Center Fresh: Goes mad… a good sign

The makers of Center Fresh have finally done what they ought to have been doing from the start. Which is to go mad. And this time, it’s a dhamaal commercial

One significant change that has happened in Indian advertising in the last decade or so is that unlike in the past, advertising for candies has gone madder and madder. And that's a good thing. I recall the 90s (and earlier) when advertisers used to rationalise with the consumers in their ads, by selling 'benefits' like freshness, taste, quality, etc. And that approach was really silly, to be honest. A candy is a floozy product, a time-pass item… one needs to have fun with it, and that's what the ads should also be: nonsensical fun.

However, for some strange reasons, Center Fresh slipped into the serious mode and ran ads that reminded one of the solemn 90s. They tried to plug in a social message if you please, which preached that Indians must talk less and work more. Guess that idea must have been a disaster (unsurprisingly). The makers of Center Fresh have finally done what they ought to have been doing from the start. Which is to go mad. And this time, it's a dhamaal commercial.

The situation is a bank robbery. A masked man arrives at the cashier's window, flashes a gun, and demands that all cash be handed over to him. And he also threatens the rest of the staffers, who naturally panic and freeze. The robber collects the money bag and escapes through the front door. Then, a lady officer calls out for the security. And the thief promptly returns. Basically, it was the bank's security guard who had turned into a thief, but because of the force of habit, he could not resist answering to the call of 'Security'. The voice over says: 'Phisal gayee zubaan?' Suggesting that had the man been consuming Center Fresh, he would have been tongue-tied. And would have made off with the loot. As in, 'Zubaan pe rakhe lagaam'.

Yes, the ad is insane. And that's what I like about it. Forget offering tangible benefits, there's not even a single shot of the brand being consumed. That would have been unthinkable till even a few years ago. Also, the commercial is shot well. The treatment, the casting, the editing… all done quite slickly. It keeps you in, and has a cute ending. Brand recall should not be a problem.

Now let's hope Center Fresh does not get mucho serious all over again. And its managers, er, think less and learn to enjoy more!


India’s growth drivers intact; govt committed to reforms: FM

Although industrial growth slowed down to 6.3% in April 2011, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee held an optimistic view saying that the medium-term growth prospects for the economy remain buoyant

New Delhi: Dismissing fears of a slowdown, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said India's growth drivers are intact and the Centre is committed to policy reforms, reports PTI.

"Though there is some slowdown in industrial growth, partly due to the base effect from the previous year, the growth drivers of the Indian economy remain broadly intact," Mr Mukherjee said at a seminar organised by his ministry and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Factory output slowed down to 6.3% (vis-à-vis a 2004-05 base) in April 2011, from 13.1% in the corresponding month of the previous year.

Mr Mukherjee said the medium-term growth prospects for the economy remain buoyant.

"I am confident that we are in a position to sustain high economic growth in the coming years and create a more inclusive outcome of our society," he said.

India aims to grow at 9%-9.5% during the XIIth Five-Year Plan, starting April 2012.

"It would imply raising the average growth rate by at least one percentage point from 8.2%, likely to be realised in the XIth Plan," he said.

Mr Mukherjee further said that the government was committed to policy reforms.

"Major steps have been taken to simplify and place the administrative procedures concerning taxation, trade and traffic and social transfers on electronic interface, free of discretion and bureaucratic delays," he said.

The Direct Taxes Code (DTC) is scheduled to become operational from 1 April 2012, while a constitutional amendment bill on Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced in Parliament earlier this year.


Oil regulator refuses to recognise Reliance’s three gas discoveries

The DGH rejected the proposal to declare the discoveries as commercial, saying that Reliance and its Canadian partner Niko Resources had not provided results of tests done on individual wells to confirm the finds

New Delhi: In a disquieting development for Reliance Industries (RIL), oil regulator Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has refused to accredit three natural gas discoveries made by the company at its KG-D 6 block, where revival of the sagging output depends on production from new finds, reports PTI.

The DGH rejected D-30, D-31 and D-34 finds in the KGDWN-98 /3 or KG-D 6 block as commercially exploitable discoveries on account of low reserves they may hold, sources privy to the development said.

RIL, which has seen output from its main fields in the eastern offshore block fall by over 20% since March last year, wanted to tie-up the smaller discoveries together to a common facility to produce 5.7 million metric standard cubic metres of gas per day (mmscmd)—double of what state-owned ONGC’s newest gas field, C Series, produces. But DGH rejected the proposal to declare the discoveries as commercial, saying that Reliance and its Canadian partner Niko Resources had not provided results of tests done on individual wells to confirm the finds.

Sources said it also turned down the indicative production profile made by RIL saying, “MDT tests used do not provide sustainable production levels, which is a requirement for evaluation of commerciality of discoveries.”

Reliance, in its proposal, had estimated in-place reserves of 749 billion cubic feet in the three finds, which would have needed $877.2 million in capital expenditure to produce peak rate of 5.7 mmscmd. The Mukesh Ambani-run company had in 2008-09 made four gas discoveries, D-29, D-30, D-31 and D-34 in the KG-D 6 block. In July 2009, it submitted a proposal for declaring them as commercial, a step after which the company could have firmed up investment proposal for bringing the finds into production.

Sources said DGH, in the first instance, rejected Declaration of Commerciality of all the four finds saying the gas volumes were too low to justify production. However, Reliance persisted with its claims and DGH declared D-34 as commercial with an estimated peak production level of 14.68 mmscmd over eight-year life of the field with $2.338 billion investment in development, they said.

RIL, however said that it has not received a copy of the report and therefore cannot comment on specific issues. In a release, RIL spokesperson said, "Reliance Industries strongly affirms that as a responsible Operator, it has fully complied with the requirements in the PSC at all times in conducting petroleum operations, and refutes any suggestion to the contrary. The KG D6 project is a significant contributor to the country’s economy and has been globally acclaimed for its cost effective, speedy, flawless execution & smooth commissioning."

On Monday, RIL shares closed 1.84% lower at Rs926.65 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex ended the day flat at 18266 points .


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)