Unless you’ve had your set tuned permanently to AasthaTV, there is no way you could have missed the virtual roadblock of the Indian airwaves inflicted upon us by DraftFCB and client Hero Honda, who decided to spend a lot of money this weekend on their 25th anniversary broadcasting an atrocity in the guise of an ad/music video/mile sur mera tumhara-update called ‘Dhak Dhak Go‘.
Good intentions aside, this ultimately boring bit of communication suffers on every count and deserves to quickly become a notorious footnote in history.
We are hosting a petition online to ask Hero Honda to spare us many more three-minute (yes – the ad is THAT long) pods of pain and to take the commercial off the air. Please sign here if you support us, and/or read on if you need convincing…
First, the idea – ‘Celebrate Young India’ – is THE cliche of the industry which has been trotted out ad nauseum by auto makers, biscuit makers, light switch makers and any other advertiser without a clue and with the supposition that some celebs, fast paced editing and a poor special effects show is all our spending masses need to lift their spirits and liberate their wallets. Indeed, Hero’s own ‘Desh Ki Dhadkan‘ campaign, which preceded this one, is a similarly poor (and thankfully shorter) effort in the same category. Did anyone at Hero track the results of that commercial? I’d love to know the results.
Shame on director Ravi Udyawar – who has in the past given us so many wonderful and ironic gems at Channel V and MTV, for Dhak Dhak No! sets a precedent in the annals of lazy production. The shot list reads like an index of crap-stock-we’ve-all-seen-before and hints at total creative bankruptcy:
Hrithik, the headline biker being pursued by black clad faceless dudes on some characterless foreign highway underpass; Hrithik, the superdancer showing up some Shiamak cronies in unecessarily tight silver spandex pants (did I mention the cronies are all men); counterpoint with Priyanka Chopra and her les gals doing a similar R and B two step, followed by a ride on some feminine scooties; then, lo and behold, there’s
the gaggle of B-price-list cricketers doing their clumsy best to look like tough guys; the awe inspiring shot of a cricket ball being bowled and bursting into a ball of flame; said ball being whacked into orbit by Sehwag (how did Pathan agree to this shot?); then, in a crazy, almost-never-before-seen sequence, the oddly assembled cricket quintet are joined by Rajyavardhan Rathore, who after hitting the bullseye on a 60 ft target, rides into a scene of rural celebration. Need I mention that the commercial ends with a cheap vfx shot of Hritik zig zagging flames out of the rear of his two stroke wonder, spelling out the brand promise?
(Calling SonyEricsson, you can erase the memory of that confusing Krazzy4 plagiarism business by suing Hero for their reuse of the Hrithik thump gesture – which hopefully you did trademark… you did, right??)
The jingle sucks – probably as much as “Mindandbawdyhartandsohole” – the infuriating Visa number which also had Shankar Mahadevan belting out the familiar ‘young india’ theme in his often maudlin, almost apologetic strain. (This ad comes packaged with a similarly awkward ‘step’ that, one presumes is to be executed while riding past another hero honda owner, road safety be damned!) I couldn’t understand then how Visa kept their ad on air despite the fact that we had embarrassingly exited the World Cup – but you have a chance to change the tide of history and stop this embarrassment.
“In our 25th year, we feel very young and energetic, and hence the idea was to do something different, and not follow the stereotype. We wanted to celebrate the young and emerging India – an India which is confident of taking on the world.
The catchy music track has been composed for a pan-India feel reflecting the brand’s reach. Composed by Ranjit Barrot and complemented by the voices of Shankar Mahadevan, Sukhwinder Singh and Shreya Ghoshal, it’s a perfect blend of sufi and rock, the flavour of music that the youth are with today.”
I would offer that the only original thing about the ad is the fact that all the riders keep their helmets on while in motion (though this might have been a new ASCI guideline).
And, I would have taken the high road and simply switched channels to save myself the grief, but this monstrosity is on every channel! Leave alone that I had to put up with it in mood-corrupting ad breaks during my HBO movie, my poor, impressionable son had to endure three Dhak Dhak interruptions in the course of one short and precious episode of Chuddi Buddy! A civilization can truly be said to be in decline when motorcycle stunts are being advertised on the local Cartoon Network.
I implore you to join me in this grail quest to force Hero Honda into doing something truly original by wheeling this ad off the air – I can assure you, they will get a lot more mileage out of that move. We’re even offering a catch of user generated ideas as replacements.