We recently presented a list of 10 ways to celebrate Diwali. Now that the diyas have burned away, the firecrackers swept away, and the sweets put away, let’s look back at the most memorable Diwali ads and short films of 2014.
6. Kit Kat
A homesick Indian astronaut, aboard a spaceship orbiting Earth, opens a Diwali greeting card from her family and bites into a bar of chocolate, while every square mile of India puts on a fireworks display and a song rings in her ear, “Your home is not far.”
Formula: Patriotism (Go ISRO!) + women’s empowerment + love of family + home-sickness
What works: The soundtrack; allusions to gravity-defying Sandra Bullock and role models, Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams
What doesn’t: Extra-cheesy; sloppy CG
5. Cadbury Celebrations
A soldier’s family pays him a surprise visit and gifts his fellow soldiers a box of chocolates. No chocolates for the son, though; after all, “What can top parents’ blessings?”
Formula: Patriotism (Jai Jawan!) + love of family + home-sickness
What works: Light-hearted banter; effective punch line (“Take chocolates along; take happiness along”)
What doesn’t: Gratuitous mention of brand name in conversation
Continuing a beautiful line of short films that celebrate multi-cultural Malaysia’s many festivals, Petronas’ Diwali film this year follows a boy and an old man as they go about displaying a spirit of sharing.
Formula: Patriotism + parental tenderness
What works: Collage of feel-good elements of Indian culture; silent film transcends linguistic differences
What doesn’t: Overlooking of child-safety issues
3. Pepsi & Kurkure
A busy woman realizes her folly of not giving more time to her elderly parents, who are “always there for her,” and pays them a Diwali visit after all.
Formula: Caring parents + nostalgia
What works: Script; direction; high production values
What doesn’t: Length (more short film than ad); jarring product placement
2. Spirit of Diwali
Three kids teach us to keep only what we need and to set some aside for the needy, such as those affected by the recent Hudhud cyclone.
Formula: Altruism + childlike innocence
What works: Goose-bump-inducing punch line
What doesn’t: It’s for a good cause, so let’s not nitpick.
Husband surprises long-time wife with a high Bling Quotient necklace. It’s a hard act to follow, yet son does and moves mom with his own surprise: a modest necklace bought using his bonus pay.
Formula: Husband-wife bond + mother-son bond
What works: Direction; high production values.
The reason this ad is ranked #1: Brilliant execution of profit-maximizing pricing strategy (“Whether little or big, decorate this Diwali with gold [from us, of course]”). Plus, you can’t compete with maa senti!