The “Monks” advertising campaign for the 1996 World Cup Limited Edition Philips Pocket Radio was created by Ogilvy and well appreciated.
It was 1996. The Cricket World was jointly hosted by India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka.
Internet was frighteningly slow and people were still trying to figure out what it can do. India had just seen it then (forget smartphones)
Philips had pocket radios whose demand usually picked up for sports events especially cricket. To build awareness, they wanted to do press advertising for a limited edition version
Sumanto ‘Sumo’ Chattopdhyay and Uday Rao at Ogilvy were handling creatives for Philips
Philips had a limited budget so the instructions were to keep it simple.
Uday got the idea of a simple story/ script. He had visualised it to be a simple animation film – squiggle style (the budgets!!!).
Uday had scribbled it in his pad. Just then Sumo happened to peep in and was curious. He was excited and both of them expanded on the idea.
Uday and Sumo bounced it off Piyush Pandey. Piyush being Piyush, was equally excited. In his endearing style, he told “(choicest words 😁) Mast idea Hai. Teen film likho. Call Abhinay Deo now. Woh director banna chahta hai na? In-house production Kartein Hain. We’ll manage the money scene” (The now famous Abhinay Deo was the in-house producer at Ogilvy then)
Surprises did not cease – Two of the monks were colleagues at Ogilvy and the third one was their friend from Lintas, who all shaved of their heads for these commercials
Uday remembers – It went on to win the prestigious CAG solid Silver. And in those days it was quite a big thing to win and Ogilvy hadn’t won CAG for films before that, if I remember it correctly”
This was directorial debut for Abhinay Deo and for Uday my first TVC series. So many firsts.
Uday still has the U Matic sent by Abhinay couple of years later. Fond memories!
Thanks to Uday for reminding us of this great advertising and helping me write this