Marketing Featured South Asia

A car ad with no car in it? Volkswagen taps crisp metaphors to prove car’s safety features

India – German automotive maker Volkswagen in India has released a new campaign aiming to demonstrate the safeness of their cars. But there’s a catch: the campaign doesn’t feature any cars at all. 

Conceptualised by the DDB Mudra Group, the campaign leverages the brand’s affinity for simplicity and human storytelling through crisp, amusing home life metaphors for the safety features on every Volkswagen.

On a more technical level, the campaign was launched on the back of the Volkswagen Taigun model recently scoring a five-star rating in Global NCAP’s crash tests. Taigun has become one of the first car models in India to achieve five stars, for both adult and child occupants’ protection.

Speaking on the work, Rahul Mathew, chief Creative Officer, DDB Mudra Group, said, “As a brand, Volkswagen has been built around human stories. It’s in the name of the brand itself. Therefore, we thought the best way to illustrate our safety features would be through examples of how we navigate our every day.”

Meanwhile, Abbey Thomas, head of marketing and PR at Volkswagen India, commented, “Safety is at the core of Brand Volkswagen. We build our cars with lots of emotion and passion, the same goes for our communication; emotional and light hearted. Together with our creative team, we hope to deliver this very important messaging on safety in an interesting and engaging manner to our consumers.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

DDB Mudra Group unveils key appointments in local leadership

India – Advertising company DDB Mudra Group has unveiled key appointments to its local leadership, namely Menaka Menon as national strategy head and Nitin Pradhan as creative head for South.

Both appointees cumulatively bring over at DDB Mudra Group 40 years of experience in creative thinking and strategic planning across brands and categories.

Menaka started her journey in advertising in account management and eventually moved to other marketing roles. She has also spent time in media, consulting and social sectors, all of which have contributed to her unique perspective on culture and consumer behaviour. She has also previously worked with FCB, JWT and Leo Burnett. Her diverse portfolio included brands such as ITC foods, Amazon, HUL, Star Network.

Commenting on her new role, Menon said, “DDB Mudra Group is at an exciting juncture, having created beautiful and impactful work, with a clear focus on building on the same. I look forward to being part of a stellar team working towards a shared mission and bringing in a fresh perspective to work.”

Meanwhile, Pradhan has worked on campaigns such as the Masalas of India for Maggi noodles, Make My Trip’s ‘MMT Assured’ campaign and brands such as Samsung, Tata Sky, KBC and Sony Network. His last stint was with Cheil India with previous experiences at Ogilvy, McCann, Publicis Groupe and Leo Burnett. He is also a filmmaker, having directed popular films for Truecaller and the Government of India.

Commenting on the role, he said, “The vision of making DDB Mudra, the integrated agency of choice in the industry is something that inspired me to take up the South creative mandate. The Bengaluru office has recently proven its intent to push creative boundaries with mainline campaigns on BGMI and Indeed. And given the vast portfolio of brands that it has across categories, I’m quite excited to partner the team in its new phase of growth, where creativity will have a more central role to play.” 

Talking about the senior appointments Rahul Mathew, chief creative officer at DDB Mudra Group said, “Bernbach had said that creativity is the most powerful force in business. And those words form the core of what we’re trying to build at the DDB Mudra Group. But how strong the force of creativity is, depends on the talent that wields it and leads it. In Menaka and Nitin, we found strong leaders and wielders of this force. I look forward to working with them and creating some really exciting work on some of our biggest brands.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

Stayfree’s latest ad is a powerful reminder to raise awareness against period stigma

India – Sanitary brand Stayfree has launched a new campaign in celebration of Daughter’s Day in India, encouraging parents to educate their sons about periods among women, which has perpetuated a long-standing stigma in the country.

The campaign’s ad, conceptualised by DDB Mudra, aims to positively change the narrative of shame and silence around periods. Commonly, men have been kept away from the menstruation conversation for generations, thinking of periods as a women’s secret – unsure of their role and choosing to make themselves unavailable because they don’t know how to offer the much-needed support.

