advertising Lens.

In an interaction with Adgully, Rajshekhar Patil, Executive Creative Director, VMLY&R India, lists five iconic ads that stood out for the interesting and memorable way in which they presented the brand communication and broke the mould.

Enfield Bullet - Yeh Bullet Meri Jaan Manzilon ka Nishaan

The cult of Enfield Bullet, the classic Indian thumper in the 80s, was spurred on by this iconic ad that demonstrated the toughness of the bike and its ubiquity. The British antecedents of the bike were invisible in this very Indian ad that married utility with raw appeal, along with a very memorable jingle.

Chal Meri Luna

The ‘Chal Meri Luna’ ads marked the rise of Indian middle class mobility. India was coming out of the political turmoil of the 70s and industrialisation was slowly gathering pace. The fact that anyone could afford this tiny, but hardy moped, get around and remake their destiny, that made this ad an instant hit in the 80s, with youngsters and the older generation alike. Again, a very catchy line put the brand on everyone’s lips.

Happydent – Palace

Epic cinematic craft was explored for the first time in this engaging ad that broke both category and execution. For a brief moment, Indian advertising moved away from the common “talky” ads set in domestic situations into a magical space, where the purpose of advertising was not to convince, but to entertain.

Imperial Blue – Elevator

perial Blue ads ushered in a quality that rarely exists in the Indian psyche – the ability to laugh at ourselves. For the first time we saw Indian men as their authentic selves, not in slapstick humour, but observed humour, giving us a chance to laugh and accept the funny side of things.

Ageas Federal – Young Sachin Tendulkar

Indian advertising is heavily dialogue or over-the-top humour-driven. For the first time, we saw technology being applied in an Indian film to explore a new kind of storytelling. Deepfake AI was used to de-age Sachin Tendulkar to an 11-year old boy, so for the first time it showed how the possibilities of storytelling can become endless with technology.


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