Iconic Ads: Happydent – Palace – Tera Dil Roshan

Prasoon had an idea of using human lamps within the construct of a regal Indian past. An extension of the idea of the earlier commercial.

When Happydent was launched by Perfetti in India, McCann Erickson was asked to handle the advertising.

It was a simple task. Happydent could make teeth white. The Italian commercial had a girl-gum-teeth-date routine. All McCann had to do was shoot an Indianised version.

But Prasoon Joshi at McCann had other ideas. Indians eat paan & betel, and shiny teeth are not a big thing here. And he felt a functional depiction would not work, but amplifying the whiteness would. He shot a commercial wherein a photographer took photographs using the shiny teeth of his assistants instead of a flash. He felt that this quirky & flippant way was the way forward.

Samir Suneja at Perfetti liked it and wanted more. And also up the game.

Prasoon had an idea of using human lamps within the construct of a regal Indian past. An extension of the idea of the earlier commercial. He discussed this with Ram Madhvani when they were at a shoot for another commercial. He also indicated that he was looking at international directors, as he felt apprehensive about Indian ones.

Prasoon earlier had discussed the same idea with Sameer Suneja and his reaction was “Are you serious?”. Prasoon was. And Sameer trusted Prasoon.

Ram pitched for it and sent around 12-15 mood boards based on the chat- theatre usher using a boy as is his torch, a kid under a human lamp, a human chandelier etc. Prasoon went through them, and for many reasons, Ram got to do the film. And also, a montage became a narrative.

The core idea and script came from Anirban Sen who pieced it all together. Prasoon had taken certain life experiences in this film, for example, the front wheel of the cycle falling off was from a similar experience his brother had with his sports cycle.

Together they created a world wherein everything was lit by the shining white teeth of men who had chewed Happydent.

The film was shot at Panvel with around 20 malkhamb specialists from Kerala and Maharashtra. The music was composed by Shantanu Moitra and sung by Kailash Kher. Coincidentally, music directors, Vishal & Sekhar were in the next studio. And when they saw the commercial they wanted to be associated with it. So they gave the Qawwali claps in the film.

Once the film was completed, Sameer Suneja was shown an 85 and a 60 seconder. (the actual plan was for 60 seconds). After Sameer saw the longer version he did not watch the other.

After the ad was released, Ram visited the Ogilvy office for another assignment, he received a standing ovation there.

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