In Part 1 of the series, the focus was on the zest and zeal with which Nerolac India regaled the Indian television viewer with their innovative commercial jingles. Part 2 pays tribute to Cadbury India and their slobber knocker jingle that formed part of the “Shubh Aarambh” (“auspicious beginning”) campaign. Before diving into the jingle, which even after a decade of its initial appearance, continues to remain memorably fresh, a clarificatory note on the name “Cadbury India” would be in order.
Cadbury India Limited, a subsidiary of Mondelēz International Inc., changed its name to Mondelez India Foods Limited, vide a Press Release issued on the 21st of April 2014. However, for the purposes of this piece the name Cadbury would be employed throughout since during the launch of the Shubh Aarambh campaign, the company was not renamed, and more importantly, even now, the word “Cadbury” is used in a manner fond and spontaneous, by young and old alike in addition to being carried on the product labels.
SHUBH AARAMBH COMMERCIALS
Cadbury India has always been on the ball in so far as commercials are concerned. Selecting endearing themes with a precision that can be termed surgical, the brand has symbolically and literally permeated and penetrated millions of households and taste buds! The hallmark of a Cadbury commercial is the accompanying jingle. Whether it be an ecstatic lady invading a cricket pitch, or a pair of young lovers manipulating puppets on a string whilst at the same time devouring Cadbury chocolates in a messy manner, the attendant jingle is what makes the commercial tick. Cadbury seems to know where and when exactly the rubber meets the road.
But Cadbury India, in my personal opinion bested their own high standards when they unleashed the Shubh Aarambh series of commercials. Conceptualised and created by Ogilvy India, Cadbury India took the simple and prosaic Indian tradition of partaking something sweet before embarking on any endeavour, to heights hitherto scaled. The messaging was powerful, profound and poignant. If the messages made for profundity, the jingle, in synchronized lockstep, served as the handmaiden of nostalgia. The beauty of the jingle lay in the fact that it looked designed for posterity, with a deliberation that was calculated and prescient. To be savoured not in the here and now, but ever after. The singularly fascinating feature of the jingle in the Shubh Aarambh series is its impeccable surprise. The timing is so delectably wicked! As the protagonists carry on their conversation a gentle and barely perceptible melody wafts in the background almost like a benevolent apparition. The viewer knows that there would be a stronger follow-up but has no clue where it might be lurking. Stealthily creeping up on the unsuspecting watcher, it makes a grand appearance. And by jove, doesn’t it pack a punch! Hitting the uninitiated like a ton of bricks, the damned ditty not just makes an impression but remains permanently imprinted in memory.
Since the proof of the pudding lies in the eating, here’s paying obeisance to my all-time favourite 3 “Shubh Aarambh” specials”
To a muted and haunting tune in the background, an anguished young girl is seen collecting her meagre belongings (that includes a tiny teddy bear soft toy) in a rush, fleetingly pausing in front of framed photographs of her father, before rushing down the stairs trying to wipe her eyes dry. We know that she is planning to elope with her boyfriend, when she gets into the car and exclaims to the man at the wheel, “Chalo.” (“lets go”). Her boyfriend in response, nods at the back seat, switches on the interior lights before remarking, “Yeh kuch kehna chahte hain” (“they want to say something”). To the girl’s utter bewilderment, the back seat is occupied by her family made up of a benevolent looking father, a slightly distraught mother, and a sprightly younger brother. The father looking at his daughter advises, “Shubh kaam karne jaa rahi ho. Kuch Meetha nahin khaoge? Kaam Accha hoga” (“you are embarking on an auspicious deed. Won’t you eat something sweet? The deed would be done”). The music picks up momentum when the small boy breaks away a small bit from a slab of Cadbury Diary Milk and offers it to his sister. She girl takes a bite of the chocolate and bursts into tears of joy!”
AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE!
A commercial that is jaw dropping in its originality and lasting in its impact. The middle-class shades to the advert is unmissable! The commercial begins with an elderly woman hiding behind an open door. It’s very apparent that she is planning to go out with her husband. “Jeans pehenke nahin aa sakthi” (“I cannot come wearing jeans”) she whispers in a voice filled with trepidation and apprehension. A calm and collected husband responds, “Arre kal tak to tum badi badi baaten kar rahi thi” (“But until yesterday you were waxing eloquent about this!”). “Padosi kya kahenge? Aur tumhari maa kya kahegi?” (“What will the neighbours think; what will your mum say?”). The lady by now is visibly aghast. With a fantastic spontaneity, the man casts a glance at the interior of the house digs into his satchel, brings out a Cadbury Diary Milk chocolate, and breaking a tiny slab offers it to his wife before explaining, “Maa? Maa to kahegi, shubh kaam karne se pehle meetha khalo, kaam accha hoga” (Mother! Mother says, “Before embarking on an auspicious deed, have something sweet. The deed would be successfully accomplished”). With a smile the lady bites into the chocolate and steps out with her husband. The lilting tone hits the reader in full force as a neighbor conveys his appreciation and surprise at the woman in jeans.
AN ETERNAL CLASSIC!
‘Child’s Play’ shows a soon-to-be-mother practicing hard in front of the mirror trying out various ways of breaking the news to her husband. When the husband catches her in the act, she blurts out to him that she feels like eating something sour. With a nod the man gets a Cadbury Diary Milk Chocolate, breaks away a slab and tells his wife to first eat something sweet before taking her in his arms. Again, the jingle in the background serves as a powerful medium and conveyance that carries the message through.