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India @75: Prasoon Pandey on when India stopped aping the West

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.

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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 conversation with Adgully, Prasoon Pandey, Director, Corcoise Films, speaks about some of the landmark campaigns in Indian advertising, as well as some key milestones over the years.

When you walk down the memory lane which campaign/s stand out for you?

Oh, there are so many and for many different reasons. I think ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ for touching the country as a whole in such a wonderful way that each person could find it connecting to her or his own personal relationships too. ‘Hamara Bajaj’ for bringing out pride in India. Ericsson ‘One black coffee’ for introducing subtle humour to our communication. Cadbury ‘Kuchh khas hai hum sabhi mein’ for encouraging to bring out the child in you. And all the Fevicol commercials for celebrating India and her lifestyle. Also, MTV ‘We are like that only’.

Off hand, I am obviously forgetting many others which, like the ones that I mentioned, went beyond promoting a product or service and affected the audience in a deeper way.

What do you think was the turning point in Indian advertising?

That would be a really difficult question to try and answer. Many things happened around the same time:

  • 1982, suddenly commercial TV could reach out to the nation as a whole.
  • 1983, India’s victory in the 83 world cup that suddenly made our country realise that we are second to none.
  • 1988, ‘Mile Sur’ celebrated our diversity with an unabashed pride.

All of these and may be just that it took us around 40 years to come out from under the shadow of foreign rule and the pain of partition, etc. I think all of these inadvertently timed themselves together and we suddenly stopped aping the West.

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