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Amer Jaleel talks to us about some iconic adsLowe Lintas
When we took a walk down advertising memory lane with Amer Jaleel
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#BTSwithInsiders: Amer Jaleel on Tata Tea’s Jaago Re, Lifebuoy’s Gonduppa and ICICI Prudential’s Bande Acche Hain

When we took a walk down advertising memory lane with Amer Jaleel
  • In our series, BTS with Insiders, we take a walk down memory lane, and give you an insider's view of some of the most iconic Indian ads.
  • This week Amer Jaleel, Group CCO and Chairman of MullenLowe Lintas Group tells us some engrossing stories about campaigns he's done for Tata Tea, Lifebuoy and ICICI Prudential.

Nostalgia is a powerful tool, as we have witnessed in the last month and a half of lockdown. It was primarily this insight that made us start BTS with Insiders, a series that takes a walk down memory lane, and talks about some of the most iconic ads that have helped build brands and tell wonderful stories.

Last week, we spoke to Amer Jaleel, Group CCO and Chairman of MullenLowe Lintas Group, who has been instrumental in creating seminal work for a lot of brands. Over the years, he has created some award-winning work for brands Google, OLX, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Prudential and Bajaj, amongst many others.

Jaleel gave us an Insider’s view into a few campaigns he holds close to his heart.

Tata Tea’s Jaago Re

Tea brands, for the longest time, sold on the refreshing proposition of its product. However, it all changed in 2008 when Tata Tea came up with Jaago Re, a campaign that wanted people not just to wake up but to awaken. What had started as a campaign to encourage people to go vote in the 2009 elections has now broadened its appeal and today talks about a lot of other issues too. It was perhaps one of the first campaigns in India that asked consumers to act, giving birth to citizen activism.

“What is the most important thing about Jaago Re is that it sparked off the trend of socially responsible work. And this is something that we at Lintas really take pride in, making brands participate in social improvement. We were noticed all around the world for this work and many people have emulated this,” shared Jaleel.

R Balki was also a prominent part of the campaign, shared Jaleel, who helped strengthen the idea of the campaign by adding a strong logic to the thought. Once they discussed the idea, Balki said to Jaleel, “You know, you have got this business because it is impossible for anybody to deny this,” he remembered. “It was one of those memorable moments of my life,” he added with a smile. “The funny part is, we cracked the idea for a tea ad sitting in a coffee shop,” he laughed.

The first ad also featured actor Pankaj Tripathy, who was just starting out at that point of time. While there had been many auditions, Jaleel remembers being blown away by Tripathy’s audition. “In Pankaj’s audition, when he acted the line ‘Hum aapka vote maange aaye hain,’ he says he has come to request for people’s votes but with his hand, he made a gesture that would denote he is here to grab your votes. That struck me and I told our director Amit Sharma that we should use this in the ad. And that’s how we got Pankaj on board. I am sure he would have reached where he is today even without this ad, because he is extremely talented, but I am glad we were on to him pretty early,” shared Jaleel.

The campaign went on to create wonders for the brand and is till today considered to be a game-changer.

Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 - Gondappa

Over the years, Lifebuoy has been doing a lot in terms of spreading awareness around the importance of hygiene and washing hands, not just in India but across the world. And it wanted to come up with a campaign to showcase some of the on-ground work it had been doing.

Thesgora, a small village in Madhya Pradesh was infamous for having one of the highest rates of child diarrhoea cases in India. The idea behind the campaign was to bring to light how a simple act of convincing people to wash their hands had a massive impact.

“Lifebuoy told us that they’ve been doing this amazing work but people don’t really know of this work. They wanted something that would celebrate the work they were doing while also helping them promote the idea further. The objective itself was so inspirational that we had to do something really special,” shared Jaleel.

Sagar Kapoor, the current Chief Creative Officer at Lowe Lintas, told Jaleel that he had thought of an idea that wasn’t like the regular Lifebuoy ads that they did. He told Jaleel about something called ‘maanta’ which is something that people do if their wish comes true. Kapoor shared many examples of people fasting or rolling on the ground while on their way to temples. He was thinking of what would a person who’s child turned 5 do to celebrate the fact. “That’s when Sagar said that someone like him could say that he would walk on his hands to reach the temple and thank him for this gift. And the idea of walking on hands and Lifebuoy and hand-washing and the importance of that just struck like a rocket in my head. And I told Sagar that he had cracked something so special that his career was made,” shared Jaleel.

The shoot was carried out in a place somewhere near Hubli in Karnataka, in scorching sunlight. The team had to select 2 actors, one who featured in the film, and another one on standby, considering how difficult it was for anyone to walk on his hands for long distances. The crew had to go to the spot thrice to complete the shoot as the first time the actor gave up as he couldn’t keep walking on his hands and the second time the shoot was brought to a halt by rains.

The song used with the film was a Tamil song which wasn’t translated into any other languages and was yet able to cut through language barriers. The team had once gone to China where the film was showcased and the video moved many Chinese women to tears.

ICICI Prudential’s Bande Acche Hain

ICICI Prudential’s Bande Acche Hain, came at a time when men’s image across the world had taken a serious beating, shared Jaleel. “However, while we read about men doing heinous crimes or watched about them on TV, we realized we don’t know any such man and that inspired us to think about men in this way. We wanted to show that men are also glorious in their own ways. The most important thing that touches you in this ad is that men who do these beautiful things don’t really want it to be acknowledged,” explained Jaleel.

And that is exactly what helped strike a chord with the audience with many people immediately identifying with many of the scenarios that have been showcased in the ad.

The music of the campaign, composed by music director Shantanu Moitra and beautifully penned by lyricist Swanand Kirkire also added to the magic. “What is special about the ad is that it is a woman singing about a men but the men aren’t exactly looking for any appreciation. They were just going about doing the acts of care that they would anyway do, without anybody coming to know. When it comes to the song, I had a very different idea because Bande Acche Hain sounded a little Punjabi and in my head, the song was something more boisterous. However when I reached the studio and heard what Shantanu had created, it just melted me. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t got affected by the music at the first hearing,” said Jaleel.

What also made the film special were the everyday instances that the situations drew from, making it very relatable and possibly the reason why it found so much love from the audience.


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