Indian Advertising — A musical journey

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” — Victor Hugo

The power of music could not have been better expressed by Victor Hugo, one of the greatest French authors.

Music means different things to different people. It may be an art for some and a refuge for some others. It may mean devotion for some and dance for some others. It may be a passion for some and a pastime for some others. Along with different connotations, one important quality music has is that good music stays for long in the mind of people. It catches their attention the first time it is played and evokes feelings at the same time.

This is precisely the reason that a lot of Indian brands from time to time relied on music to capture the share of heart and mind of the audience.

Let’s revisit some advertisements which made a mark through their melody and music and will remain etched in our memories forever.

  1. Titan Watches

The Titan tune, composed by A.R. Rahman, became synonymous with the brand Titan in the 80s and 90s. But only a few know that it was based on Mozart’s Symphony Number 25. Late Xerxes Desai, the founder of the iconic brand, himself a lover of western classical music along with late Suresh Malik, the then National Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather decided to use the symphony. The tune has taken different forms in advertisements since then, making it a timeless composition in the history of advertising in India.

2. Airtel

Again composed by A.R. Rahman, the 2002 ad also featured him. The tune he had composed for Airtel established a very high brand recall and became very popular. It still is considered one of the best all-time ads of Airtel.

3. Hero Motocorp

This was in 2011 when Honda decided to move out of the joint venture in Hero Honda and the company was renamed Hero Motocorp. The ad featured a song ‘Hum mein hai hero’, a motivational song which portrayed common men, women and children overcoming their fears and achieving excellence. The voiceover, in the end, said, “Har hindustani me ek hero hai” and revealed the new identity of the company. The song was full of zeal and immediately caught with the audience. Any guesses for who composed it?

A.R. Rahman, it was again!

4. Hero Motocorp — Splendor

“Chalta rahe tera mera meelon ka yaarana..”! Launched in 2015, the company again came up with a melodious song in their ad. Composed by Ankit Tiwari, the song which was high on emotions clearly made the ad stand out. It was one of the ad songs the audience liked to hum along.

5. Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India

Remember the ad in which people at different locations are shown looking up in the sky and soon a group of skydivers emerge. The skydivers successfully create a fascinating wing (the Honda logo) formation in the sky and receive applauded from the people. As mesmerising as the visualization was the song which played in the background — “Dekho dekhe ye zamana, panchhi uda jaye re..”!

6. Hutch (now Vodafone)

Who can forget the famous pug Cheeka! Conceptualised by O&M, the ad featured a pug who followed a little boy as he explored the lush green surroundings in the vicinity of his house. Well in tune with the tagline — “Wherever you go, our network follows”, the song “You and I” caught instantly with the audience. With its soulful lyrics and melody, the song still remains fresh in the minds of the people.

7. Airtel Digital TV

Was it only me or did the climax of this ad broke some other hearts too! Well, remember the ad featuring Saif Ali Khan, which portrayed young Saif and his long-lost childhood sweetheart? A beautiful song ‘Dil titli’ played in the backdrop as the ad progresses. The voice, guitar and the lyrics were simply magical. The lyrics ‘dil titli’ made sense as the climax unfolded.

8. TBZ

Apart from the beautiful Vaani Kapoor who enchants with her eyes as a bride, it was the peculiar yet lovely song which was the highlight of the ad. It surely made one watch the ad again and again!

9. Amul

We grew up watching this ad and humming the “Mero gaam Katha Pare” song. The song was originally a part of the movie ‘Manthan’ directed by Shyam Benegal. It was based on the milk cooperative movement pioneered by Amul. The folk song came to be known as the Amul song and deeply connected with the virtues of the company. In fact, the singer Preeti Sagar went on to win the Filmfare Best Female Playback Singer award.

Good music can clearly elevate the brand recall and work wonders for it. It can elicit strong emotions in the viewers and establish a strong brand connect. Not many companies in the recent times have used it to its full potential and it remains to be seen which one comes up next with captivating music to hold our attention.

Note — The YouTube videos do not belong to me and are the property of their rightful owners.

References :

Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles: India through 50 years of Advertising

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