Sham Ramachandran's first favourite ad is the Indigo Airlines 'On Time' ad. He says, “It's a lovely, well-art-directed, well-written, well-choreographed and well-directed commercial. Wieden+Kennedy has taken this brand from nowhere to the top of the pyramid. And it's tremendously gratifying that it doesn't stop with the TV commercial. Every single piece of communication about this brand from the in-flight magazine to the announcements and the tiny stickers at the baggage collection, has got that quirkiness which makes it very endearing. I don't know about the consumers, W+K, but your peers are certainly in awe.”
The other one is the new Cinthol 'Alive is Awesome' campaign. He thinks, “Alive is Awesome is, um, awesome. It pulls this fuddy, old brand, kicking and screaming towards the next generation of users. The packaging too reflects this new bold and vibrant Cinthol. If you put aside the marketing justifications, the commercial makes me go and take a bath with Cinthol (but that might just be attributable to my slight obsessive compulsions). But accompanying the lather on my armpits would be the jingle on my lips. CLA (Creativeland Asia) is at it again.”
Thank god, it isn’t me
The two ads he does not like are Pepsi's 'Football Vs Cricket' ad and deodorant brand Zovi's campaign. He says, “Dear Pepsi, the eighties called and they want their derivative, plastic, literal advertising back. This has to be one of the biggest Pepsi disasters ever. It's wrong in so many levels. The film is so blatantly over the top and so wasteful of such a football wet dream. Simple evidence that a PPT cannot be saved as a TVC. A little more honesty in advertising and the baseline would've been "Change the Channel". Unfortunately, it's just too big to fail and the poor viewer bears the burden.”
Talking about the Zovi film, he says, “Zovi takes the whole check box TVC production to a new level. Cute girls, check. Chocolate hero, check. Comparison, check. Transformation, check. Clever word play, check. Plug-in website, check. Wide range, check. Even for horizontally endowed, check. Return policy, check. Hand cursor cliche to cue online, check. Zovi, I'm sorry.”
My first ad
Ramachandran’s first ever ad was a promo for a soap brand in 2003. Talking about his experience, he says, “It began with grand plans and I went to the extent of devising a new rig to get the effect I wanted. The director listened patiently to my breathless narration and ambitious vision, and told me and my writer Vishnu that the difference between vision and delusion is money and told us not too kindly to get real. So we got real and the end product was a mediocre looking promo. I suppose it taught us something with the words "means", "living" and "within" in the same sentence, but damned if I remember what.”
Sham Ramachandran kicked of his advertising career in 1999 with Network Advertising. After this, he moved to FCB-Ulka (now Draftfcb+Ulka) in 2001. He then moved to Grey India in 2003 and has been with it since then. He is currently based out of the agency's Bangalore office as ECD and VP of Grey Bangalore and Chennai.
His portfolio includes brands such as Britannia, Dell, Aircel, Java Green, Spencer's, Kiwi, ITC Foods, Deccan Cargo and Express Logistics, Wockhardt, Post-it Notes and Scotch Tape, to name a few.