Iconic Ads: Cadbury – Kuch Khaas Hai

Cadbury had a simple brief – they wanted adults to eat chocolates as the chocolate market was not growing.

Sometime in 1993, Piyush Pandey was on holiday in the US visiting Michigan, Florida, Hawaii etc.

While in Hawaii, he had a desperate call from his Managing Director, Ranjan Kapur, asking him to rush back to India. Cadbury was unhappy with O&M’s work on Dairy Milk and the India Managing Director Rajeev Bakshi had threatened to sack them.

Till then, Piyush had a great time, visiting Disney and hearing an old uncle (who had angioplasty) enjoying rides that were not meant for him obviously, plus seeing an 80-year-old couple chasing a battery-operated car on all fours!

Cadbury had a simple brief – they wanted adults to eat chocolates as the chocolate market was not growing.

While scribbling down his ideas on the boarding card en route to Mumbai, the images of his uncle and the excited old couple became the basis for the new campaign inextricably woven with his love of cricket.

Once he reached Mumbai, he quickly briefed Abhinay Deo (film director, who was working in Ogilvy then) and Mahesh Mathai, who made the film Kuch Khaas Hain Asli Swaad. Zindagi Ka.

Shimona Rashi, nibbling her chocolate and dancing with gay abandon, stole everyone’s heart (in the first take without a choreographer, there were 14 retakes, but none of them was as good as the first one), much to Arvin Tucker’s surprise. It gave adults a reason to indulge the child within, with chocolates.

Some conventions were broken in the film. Shimona wore a frock at a time when India was traditional. She danced in public and this was frowned upon usually.

However, it also opened people’s minds that even a girl can be herself when she wants to – no questions asked, and that too at a time when a boy was preferred over a girl child.

Piyush had written the lyrics in English (on the plane) and recorded it with the music of Louis Banks. After he finished recording he realized it would be better in Hindi, and rewrote it. The song was sung by a young energetic Shankar Mahadevan.

The completed film was presented to the Cadbury team. After the presentation, Rajeev Bakshi walked up to him and hugged him.

It is also said that there was another inspiration.

On 1 Jan 1960, India was playing Australia at the Brabourne Stadium. On the last day, India was struggling to save the match. The stylish Hyderabadi (and handsome too) Abbas Ali Baig walked in and scored a fifty. At tea, while he was going towards the pavilion, a young lady jumped over the fence and kissed him on his cheek. It was ‘swinging sixties’ and a sensation in conservative India. (BTW other girls wanted to kiss him too)The commentator, Vijay Merchant on radio commentary said – where were these ladies when I was playing cricket. The other commentator said, “Your batting must have put them to sleep, Vijay.””

The account did remain with Ogilvy.

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