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Storyboard18 | Money Heist, Robin the Drone and more in the post-Diwali Ad Safari

Join Storyboard18’s Ad Safari, where we invite guides from adland to pick out unskippable ads.

December 05, 2021 / 10:00 PM IST
The PhonePe Insurance campaign with Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt tones down the dense gravity that is typical of insurance commercials. (Image: screen grab)

The PhonePe Insurance campaign with Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt tones down the dense gravity that is typical of insurance commercials. (Image: screen grab)

Pat On Your Back.

There’s no better time to review advertising than now. Just when the warm Diwali currents of India have ebbed, and the Christmas currents of the West have started rolling in. As seasoned fisherfolk would say, it’s a meeting place teeming with a zillion fish and plumper commercials.

Campus Shoes

This campaign broke recently, with a bunch of foreign models making moves with shoes on their hands.

Based on tutting, or the art of dancing with fingers, hands, and arms, (gestures from ancient Egypt – remember King Tut?), the campaign is odd yet noticeable.

Yes, it does deliver international cues to Campus and its new range. But beyond urban India, there’s a Bharat that may not culturally allow hands and shoes to cavort together.

A brave effort nevertheless. I just hope the brand’s heavy middle-class past doesn’t drag it down. A new sub-brand launch from Campus would’ve been more believable.


I love this campaign. Very now, very relevant. It’s usually one of those areas never considered as advertising territory for jewellery brands. Since there’s little space in daily plebeian contexts or locations to retail the traditional scale of bling this category has fattened itself on. This then, is its refreshing opposite. Nothing addy. Conversations that draw the audience in. Beautifully put together. More than that, for tons of couples across India, this should nudge them to open up and share truths, fears, hopes, etc. Well done, Tanishq. Invest long in this honest space.

Netflix - Money Heist

As a total Money Heist fan, I had long been waiting for December 3. The new ‘Sabse Bada Fan Bole Ciao’ film that came out does the part of reminding the faithful. But it also cascades the frenzy way down the fan ladder. Very effective in connecting a larger phalanx of disconnected Indian viewers into a language, sensibility, zone, and to the undiscovered content of its earlier seasons. With so many goodies in the vaults of many OTT players, I’d think this serious path to streaming riches will keep widening the route for existing and future serials. This particular Ayushmann Khurrana led creative is alright. I liked the first better. But the strat is one fluffy Spanish omelette.

PhonePe Insurance

There was a time when life insurance advertising was morbid. With public sector companies reminding us of how you could even come back post-death to smile at your thriving family. Melodrama, melancholy, and misery served round the clock.

But the PhonePe Insurance campaign with Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt, thankfully, reduces that dense gravity to weightlessness. At least we can watch these insurance ads without listening to grieving violins and being reminded of our exit visas. Thank you for taking away the catatonia and making insurance easy and light on the heart. One box of laddoos for you.


I am sure this is a global truth. That even on Christmas, there’ll be people abandoned by destiny to the company of loneliness. It’s terrible. But not if a brand addresses it – even as a commercial. Intent is what matters.

In this spot, we have the Swiss online supermarket brand Migros sending out Robin the Drone to deliver packages. And while drones are cold machines, Robin is the warm antithesis. Full of heart, vulnerability, and kindness. Despite his battery-powered life, he moved me and spoke deeper to me than shallow celebs. Watch it. ‘Nobody should be alone at Christmas.’ Indeed.


The advert is beautiful. From the script to the cast, the layers, the cinematography, and the ease of making it – with an iPhone 13 Pro.

That aside, the story of the melting snowman, and the little girl’s year-long endeavour to save it from melting versus challenges, is very much the story of mankind across the last two corona years.

The eventual message – ‘To the ones we’ve waited all year to be with’, works very well for a world battered by the pandemic. This spot of Christmas sunshine will keep our yearning to be with our loved ones as warm as toast.

Amazon Prime Video

This is from Amazon Prime Video Europe. A friendship between a grumpy zookeeper and a hyena. The underlying concept being that true joy can arrive from unexpected shows, serials, etc., bring strangers together, and that ‘Every smile tells a story’.

Hattie the hyena, surely is a weird choice. There’s no one who’d be able to look beyond its evil laugh and legendary savagery. Though I guess it’s a deliberate choice to nullify exactly that. To blunt the hatred cinema has unfairly rendered unto hyenas.

If the Christmas season is about forgiveness and starting afresh, this one gets you like a submarine. Perhaps the hyena represents the people you have written off. Nat King Cole’s ‘Smile’ is the track to this beautifully bizarre ad.

Prathap Suthan is co-founder and CCO, Bang In The Middle. Views are personal.