This is the month of celebrations when many companies launch campaigns to rejoice the independence. One such campaign that went viral was the thought-provoking commercial launched by Ufone.

A successful telecom operator with Pakistani roots, Ufone is a brand associated with humour. Hence, this take on emotional communication has really made it standout. Ufone celebrates the month with bursting enthusiasm, urging every Pakistani to raise the national flag with pride and honour and further emphasising that we should feel proud of our nation and all that it has accomplished.

Using the flag, the symbol and strength of our country, Ufone has managed to reach out well to its audience with this soul stirring commercial. It evokes the relationship our present has with our past and reminisces about the glory of our beloved flag and as a nation how fervently we used to hoist and proudly wave it.

It made many of us recall how we celebrated this glorious day in the past, when wearing green, buying flags and badges and decorating our houses with flickering lights and flag streamers was almost like a yearly ritual. Over time, this tradition has faded away, leaving us devoid of the excitement, pride and courage it used to instill within us.

Wasim Akram is shown leading the way. For many he is the national hero, and his statement “Kyunke agar aaj hum dobara jhanday lehrana shuru kardain, tou yaqeenan dobara jhanday gaarna bhi shuru kardaingay”, triggered emotions in many and personally touched numerous hearts.

Having said that, let’s pull away from the audience for a minute and stand on the other side.

Can you see what’s happening?

Bringing the idea of this correlation into light and persuading the nation to gloriously celebrate Independence Day, has not only promoted the day – but most importantly promoted Ufone itself. Clearly, this is exactly what every brand does, but why play with the nation’s emotions? It has now become a common practice in Pakistan to promote brands using the national spirit on occasions like Ramazan, Eid and Independence Day.

Most people must have bought a Ufone sim rather than a flag after this commercial, specially since Ufone promised to give its customers a surprise gift. Ufone succeeded in doing what they wanted, at the expense of a nation that fails to see beyond the obvious. Giving them 14 free minutes (which they were supposed to utilise the same day) was not a gift to celebrate the day but to make the customers utilise the services. They are fully aware that people tend to get carried away and would certainly need more than 14 minutes to wish people Independence Day.

Moreover, after a senseless escape from prison in his previous Ufone commercial, Wasim Akram now wants us to be loyal to our nation?

Yes, most of you will say that these are just commercials which aren’t even linked together and we shouldn’t take it seriously. But have you realised companies spend a lot of time and money on concept, sets, production and brand ambassadors and they definitely expect people to take them seriously. Why would they spend so extravagantly otherwise? And if they must, why not spend on a concept that stays, rather than emotions that will eventually die a few days later?

No doubt the commercial was brilliantly shot with a gratifying message, perfectly set for the occasion. But I wish more commercials were made with a concept that would have immediate brand recall rather than using the safer option of playing with our emotions.

Follow the Advertising Analysis series here.

 


The writer is a New Media Design Manager at Dawn.com

Updated Aug 18, 2012 07:21am

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Comments (31) (Closed)