Manoj Gadgil, vice president of marketing at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, said, “Stayfree set about to normalise period conversations to create a world where no girl feels embarrassed of periods. The campaign #itsjustaperiod started this journey 2 years back. This year, Stayfree urges parents to talk to their sons and tell them it’s just a period. When boys too are part of the conversation, we can truly create a period friendly world. Having an open dialogue and addressing a child’s curiosity of periods can help us build a generation that is free of societal shame around menstruation.”

Stayfree has also launched a microsite to help parents understand how to talk to their sons about periods and urges them to take a pledge to teach their sons about menstruation.

Meanwhile, Pallavi Chakravarti, creative head for West at DDB Mudra, commented, “At what point do children find out that periods are to be spoken about in hushed tones or preferably not spoken about at all? When we say a girl is ashamed about her period, do we ever wonder why? Or stop to think of whom she is hiding from?”

She added. “These were the questions we sought answers to, as we took the platform idea of ‘It’s Just A Period’ into another year. Stayfree has long believed that normalising the conversation involves everyone – not just one section of society – it was this belief coupled with our explorations that led us to the next chapter in our campaign – this Daughter’s Day, talk to your sons.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

Indeed’s new brand campaign in India addresses SMB job challenges

India – Job platform Indeed has launched a new brand campaign called ‘#HireBetter’ which highlights the issues that companies face if one does not rely on proper recruitment tools to hire employees. 

Conceptualised and created by DDB Mudra, the ad campaign is directed by Vivek Kakkad. The series consists of three ads and showcases hilarious goof-ups when hiring through referrals in three different scenarios. The concept pulls from the insight that while there’s a shift in online recruitment for SMBs, oftentimes SMBs still rely on their first party sources to hire.

The ad films and creatives will be spread across various digital and print platforms that employers and job seekers choose to watch such as YouTube and physical press across regional and national newspapers. 

Nishita Lalvani, director at Indeed India and SEA, said, “Our campaign is focused on reaching out to SMBs – the high-growth market in India. This campaign will address their concerns regarding hiring employees, through a series of relatable films which resonate with them. Indeed provides easy hiring solutions for SMBs and aims to constantly innovate to help these companies find the right talent through its platform.”

Meanwhile, Sooraj R Pillai, senior creative director at DDB Mudra, commented, “Hiring in small and medium businesses in India gets done through word of mouth over legitimate channels. And this may turn out to be a problem since the owners appoint employees with mediocre aptitude, causing potential losses for the businesses.” 

Pillai added, “The objective of this campaign was to target SMB owners specifically and encourage them to subscribe to the platform. Thus, changing their typical approach towards hiring and their standard practice of appointing someone they know instead of hiring someone who knows what to do.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

DDB Mudra Group names Manish Darji as new head of art for West

India – Advertising agency DDB Mudra Group has appointed Manish Darji as its new head of art for West. This appointment reinforces the agency’s commitment to craft at a time when visual storytelling is constantly evolving.

In his new role, Darji will be leading the design mandate for the agency’s west office and will be reporting to Pallavi Chakravarti, DDB Mudra’s creative head for West. He will also be exploring applications of craft in newer categories like digital, data, entertainment, and content. 

With a career spanning two decades, Darji has worked on some of India’s leading brands like Coca-Cola, NDTV, Big Bazaar, Volkswagen, and Marico, as well as Viacom 18, and Mondelez. He has also served as executive creative director and associate creative director at DDB Mudra in the year 2014 and 2010 respectively. Moreover, Darji has worked at BBH, McCann Erickson, Ogilvy, and Rediffusion Y&R, as well as Bates 141.

DDB Mudra said that its Unexpected Works philosophy lays a strong emphasis on creating clutter-breaking work that drives results, and craft plays a crucial role in this advanced approach. 

Speaking on his appointment, Darji said, “Bill Bernbach was the first to put Art and Copy on the same floor, back in the 60s, and that’s been the model for all agencies ever since. With it comes the opportunity to let craft shine as we pursue our promise of Unexpected Works. I am truly excited to be on this ride.”

