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Sonal Dabral tells us how a 6-year-old boy and this hit Mithun Chakrabarty song became the inspiration behind the catchy 80’s jingle, ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’
Sonal Dabral took us back in time and told us how the famous 'Humko Binnies Mangta' ad was created Sonal Dabral
Sonal Dabral shared the story during a panel discussion held as a part of Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival 2020

Sonal Dabral tells us how a 6-year-old boy and this hit Mithun Chakrabarty song became the inspiration behind the catchy 80’s jingle, ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’

Sonal Dabral shared the story during a panel discussion held as a part of Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival 2020
  • Sonal Dabral has been an integral part of Indian advertising and is credited with creating some pathbreaking campaigns through his career.
  • Dabral who was part of a recent panel discussion at Business Insider's Global Trends Festival 2020 took us back in time and told us the story of how the famous 'Humko Binnies Mangta' jingle and campaign was created.
Sonal Dabral wears many hats. He’s a creative genius, a TV host, a film director, an actor, a scriptwriter and even a playwright. But he is also a music lover, a passion that came handy pretty often during his illustrious advertising career.

Recently on a panel discussion on ‘How music has become the real social connector in today’s digital world’ for Business Insider’s Global Trends Festival, Dabral shared an anecdote about a very catchy campaign he had created in the late 80’s.

Dabral grew up in a big family where there was a lot of musical influence and this love for music helped him crack a creative pitch back in the day when he was just finding his place in the ad world.

The brand he was working on was Binnies Chips and the task at hand was to help it reach out to teenagers. This was in the later 80’s, when most of the advertising was still being done in English. So when Binnies Chips called for a pitch, Dabral, who then was a part of Mudra, set to work with the rest of the team. They created a campaign that they thought was cool and energetic. The tagline read, ‘Looking for fun? Binnies’ the one!’

Taking us back in time, Dabral said, “The campaign looked good but was a bit stereotypical. There were teens with guitars and of course packets of chips.”

However, it was an important multi-agency pitch, and Mudra Delhi which back then was a small office, wanted to desperately win the pitch. “We had to be absolutely sure of the work,” said Dabral.

And the easiest way to do that was to test the campaign on the audience they were trying to target. The Mudra team called a group of teenagers to a house in Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi, the idea was to gauge their reactions.

Most of the kids invited said they liked the line. However, in that group, there was a young child who had come there with his elder brother. “This kid was barely 6 or 7 years old but he had an attitude. I asked him if he liked the work and he said he did. Then I asked him if his brother bought chips for him. To that he answered with a lot of swag that he goes to the shop himself, points to whatever he wants and says, ‘I want that.’ And he said all of this in a mix of Hindi and Punjabi and I was loving his attitude,” shared Dabral.

And it was then that inspiration struck him. “We were saying things like looking for fun, Binnies the one, but here was a kid with real energy and attitude. He knew exactly what he was looking for and he would demand that from the shopkeeper. That’s when the idea for ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’ struck me. And the moment I thought of these lines, it felt disruptive and fresh,” said Dabral with a laugh. Most of the advertising back then used to be primarily western in look and feel. And even if Hindi was used, it was hardly ever colloquial. It was usually translated from the original English idea by translators.

This was the time when a song from the movie Jeete Hain Shaan Se featuring actors Mithun Chakraborty and Mandakini called Julie Julie had become immensely popular. “The lyrics of the song went, Julie Julie, Johnny ka dil tujhpe aaya Julie. A colleague used to keep humming that song. So once I had the line Humko Binnies Mangta, I wrote the lyrics, ‘Binnies Binnies, naya naya ye chips Binnies. Iski hai har baat nayi, yehi toh meri jaan hai jaan hai jaan hai… Humko Binnies mangta’. And the song was ready. I remember we recorded a scratch and cut a film with footage from the movie ‘Grease’ with John Travolta dancing to ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’ for the pitch.”

Dabral was also the art director on the campaign so he decided that the best way to do the print and the billboards would be to add a bit of that young boy’s attitude to it and to make it big and bold. “I hand crafted the typography as I didn’t find any typeface that would do justice to the bold attitude. So the billboards and out-of-home material had a big bold ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’ emblazoned against a red background and a big pack just below it. No body copy. Nothing else to describe the idea,” he shared. “The idea was, if we could have a line with so much attitude, it would do its job,” he added.

This is how ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’ was born.

“While the term Hinglish had not yet been coined, one can say that it was ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’ that set the ball rolling for Indian English in our advertising, real conversational lines as against the very formal language of the past," said Dabral.

At the pitch, the team presented both the ideas including the two scratch edits. “We won the pitch due to the sheer cut-through quality of ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’," added he.

The client loved the idea but was a little unsure owing to the fact that the lyrics were in a very conversation street-style Hinglish, something that had never been done before. The team however heard that the client had done a quick test of the two campaigns with his children and their friends, and all of them had loved it.

The campaign when released became an instant hit.

On the day of the launch, there were full page ads all with one single line ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’ and a pack below it. There was a promo that was run on the day of the launch. Free Binnies hampers were given off to the first 100 callers who called in and said ‘Humko Binnies Mangta’. “Though it was meant for only 100 callers, the phones didn’t stop ringing till late in the night,” reminisced Dabral.

On analyzing why the campaign performed as well as it did, Dabral said he realized while it was the disruptive nature and the freshness of the campaign line and the focused and targeted advertising, it was also the fact that they wrote the catchy lyrics to a massively popular tune that made it very hummable and was able to connect with a wide set of audience. “It also shows what the right music and words can do to your content. Even today when you hear those lines, you can visualize the ad with those dancing kids saying Humko Binnies Mangta,” added Dabral with a laugh