Tayyab
Aug 19, 2012 01:58pm
What a disappointing article.......That was a beautiful add with heart warming slogan; any criticism, regardless of potential commercial aspect, is misplaced. We should take every opportunity to raise National Spirit and Morale in these testing times...
nicknottaken
Aug 18, 2012 02:25pm
Or perhaps the 14 free minutes was a much later decision to give something from your own shop to the people. If it weren't, the concept would have revolved around 'giving'. In any case, anybody who gets paid by a news channel or a newspaper has no right to speak for the people or Pakistan. Because news channels and newspapers are spreading wholesale depression, demoralization and if they could, would murder someone to create a death news on a day there isn't a murder. So please! Each and every brand that did something for the Independence Day, salute to them all for throwing in just a pinch of hope in the ocean of hopelessness that news companies want us all to drown in. And please, do some internship in an ad agency and actually learn something about how things are done in this market (not in your books) before you write your next piece of gurulicious analysis.
Noman
Aug 18, 2012 01:58pm
i find the message in this article quite confusing... first off, this comercial was brilliant, it's message was never intended to make you go out and get a uphone sim or anything, but wanted our sleeping nation to feel a sense of pride in the country and its flag, so what is so wrong in that ?!?!?! dont know about the writer of the article but some people still feel a sense of pride in being a pakistani and always would, so what if its not a perfect state, but then again what have we done to make it better anyways, rather than whine about everything and anything thats wrong here?! Secondly, Stop this Wasim Akram bashing, he is a legend in cricket and besides this comercial was not based on his cricket career or his decisions afterwards. Lastly, the message that the writer wants delivered is that, brands should not advertise their products !?!?!? duh !!!!
k2k
Aug 18, 2012 11:39am
What a waste of my time going through this article...
shehzad77
Aug 18, 2012 10:19am
Nice article though but there is one issue that Wasim Akram was a corrupt man who destroyed the Pakistani cricket. He made corruption at every step and also make sure that others join him. The result of his at helm made Pakistan a sorry figure today in the world of cricket playing nations. If Pakistani's think that these type of people are their national heroes then I can only say that God save this country or make us to Zinda Bhag :)
sohaib
Aug 19, 2012 07:46pm
i think it was an amazig ad and if they are making a 1 min 29 sec ad about Pakistan they have all the right to add their brand name and the offer, which wasnt even 10 sec long. good job ufone
Saeed
Aug 19, 2012 06:44pm
Senseless article totally waste of time
Wally
Aug 20, 2012 09:54am
the fact that you wrote this article proves that ufone has succeeded in doing what it wanted...
Mohsin Naqvi
Aug 19, 2012 10:30am
Please let me add to all you patriotic people that this advertisement was appreciated well by many i know and it really did provoke patriotism in most of us and i enjoyed that old feeling of my childhood celebrating Independence day.
Doorie
Aug 19, 2012 10:16am
Seems like this lady has no topic to write an article....
ammariftikhar
Aug 19, 2012 11:46am
"The article started well but ended senselessly." In fact is the other way around. The writer is just whishing that these commercials may be more pure filtered from the hidden SIM activation stuff & shouldn't be opportunistic but true & solid...
Gogi
Aug 18, 2012 08:24am
I dont understand this argument... Its a beautiful commercial, done very well and something that really connects the people. Brands are supposed to promote themselves so what?? Dawn newspaper does the same. Showing a 70 year old picture of the Quaid and his association with the paper... Is it playing with emotions???
Adeel
Aug 18, 2012 07:37am
Good observation , but branding and CSR are two different things , its not only brands in Pakistan but everywhere else around the world who use similar gimmicks. Not that I support this ad, but I would like to be more optimistic and think that the brand message was given out well, and they did trigger our patriotism , be it for just 14 minutes!! And congrats to Wasim on being the new brand ambassador for ufone. Well! endorsements pay more than commenting at a cricket game & why be patriotic and share your skills with the country by giving them coaching classes. Like I said there is already too much pessimism in the air, I just want to breather some optimistic air for a while ! Nice article though!
@opportunist86
Aug 19, 2012 12:31pm
Waseem Akram? A national hero? These culprits are responsible for the downfall of this nation. But this ignorant nation forgets and forgives too soon. No one remembers what he did in 99 world cup and made million or may be trillions at the cost of this nation's emotions. How come he becomes the hero now?