Meanwhile, Chakravarti noted, “It is impossible to look at a piece Manish has worked on and not be wowed. His passion for craft and grasp of distinctive visual languages are skills sorely needed in this day and age. We’re delighted to have him on board to further the creative vision for DDB Mudra West.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

Stayfree encourages fathers to talk about periods with their daughters in new film

Mumbai, India – To honour the World Menstrual Hygiene Day, which is celebrated every 28 May signifying the 28 days typical gap between 2 periods and 5 days which is the average duration of a period, India’s sanitary napkin brand Stayfree has launched a new campaign, aimed at raising awareness and attempting to change damaging social norms around menstruation. 

The new campaign, which was conceptualised in collaboration with DDB Mudra, is part of the brand’s efforts to normalise periods. These efforts include education partnerships, promoting best practices for Menstrual Hygiene Management, and encouraging open conversations on the subject, by the people who matter the most to the young girl – her family.

To unmute and normalise conversations around periods, Stayfree wanted to nudge those primarily responsible for a young girls’ holistic coming of age – mothers and fathers – to step up and do more to change this narrative of shame and silence. This journey began in 2020 when Stayfree helped young girls say ‘It’s Just a Period’ by encouraging their fathers and mothers to say it with them. After all, while menstruation may mark the physical maturity of a girl’s body, she is still emotionally vulnerable and ill-equipped to brave societal stigmas around periods. Hence, it becomes imperative for the people closest to the young girl – fathers, mothers, and teachers – to help her understand that periods are just a normal biological process.

Continuing this school of thought, Stayfree’s new film aims to encourage fathers to be involved in the period conversation with daughters because every conversation has an impact beyond that moment. It helps set the tone that periods need not be hushed conversations and open dialogue can make the father-daughter bond stronger.

Manoj Gadgil, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health’s vice president of marketing for India, noted that they believe the onus of normalising period conversations rests on the people that the young girl trusts – her family, teachers, and society at large, and Stayfree is once again stressing the role of a father because they realised that there is a distinct vacuum in a father-daughter relationship during her teenage years. 

He further shared that right from the daughter’s birth, fathers are increasingly taking on greater responsibility for caregiving; a fact recognized by corporates who are now offering generous paternity leaves, and these same fathers want nothing but the best when it comes to supporting her dreams and ambitions, no matter how unconventional they may be. 

“Yet, during her teenage years, they take a step back and let the mother become the primary parent to help her navigate her periods. This begins the subtle conditioning around periods – hushed voices, not to be spoken about in front of the men of the household and the accompanying worry about storing, changing, and disposing of pads. This film urges fathers to do more- to talk to their daughters and help drive more positive social norms and behaviour around periods,” said Gadgil.

Meanwhile, Pallavi Chakravarti, DDB Mudra’s creative head for West, said “‘So what if Dad pretended that periods didn’t exist? So, what if he pointedly looked the other way when I was young and confused and bleeding for the first time? It isn’t his job to talk to me about menstruation’ – Women believe this to be true. Stayfree digs deeper to unearth what lies beneath this age-old norm, resulting in revelations for both fathers and daughters.”

Marketing Featured South Asia

McDowell’s No. 1 gathers IPL players to chant different ‘Yaari’ cheers in new campaign

India – McDowell’s No. 1, Indian brand of spirits, has launched a cheerful campaign #No1YaariCheers (friendship cheers) with an aim to add a fun and energetic twist to the regular cricket viewing experience this IPL season. The campaign conceptualized by DDB Mudra features IPL players such as Virat Kohli from Royal Challengers Bangalore, Yuzvendra Chahal from Rajasthan Royals, Kieron Pollard from Mumbai Indians and many more, to bring alive the stadium action on the screen.

The 2022 Indian Premier League which is also known as IPL 15 is the fifteenth season of the IPL, a professional Twenty20 cricket league, which kicked off matches in March.

