'Jaago Re' to 'My Choice': 40 ads that moved India

Be it bridging gaps between India and Pakistan or fighting social anathema, these Indians ads said it best.

 |  11-minute read |   07-12-2015
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1. Raising awareness for Polio the Big B way

With Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador, the "Do Boond Zindagi ke" campaign was highly effective as it encouraged households to ensure that children get immunised against polio.

2. Aaj Tak ad against sexual harassment

This hard-hitting ad features men harassing a girl on a bus, with an elderly bystander reprimanding them.

3. Learning accountability from Tata Tea's Jagoo re

Tata Tea launched its advertisement campaign "Jaago Re" in 2007. Covering a gamut of social issues like corruption, feminism, each ad in the campaign was packed with an impactful social message.

4. Educating the underprivileged by Teach India

Through a series of inspiring advertisements, the Teach India campaign attempts to encourage people to make time and spread knowledge and awareness, and teach the underprivileged.

5. HDFC's Sar Utha Ke Jiyo for a smart future

Through its Sar Utha Ke jiyo campaign HDFC Standard Life aims at increasing awareness on the importance of effective financial planning from an early stage.

6. Learning from the kids: Airtel's Barriers break when people talk'

Airtel, with this heart-warming advertisement, showed how two children living across the border, in two neighbouring countries developed a friendship. The line that struck a chord was - "there is no barrier that can keep us apart if only we talk to each other".

7. Coco Cola's Open with happiness campaign

Released in the first half of 2009, this advertisement campaign garnered positive feedback worldwide for displaying a simple, yet highly significant message - to enjoy the little delights in life.

8. Ministry of tourism's ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ campaign

The ministry of tourism’s Atithi Devo Bhava campaign with its thought provoking advertisements, often starring brand ambassador Aamir Khan, effectively demonstrates how essential it is to our culture to respect all visitors and ensure they have a comfortable stay while in India.

9. Discover the Joy of giving - Give India

This commercial shows an act of kindness by a wealthy child towards a poor child by sharing his lollipop, urging people to “Discover the Joy of Giving”.

10. Don't let abusers get away with Bell Bajao

This campaign, conceived by Ogilvy and Mather and launched by Breakthrough, talked about the need to stop ignoring domestic violence and standing up when one witnesses such cases around them. The ad, starring Boman Irani, featured a man paying an impromptu visit to his neighbour’s house on the pretext of making an urgent call after he heard shrieks next door.

11. New Ark Mission of India ad on 'fashion from the other side'

Advertising Agency Ogilvy & Mather, through the work of photographer Senthil Kumar, released its winter collection in 2011 that showcased the plight of homeless children in India with little cover during harsh winter months, juxtaposed with a seasonal range of high-end fashion wear.

12. Don't be a mute witness by Hindustan Times

The Hindustan Times commercial created by Lowe Lintas showcases the need to change unwanted attitudes in society by using their newspaper to broaden one’s horizon and thought process. A backward idea by one person results in a smack with a rolled newspaper to urge them that “it’s time to open our minds”.

13. Many sticks are stronger than one - The Times of India's Tum chalo toh Hindustan Chaley

An inspiring advertisement that hits out at the VIP culture running through our country and how a simple effort by citizens can bring about change.

14. Sample the best of the dating world - Fastrack's 'Move on'

Same-sex relationships, break-ups, uncanny stereotypes and other such subjects are projected in short edgy and racy adverts with the tagline “move on”.

15. Stylish horror Mumbai Traffic Police ads

Frequently observed at major traffic junctions around the city, various print ads by the Mumbai Traffic Police work to bringing about road discipline through a series of witty, eye-catching quotes and advertisements.

16. Don't descend to the lowest common denominator - The Hindu Classroom 

An advertisement campaign released by The Hindu aptly portrays the unruly conduct in Parliament in a rowdy college classroom backdrop.

17. Winds of change Havells Fans – Hawa Badlegi Feb 2013

Havells Fans, through its Hawa Badlegi advertisement campaign, inspires citizens to bring about a much needed change.

18. Take a leap of faith - Lifebuoy's Help a child reach 5

In a wonderfully directed three-minute long video, Lifebuoy showcased a village where a difficult ritual was undertaken by a man simply to thank God for finally seeing his own child survive till the age of five. It highlights the necessity of basic healthcare and, through this campaign, seeks to bring about the much needed change in Thesgora, an Indian village with a very high rate of diarrhoea deaths among children.

19. Social barriers are meant to be broken - Havells' Say no to discrimination 

Havells released an advertisement that showed a family sitting at dinner asking their cook to join them at the table in an attempt to break discrimination between various classes and sections of society.

20. See the joy in the small things - Coca Cola's Small World Machines

A beautiful project by Coca-Cola aims to bridge the divide between citizens of India and Pakistan.

21. Fostering acceptance and trust - Tanishq

A short advertisement for Tanishq directed by Gauri Shinde and beautifully scripted by Arun Iyer released in 2013. This advertisement showcased the concept of remarriage and a harmonious start of a second family with a daughter accompanying her mother and step-father-to-be part of the wedding pheras.