Positive Pakistani
Aug 18, 2012 09:05am
"Most people must have bought a Ufone sim rather than a flag after this commercial, specially since Ufone promised to give its customers a surprise gift."......I don't agree with this....in fact myself (a lethargic soul) was rejuvenated to go to my store room..find out a big flag which we used hoist almost 10-12 years back.....press it....and then tie it on our roof top.....and then feel satisfied........so you see!....motivation makes difference!!
ermughan
Aug 18, 2012 09:17am
The simple fact is that as a Pakistani, this advertisement invoked in me the sense of belonging and after a break of 4 year, I actually went to the market to buy a flag, to buy badges just not for myself but for all the kids living in my street. I actually sat down on 14th august with children and elders and we discussed Pakistan.. Our strengths .... and everything optimistic. So "brands" If your ads can return even one person back to the patriotism that was our strength then please make 1000 more ads like these
Fahad
Aug 19, 2012 01:04pm
Totally agree with Gogi, what is the point of commercials if they don't use something the viewers like and associate with and promote a brand. This commercial is way better than the kind of bollywood-esque Mobilink and Zong commercials that have been thrown our way in the past. Just for the record no one in my family owns or has owned a Ufone SIM at any point except mine which I lost a long time ago or has any attachment to Ufone.
Waqas
Aug 18, 2012 09:54am
The article started well but ended senselessly. Thats what our nation needs in current times, to have the courage to appreciate other efforts and the tolerance to accept one's error and successes! This has long gone. It is a nice commercial and the argument of comparing commercials is baseless. would request the writer to please have a heart to appreciate the work here as atleast the writer has understood the concept. Please do not act as a tool for competetor brand which is quite obviously sensed after reading this article. Happy Independence Day!
pakistanisports
Aug 18, 2012 07:32pm
I really believe that we should have optimistic approach. The Idea given in the ad that When we will start taking pride in our nationality, we will start doing good at international level, No one can actually deny that. Look at indians, their media is always there to boost their morale. If Ufone is doing this, and reaping benefits for itself, What is the harm in that? I could not understand the harm in this. My apologies though if it has hurt anyone.
aamirjawed2008
Aug 18, 2012 08:13pm
It's a bitter but true reality which is well highlighted by Mr.Shehzad ..
aamirjawed2008
Aug 18, 2012 08:20pm
You are absolutely correct my friend but to highlight the fact that millions of Rupees are spent on advertisement which can be cut and spent wisely . cheers !!
umair
Aug 18, 2012 08:46pm
we dont have to waive flag to be a Pakistani, contribute in a society. find solutions for poverty and healthcare and the darkness which lurks in our hearts for fellow pakistanis....peace
Ajaya K Dutt
Aug 18, 2012 09:50pm
Fixation with "yaqeenan dobara jhanday gaarna bhi shuru kardaingay".
pakistanisports
Aug 18, 2012 10:55pm
Can it be more wise? We are all talking about it :)
Shehzad
Aug 19, 2012 04:00am
The author seems to have an agenda in making a patriotic ad look like commerce based trick. Disappointing and very anti-Pakistani!
Guest II
Aug 19, 2012 05:23am
But can the efforts of this blogger be called "analysis of advertising"? I think not!
Tanveer Ahmed
Aug 19, 2012 05:33am
Corrupt are the once who cannot respect their heroes. Wasim Akram is heartbroken because of the lilliterate and intolerant citizenns of Pakistan. What do you mean he should give cheap comments like all other Pakistani commentators who are on the desk, giving silly views of the game.
ammariftikhar
Aug 19, 2012 11:21am
"The article started well but ended senselessly." In fact it is the other way around, the writer is just wishing for a more pure message filtered from the SIM activation that speaks truly & solely & dedicated that are not opportunistic but solid.
shahid
Aug 20, 2012 07:02am
according to dawn writers Pak should learn frm India and be like them.
nicknottaken
Aug 20, 2012 06:09pm
Agreed. Where to start? I think the Flag is a good point to, no?
Yousuf Zahid
Aug 22, 2012 06:44am
At least nothings unethical in this commercial though somebody's perception may beg to differ. Speaking of ethics, has a voice been raised against the fairness cream ads which play mind games and convince you to believe that a fair skin will land you at a good job, be popular in social circles, achieve success and above all find yourself a pretty boy or girl. That's killing the self esteem, corrupting the moralities and degenerating the very fabric of our society. Its a different debate altogether whether a person will be fairer or not after 14 days.