Participating in a group activity creates a stronger sense of belonging as well as strengthens connections between people, and the films intend to unite IPL fans and create delightful Yaari (friendship) moments. Using this insight, the brand created a series of clutter-breaking cheers for all kinds of Yaari moments, capturing the camaraderie between fans and teammates. To take it up a notch, each of the teams also had a regional chant with a local touch.

One of the features in the campaign series

Speaking about this association, Ruchira Jaitly, executive vice president and portfolio head for marketing at Diageo India, said that Cricket is a sporting extravaganza that brings the entire country together with inspiring sporting action that’s a feast for Indians across the length and breadth of the country, so they are delighted to be associated with these 6 iconic teams. 

“Moreover, this cricket season is the perfect platform to bring alive the special moments when yaars connect and make magic happen, whether while playing or while watching this tournament. To further add to the fun and entertainment, we are excited to give fans a chance to cheer for their teams with inspiring and playful language like never before. McDowell’s No.1 Soda is proud to share the spirit of Yaari with these amazing teams and build a meaningful new partnership,” said Jaitly. 

Commenting on the campaign, Neeraj Kanitkar, executive creative director for DDB Mudra West, said, “No.1 Yaari, six of the biggest IPL teams and 18 superstars deserve a grand platform. #No1YaariCheers is just that. A new language of Yaari that fuses what yaars do – from showing support to inspiring to teasing to provoking to badgering and everything in between – support, inspire, tease, provoke, badger – with the language of cricket. With the cricketers not having to so much act but simply express their Yaari for each other, they brought their own style to the cheering/chanting. Making for entertaining shoots and an exuberant bunch of films.

Sujay Ghosh, the agency’s executive vice president and business partner, added, “Chants (Cheers) connect people and help form stronger bonds with their group of friends and fans. We took this insight and developed a campaign which can play a role in culture during this cricket season. McDowell’s No. 1 has always stood for bonds of friendship. And Cheers have always brought fans together and made their fandoms epic, we mounted our idea based on these two inputs and created a new language for fans and friends to enhance the engagement and celebration for this cricket season across language and regions.”

The campaign is currently live across digital platforms such as Disney+Hotstar, YouTube, mCanvas, Facebook and Twitter.

Marketing Featured South Asia

DDB Mudra Group names Aniruddha Deb as new EVP, head of business for North

India – Advertising agency DDB Mudra Group has appointed Aniruddha Deb, former senior vice president and executive business director at Wunderman Thompson, to be its new executive vice president and head of business for North. 

In his new role, Deb will be overseeing the integrated business between DDB Mudra and 22feet Tribal Worldwide in the North office.

Deb brings with him more than 19 years of brand stewardship experience in advertising and marketing. He has worked with global brands like Unilever, Nestle, Wipro, Samsung, LG, HSBC, and Vodafone, as well as KFC, and Subway. Aside from his recent stint at Wunderman Thompson, Deb has served as the chief marketing officer at smartphone brand Mobiistar. He has also worked with agencies such as Ogilvy, Publicis Groupe and Cheil Worldwide.

Deb shared that what got him is the company’s constant endeavour to grow and build great brands through recognisable and effective creative work and the ability and eagerness to provide integrated solutions irrespective of the kind of business they hold. 

“It really excites me to come on board and lead client partnerships across mainline and digital. I hope to play a significant part in the Group’s ongoing growth journey,” said Deb

Meanwhile, Ashutosh Sawhney, DDB Mudra Group’s managing partner for North, commented, “Aniruddha’s appointment is in sync with this growing need as he complements both these skill sets with aplomb and has a keen appreciation of what is effective, creative work. We’re excited to see what the future of this hybrid model at the group holds with him on board.”

Just recently, DDB Mudra Group has elevated Vanaja Pillai to be its new head of diversity, inclusion, and impact. She will be working on initiatives to grow a diverse and inclusive workplace, including talent acquisition, retention, training, and outreach to talent in underrepresented communities.

Marketing Featured South Asia

DDB Mudra Group elevates Vanaja Pillai to head of diversity, inclusion, and impact

Mumbai, India – Advertising agency DDB Mudra Group has elevated Vanaja Pillai, former consultant of diversity and inclusion at DDB Mudra Group, to be its new head of diversity, inclusion, and impact.

