Monthly Archives: July, 2016

Surf Excels

The missus has mentioned you in a comment – that’s how I read my Facebook notification one morning.

There are several couples who show a lot of public affection for each other, constantly share content on each other’s timelines or tag each other very frequently; we’re not one of those couples.  Well, not yet anyway – we’ve been married over three years and it hasn’t happened yet.  We are very selective on what we tag each other in – anything that would be too much of a hassle to share on Whatsapp basically; so the scope is quite narrow!

Anyway, I click on the notification and I’m shown this:

Now, my wife had mentioned this ad to me a few days prior but she didn’t make a fuss about it so I didn’t bother looking it up.  I’m guessing it struck a chord or she liked it – no, I still didn’t discuss it with her afterwards.

However, it certainly struck a chord with many on social media and even people in India including celebrities.  Prominent websites from the region, and maybe the world, featured the ad and had words of praise for it.

Did I like it?  Sure.  Probably not for the same reasons as most people have liked it.

Did it touch that emotion nerve of mine?  Nah.

But, there are times when one just has to sit back and appreciation what has been done.  Here are 3 reasons why I appreciate the communication:

1. Detergent and Ramadan, Who’d Have Thought?

Surf Excel has communicated the idea that daag tou acche hote hain (dirt is good) repeatedly over the years.  Furthermore, those communications were mostly about a child doing a good deed – helping a friend, helping a senior citizen; and, getting their clothes dirty in the process but it was all good because if it’s done for a good deed and you have Surf Excel by your side then dirt is actually good.

So it all made sense and was very clever.

Now, Ramadan is usually associated with food; well, it’s meant to be about a lot more but from an advertising point of view we have usually just seen a splurge of adverts from food/beverage brands and why not?

Another aspect of Ramadan is people trying to be better people during the holy month.  The way the brand team and their creative partners have picked this aspect up and integrated it with their brand’s message is…well…I don’t want to say ‘brilliant’ but it’s certainly very very smartly done.

It directs your attention away from food, the hustle and bustle of iftaar (futoor or breakfast) time; and, brings your attention to why one shouldn’t be hesitant to do a good deed even if it means your clothes get dirty in the process.  Actually, one should especially shouldn’t be hesitant during Ramadan because that’s the month to really notch up some blessings via good deeds.

It all ties up really well.

2.  Eager Fever

Not sure if that even makes sense but couldn’t think of another word that rhymes with fever and would get my point across!

Muslims, generally, are emotional people when it comes to religion.  Pakistanis, generally, are emotional people.  Now, add the two together and you can imagine the state of mind our population is in during Ramadan.

Generally, the people are eager to be better persons during this month; whether they actually become better or not is a different matter.  Praying more, maybe read the Quran more, give more to the less privileged, and help more.  That eagerness is there.

So, in a way, the brand actually cashes on an aspiration factor – we aspire to do noble deeds, especially during this month.

3.  Simple, Relatable, Desirable

The execution is simple, the story is simple and relatable.  The scene that is painted is something many would be familiar with day-in-day-out during Ramadan.  There are samosa/jalebi stalls in every neighborhood; there’s a hustle and bustle environment during a certain time period before iftaar.

Sure, the neighborhood portrayed seems a tad unrealistic but then again I’ve only seen so much of the world.  Sure, new clothes (like the protagonist wears) are usually associated with Eid but I guess it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to see the same in Ramadan.  Definitely, though, we don’t want to get our clothes dirty especially if they’re new.  All very relatable.

So, what’s desirable?  We want to be that little kid.  We want to help someone out, and who better than an old man?  Again, especially during this month.  If we’re parents, we would love to see our kid commit an act of goodness like this.

Around six years ago, I think, I went for Umrah and an old man took the support of my shoulder to walk one length between Safa and Marwa; later I heard my dad narrating the tale to someone with a lot of pride – not the arrogance driven pride.  Again, religion stirs up another sort of emotion in us.

This sort of ties with cashing in on the eager fever that I mentioned earlier.

There you go, 3 reasons.

Living in Saudi has limited my viewership of Pakistani Ramadan communications this year so I don’t really have much to compare with nor can I really be bothered to look up other ads but thankfully I came across this because it has me writing again!

Anyway, this communication is also an example of how important good execution is; it’s been kept simple and relatively real.  Similar to what Shan did last year in terms of execution.

I will end this now as I have absolutely no train of thought; I had written 95% of this a week ago but got caught up with something else, so…yeah.  ‘Till next time!