22. Touching lives with Google's India-Pakistan Ad

A heart-warming advertisement released by Google in 2013 went viral. Directed by Amit Sharma and written by Sukesh Kumar Nayak, this ad was about a reunion of two elderly men who were separated from each other during the Partition. The reunion was arranged by both their grandchildren in either country, who used Google to arrange a surprise meeting for the erstwhile best friends.

23. Hold a mirror to perversion - Dekh le tu dekhtey hue kaisa lagta hai

Released on YouTube in January, 2014, this advertisement has a very strong message. It aims to show men who letch after women to look at their own reflection and realise how painfully shameful they look.

24. Don't mistake wives for appliances - Havells's Arranged Marriages

A beautifully shot forty-second video wittily points out the flaws in stereotypical arranged marriage meetings. Encouraging people to stop thinking of women as nothing but domestically inclined, this ad packed a strong punch for feminism.

25. Safety first, the blessed way Transgender seatbelt ad - May 2014

In a comic take, a group of transgendered people, who call themselves "The Seatbelt Crew", demonstrate the importance of wearing a seatbelt at a traffic signal. The video was produced and uploaded by Ryan Mendonca and went viral for the manner in which it showcased a matter of social importance in a unique, light-hearted way.

26. Role reversal Airtel Woman Boss Ad July 2014

Around mid-2014, telecom service giant Airtel released an advertisement about women CEOs. The ad showed a young woman playing a firm boss by refusing to slack on targets, causing an employee to stay late at work. It turned out later that the subordinate was her husband.

27. Practice inclusion in all forms - KBC's 'Kohima' ad

Released as part of KBC’s 2014 campaign, this advertisement sent out a strong message highlighting the condition of racism often experienced by Indian citizens who belong to the north-eastern states. A woman, from the northeast, on the hotseat, very humbly, through an audience poll result, explains her surprise at how in spite of everyone knowing Kohima was a part of India so few actually felt the same way.

28. Be the best you can be - Idea Cellular's Taxi-wala ad

A simple story that shows a taxi driver fight his greed, which tempts him to keep the phone a passenger forgot in his car. Later, his conscience gets the better of him and urges him to “kill the Raavan inside” and return the cellphone.

29. See the silver lining - Nescafe's stammering standup act

Released in 2014, the Nescafe advertisement displayed the inspiring story of a young man who stuttered and his continuous effort at establishing himself as a stand-up comedian.

30. Caring in unusual ways - Philips' Silent Couple

Released in 2014 this hard-hitting advertisement featured a mute couple and highlighted the need for women to ensure they get regular breast cancer check-ups and urged their partners to support them in this endeavour. The concluding line “actions speak louder than words” bound and delivered the message perfectly.

31. Stem patriarchy at its root Vogue Empower - Oct 2014

Starring Madhuri Dixit, this advertisement urges a change in the social mindset and the upbringing of boys in our country. It breaks stereotypes and seeks to promote gender equality by instilling the right attitude in households from a very young age.

32. Be the change you wish to see - Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Spearheaded by prime minister Narendra Modi, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has a host of print and video ads that inspires the public to maintain a clean environment.

33. Be the woman they don't expect you to be - Titan Raga's Woman of Today

Starring the talented Nimrat Kaur, this wonderfully scripted Titan advertisement subtly points out generic male-chauvinism and a new-age, and the independent woman’s outlook to life through a divorced couple's chance encounter.

34. Conserve for a better future with Bijli Bachao, Desh Banao

A simplistic advertisement showing the determination of school children to ensure all the adults do not waste electricity and promote the habit of conserving energy.

35. The beauty of courage - Dabur Vatika Cancer Ad

Released in 2014, this advertisement by Vatika had a very strong social message for cancer survivors. Being primarily a hair care brand, Vatika demonstrated the strength and resilience in a woman who had fought cancer and returned to work, bald and brave.

36. Be your own strength - Khud Ko Kar Buland by Birla Sun Life

Through an emotional story of a single father working to make ends meet in order to provide for his autistic child, this advertisement draws light on the significance of well-planned insurance, which could benefit the consumer immensely in the long run and in times of need.

37. Make bold choices- Deepika’s My Choice Ad March 2015

A hard-hitting video starring Deepika Padukone, directed by Homi Adajania, was aimed at sending out a strong message on feminism, highlighting the fact that the only person who ought to have control over the choices made by a woman is herself.

38. Tearjerker done right way with Tanishq on Mother’s Day - May 2015

This advertisement starring Deepika Padukone and her mother highlights the essence of a mother-daughter relationship and stresses the importance of making time for essential relationships in hectic times.

39. A refreshing take on homosexuality - Anouk & Myntra's lesbian ad

Ethnic wear brands Anouk and Myntra, through in its three-minute advertisement, attempted to kick the taboo of same-sex couples. It featured a lesbian couple preparing to “meet the parents” to break the news of their relationship because they were done hiding it from the world.

40. Treat your opponent with respect - Paytm's National Anthem ad

Often telecast between cricket matches, this Paytm advertisement shows three young friends enjoying a cricket match. They all stand in respect for their country’s national anthem and while two of them sit down later, the third remains standing for the opponent team to finish singing their anthem. This aims to instil a sense of mutual respect for all amongst the viewers.

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