Pillai was the driving force behind the agency’s ‘Phyllis India Project’, which is one of the industry’s most comprehensive and intense leadership development programmes with consistent and deep interventions, to help prepare DDB’s women talent for leadership.

In her new role, Pillai will be working closely with Aditya Kanthy, DDB Mudra’s CEO and managing director, and Rita Verma, DDB Mudra’s head of HR, on initiatives to grow a diverse and inclusive workplace, including talent acquisition, retention, training, and outreach to talent in underrepresented communities. She will also be leading the creation and delivery of effective growth and development opportunities rooted in the company’s purpose and growth strategy. 

Pillai said that over the next year, they will focus on a select set of DEI goals and approach them with the same rigour and passion that made the Phyllis India Project what it is today. 

“From an overall talent perspective, the pandemic made us even more aware of the need for constantly focusing on people and their growth. We hope to make some of our talent programs world-class this year,” added Pillai.

Meanwhile, Kanthy shared that besides being a stellar leader, having run operating roles in the agency business with flair and distinction, Pillai has over the last two years built one of the industry’s best-run diversity programs – the Phyllis India Project. 

“This work with the Group’s effort as a global network to bring in diverse voices to help shape workplace culture and brand communication of the future,” said Kanthy. 

Nikki Lamba, DDB Worldwide’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer, noted that Pillai’s work on the Phyllis India program has been applauded across DDB’s borders and is a brilliant example of senior leadership driving actionable change in advancing DEI within the DDB family. 

“We are excited about her taking on this larger mandate and bringing DEI to the heart of our business, people and product strategies in India. There is a lot of good work happening already in parts of the DDB network that India will surely build off and gain from,” said Lamba.

Just recently, DDB Mudra Group has also announced the appointment of Anand Murty as the national strategy head for DDB Mudra and Mehak Jaini as the national strategy head for 22feet Tribal Worldwide. Both will be leading the group’s promise of a cohesive view across advertising, digital marketing and media.

Marketing Featured South Asia

ACKO uses humorous cues to promote car insurance offering in latest ad

Bengaluru, India – In line with the upcoming Indian Premier League this year, insurance company ACKO has launched a marketing campaign in a bid to highlight the value propositions that a consumer can expect when buying directly from ACKO’s.

The ad films, created and conceptualised by The DDB Mudra Group, rely on quirky, humorous scenarios to drive home a simple message and a call to try the ACKO app to experience these benefits firsthand. The new campaign also brings back the characters of Murthy and Funcle from last year’s campaign and builds on the funny dynamic between them. 

In addition, the campaign, titled #CheckACKO, encourages viewers to check the ACKO app to discover the benefits, such as savings up to Rs. 50,000 on new car insurance, claim settlements in 24 hours and the benefits of buying directly from ACKO.

Ashish Mishra, executive vice president for marketing at ACKO General Insurance, said, “Research told us that consumers are unaware that they can actually save a huge amount of money if they pay attention to the cost of the insurance. With ACKO, the savings can be as high as 50k as they are buying straight from the company. That’s what the campaign is focused on, delivering the message in ACKO’s unique style of humour. The character Murthy has become very popular with the audiences and we just had to keep his adventures going.”

He added, “IPL is a great media property to launch new campaigns as it attracts large audiences. This year, we are the leading sponsors of six IPL teams and we are hoping that this campaign will play a crucial role in helping the brand connect with the base of IPL fans.”

Commenting on the campaign launch, Pallavi Chakravarti, creative head at DDB Mudra West, commented, “Getting one’s car ACKO insured is a no-brainer – what with same day claim settlements, savings of up to fifty thousand and much more. But sometimes one misses the boat and goes on to regret it. With this new 360 campaign, the misadventures of the long-suffering Murthi continue, as Funcle keeps extolling the many virtues of Acko at the strangest of moments.”

The first ad film of the series went live on March 31 and amplified across television, digital, and social media.