Some of the best ad films are created during mega quadrennial cricket and football tournaments. Last year, tiqui-taka’s founder Jigar Fernandes was brought on board by Sony’s Kedar Teny to create the broadcaster’s marquee FIFA World Cup campaign ‘Meri Doosri Country’. It was a celebration of passionate fans who didn’t have a home nation to cheer, or cry, for in the World Cup but had a “doosri country” to support. In a previous story about the campaign, the makers revealed that the idea was almost dismissed due to concerns that it could alienate audiences in times of hypercharged nationalism or be misunderstood as disparaging of the Indian football team’s efforts. Fernandes told BE then, “Being a footballer myself, who’d dreamt of playing for the country, I was wary that these people should not be offended in any way.” The main film was also Fernandes’ directorial debut. A fortunate accident, in fact. After the designated director backed out, Teny encouraged Fernandes to take over as director. Fernandes shares the secret sauce in the making of a big game ad.
“What does it take to create a big game campaign? Exactly what it takes for a small one – a cool idea. But there is another thing a big campaign needs in my opinion – less people.
Because very often that big conference room is booked for a big campaign because a big number of people (client and agency) are going to occupy it. Sure a big campaign looks good on anyone’s LinkedIn but so many people in a room deciding the fate of an idea is idiotic, not democratic. Thinking from the gut shouldn’t be outmuscled by too much education or gigabytes of information. Gut is one person accepting that one doesn’t know why one likes something or someone. It’s difficult to do that in a room full of people for the fear of being judged. Also, there are landmines that one needs to navigate through; a wrong word could blow up an ego in some corner. And you have to be careful because everyone has a vote. So while one is taking care of what not to say, there is also the matter of what to say. Because if you’re in the big conference room, you ought to sound smart. Very often this zest bubbles over in the form of a completely random smart sound that derails the entire discussion. In the end, everyone says smart things nicely and that last biscuit is also nicely left in the plate. And so it comes to pass that a big project that needs a lot to be done ends up crawling. Maybe in the process an idea that manages to reasonably excite everyone goes ahead.
It’s been a year now since we did ‘Meri Doosri Country’ for Sony for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It was a massive task. 5 films, front page launch ads, celebrity shoots and assorted 360 stuff including a master launch film with 1200 people, shot across the country. That film I also happened to direct. It was a 4-month long crazy project. But all it took was about 4 people on a WhatsApp group with me and Kedar Teny from Sony. Zero emails. Zero Ppts. There were many jokes though. That’s the third thing needed for a big campaign. The ability to laugh at and with each other.”