Aditya Birla Group: All sound, no substance

This corporate campaign has lots of special effects, surreal visuals and exotic locales—but it’s not going anywhere

The desi conglomerate Aditya Birla Group has released a brand new corporate campaign themed 'Let's reach for the sun'. The mysterious, esoteric commercial is a collage of people from different countries. Why different nations when the group is totally Indian? No idea. Perhaps they are trying to indicate global presence.

Anyway, the commercial, from whatever little I could comprehend (it’s much too noisy and gimmicky for my taste), features music as a metaphor that con-joins people. And the shots are of people playing on various instruments in forests, jumping over mountains and skies, and one dude even sports a full-back tattoo (just in case you think Aditya Birla isn’t hep).  
 
I don’t know what goes on inside the clients’ minds when they sanction and pay for this stuff. The group has released such commercials in the past as well. The last one had ‘Vande Mataram’ being hummed in the background. Wonder why they went away from it. Perhaps all the controversies over the song may have had something to do with it. Be that as it may, here’s my problem with corporate advertising of this kind: it’s a colossal waste of money. The Aditya Birla Group commercials are notorious for being bloody expensive, they hire international directors and musicians, shoot in exotic locales and the post production gets done in even more exotic studios. Commercials like these tell us zilch about the company. They are self-indulgent blind spots, commercials that float by like David Ogilvy’s famous ships in the dark. A lot of computer effects and noises, and not much else. To put it simply, the Aditya Birla Group’s advert is akin to ‘Avatar’ minus any story. I read somewhere the client imagines that such commercials impart a distinctive personality to the group. But what good is that if at the end of all those crores down, I know as little of the group as I did thirty seconds earlier?
 
And to take care of that problem, they have committed one of the biggest sins of advertising: shove in flying supers (messages) across the already busy screen, that boast of the number of employees, number of nations the group has presence in and more such numbers. Totally ignoring the fact that with such fast effects and visual drama, it’s impossible for any normal eye to read all that data. In fact, I noticed the numbers after the fifth exposure, and that too as an ad critic, where it’s my job to watch ads pretty closely. Think of the already disinterested viewers who do many other things in life while watching TV ads!
 
Bottom-line: I just don’t understand why these large groups can’t simply and charmingly tell us what they do. Why blind us with technology and deafen us with sound, when the end result is a one-way communication? Guess we’ll never know the answer.

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    COMMENTS

    Avinandan

    1 decade ago

    Despite that this article is trying to dispute the fact of the commercial is extra ordinary, I like the commercial very much!

    Shashank

    1 decade ago

    I'm actually a student of marketing, and would like to hear Mr. Anil's comments on my understanding of the concept of corporate branding.

    Dara

    1 decade ago

    I fully agree with all that Mr Anil Thakraney has to say about these advertsiements being issued by the Aditya Birla Group. Only an insder at the ad agency or at ABG can undersatnd and appreciate what the Ad wants to communciate. For us lesser mortals, it is a feeling of huge moeny down the drain and a waste of 45-60 seconds each time we view the ad........besides reading and writing about such wasteful efforts and "non-sense" ads!! I bet Mr Kumaramangalam Birla must not be watching TV or else he also may have protested.

    Prakash R. Mirpuri

    1 decade ago

    Yes I am in agreement with Anil Thakrarney

    Shashank

    1 decade ago

    i don't agree with the author's comments completely. the motive of that advertisement is NOT informing the viewers about the various businesses of Aditya Birla Group.

    the ad is focused on building the brand equity of ABG.

    here's an illustration to prove my point: take 2 persons, A & B. A has seen the expensive ad, while B has not.

    now, ABG enters a new industry and launches a brand for the same. the ad for that product features the standard "Aditya Birla Group" for 2 seconds at the end of the TVC

    Now other things remaining the same, the person A will definitely have a more positive attitude towards that new product vis a vis the person B.

    it is similar to Tata displaying "A Tata Enterprise" after every TVC. Tata already has a huge brand equity given its breadth and scale of operations. However, relatively lesser known groups like ABG need to build brand equity through dedicated campaigns.

    shirish vora

    1 decade ago

    it is best adds

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