By Sara Kiyani
Living as we do in
, it is a blessing that we still know what sky means. I mean, when was the last time you saw the skyline? The horizon? A starry night? Lately Karachi has given up most of its already non-existing skyline to space hogging billboards and pole signs. You drive down Shahrah-e-Faisal and all you see is a parade of 60x20s sprawling all over. Although I would normally complain about this, I am convinced that we have so many things to whinge about, so I might as well try to find some good in this. So here goes... Karachi
Message: New Dove gives you the freedom to colour.
Effectiveness: Clean, crisp and simple.
We have finally broken free of the practice of dividing the space into three boxes; placing a pretty picture in the first, the message in the second and the product in the third. This is a neat layout, making good use of the space. The visual is pleasant and brings out a sense of softness – which is what the product is all about. And I like the fact that someone thought let’s not show flowy hair accompanied by a smiley face.
Verdict: I’m quite liking this! Works well amidst the clutter of the other billboards. There is a certain serenity to it and it is quite noticeable. Works well in the day and at night.
Campaign: Best Pampers
Message: Unbeatable leakage prevention.
Effectiveness: I saw this at night and it looks pretty nice. Pleasant to the eye.
The white background works well. However, I see this happening a lot now; somebody should explore something else, before we have an overkill of white, pleasant design. Anyway, as I said, it is nice, simple and effective. The backlit effect works and makes one notice what the brand wants us to notice most.
Verdict: So what? I mean I like it, but it doesn’t really tickle me.
Campaign: Let’s play
Message: Classic 7 Hi-Fi speaker.
Effectiveness: Didn’t we just miss that? The three boxed layout. So let’s go box by box. The first has happy, shiny, ridiculously smiling people, for no reason at all really – at least the design failed to give me a reason. The World Cup is over, no? There may be other matches on, but when you put cricket in your advertising it has to be big, and big is the World Cup. So fail there. The art direction is terrible. Attention to detail is missing. And the ketchup bottle on the table and the lamp are really annoying. It is obvious they wanted to show a café, so they created a fake one in a house. As for the other two boxes – never mind.
Verdict: It’s just too blah!
Campaign: Owsum’s new packaging
Message: Piyo dutt kay!
Effectiveness: I haven’t tried the product, but then maybe it isn’t for me. The message is strictly for kids and maybe it has encouraged them to try it. As for me, there is nothing enticing here. Flavoured milk is supposed to be yummy, right? There isn’t anything yummy about the communication. However, I like the fact that they are clearly talking to kids, making them the heroes, unaccompanied by a doting mother. The range of activities shown is a good hook. And the backlit factor – just so much fun! They could have spared themselves the cut-outs. Really didn’t add to it!
Verdict: I hope the kids are noticing. I am noticing when those backlights are on!
Campaign: Nationwide launch
Message: Live in your world, play in ours.
Effectiveness: Qubee is one confused brand! It’s almost as though they are scared. They will have a great idea, but the execution will make it barely average. I love their latest billboard campaign. There are plenty of them and some are at good locations. The message is daring, the visuals are uninhibited and the colours are splendid. Problem is, you drive around in the evening, and you realise they don’t have a campaign! In the evening, the billboards vanish. They are so poorly lit that even slowing the car down, you miss them.
Verdict: I love them! But let me see them properly. A little bit more money required maybe?
Sara Kayani is Associate Creative Director, IAL Saatchi & Saatchi. email@example.com
First published in the July-August 2011 issue of