In 1996, when (then) consumer durable major BPL wanted to reinvent themselves, they roped in one of India’s first creative boutiques, Dhar & Hoon, to take charge of the communication task.
The rest was history, as Dhar & Hoon created Believe in the Best, a campaign that saw Amitabh Bachchan making his first appearance as a brand ambassador.
While the TVC with Amitabh Bachchan is, perhaps, more remembered today, it was the print campaign which was the talk of the town at the time of the launch.
The copy and the headline were written by Naren Kaimal. The provocative headline: “My country’s contribution to the world: 0.”
The headline’s obvious reference was to Aryabhatta.
Today, 16 years after the BPL ad, The Times of India launches their new initiative, Times Scholars, with a front page ad.
What’s with our obsession with Aryabhatta, other than the fact that, as Kaimal from Dhar & Hoon discovered in 1996 and Taproot rediscovered now, ‘Zero’ makes for great headline fodder?
Taproot has missed a trick with the use of Aryabhatta—when they could have chosen so many young—and more relevant Indian achievers. Taproot’s list for the Times Scholars include Tagore, Raman and Amartya Sen. Why not use more recent achievers — say people like Vishy Anand, Shashi Tharoor, Ratan Tata, Adi Godrej, Azim Premji, Anand Mahindra and NR Narayanamurthy?
They’ve given India—and the world—a lot.
The problem is that they did not give the world Zero. By achieving, they’ve disqualified themselves as far as the copywriters are concerned.