Iconic Ads: Asian Paints – Wah Sunil Babu

The intention was to highlight the importance of using good lasting paints for the exteriors.

Indians and their homes are exposed to extreme climates – sunny, rains, cold etc. Likewise, the exterior paints on the walls are exposed to the same harsh weather conditions.

The only exterior paint brand which Asian Paints had in 2004 was a distemper based Utsav. And the communication was festive based.

If at all they painted, Indians usually painted their houses before important festivals like Diwali, Pongal, Onam/ Vishu etc. Given the nature of festivals, the tone of the commercials was warm & emotional.

When Asian Paints launched their new exterior emulsion based paint brand Apex, the communication became rational and demonstrative with a tinge of envy. The intention was to highlight the importance of using good lasting paints for the exteriors. This was never important to Indians in general and was new to them.

Ogilvy’s Abhijit Avasthi’s funny take on inquisitive neighbours and the sarcastic comments they pass more out of jealousy became the film idea. The commercial was directed by Prasoon Pandey.

Ogilvy had to search for the lead character and finally found Jameel Khan when he was performing a play at Prithvi Theatre (he had never done ads before). And to him goes the credit of the famous ending of the commercial. The script had mentioned that Jameel had to end it with the line ‘Kya Baat Hai’ but he ended up saying ‘ Badiya Hai’. It fitted well if not better.

At first, the commercial appears to irritate and get a leer from the viewers, but it grew on customers and became a part of everyday speech.

The advertising put forward the promise of ‘Paints that stood the test of time’.

Badiya Hai!

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