The Ad-ventures of Mr B

Actor extraordinaire Manoj Bajpayee has made some exciting choices vis-a-vis brand endorsements. Here’s retracing his journey in the ad world in 2021.

Jameel Gulrays

Padma Shri Manoj Bajpayee’s prolific career has been accentuated with numerous awards for his spectacular performances, and the latest addition is the National Film Award for Best Actor 2019 for his searing portrayal of a retired cop – Ganpat Bhonsle – in Bhonsle

The actor extraordinaire has traversed a long and exciting journey across the medium, from television to films, and then OTT, navigating his way through each medium with deftness, and in between, he has also made interesting forays in the world of advertising to promote/endorse brands that he can relate and connect. 

“I come from a middle-class rural family, and that’s my biggest identity to date. I proudly wear it as a badge of honour on my sleeves. I was born and brought up in a village, and I have always flaunted being a farmer’s son with immense pride. It is the core of my being, my work and how I choose to do what I do. I am extremely choosy about the brands. The brand has to reflect my identity, and I have to relate to the product/service and connect with the idea that the brand wants me to portray onscreen.”

Manoj Bajpayee, actor

The choices that he has made further endorse his belief on all that matters to a common person – home, finance, farm, and food – and rightly so. Here’s a rundown of the brands he chose to endorse in 2021, and his reasons for doing so.   

House that!

On January 25, the actor surprised his fans and followers by tweeting that he is planning to sell his Bandra home and solicited help in looking for a suitable buyer. 

On the other hand, actor Rajkummar Rao posted something similar – tips on home buying in a new city.

The duo’s posts on social media invited curious reactions from all quarters, and their fun home buying and selling journey ended with the launch of Housing.com’s campaign, #YahanSearchKhatamKaro, a few days later. The social media posts were activated before the campaign’s launch and worked wonders in creating a favourable buzz around the idea.  

“The campaign has highlighted the integration of technology in the real estate business. The tech-enabled services can make the process simpler and considerably ease the innumerable challenges posed by the pandemic, and reduce the burden for a consumer, be it a home buyer, seller or tenant,” states Bajpayee. The reason for choosing this campaign was his strong belief and backing for technology. “Technology can be a great enabler in any given field, and it is a tool if used wisely can do wonders in making our lives a tad easier,” says the actor.   

The ad featuring actor Manoj Bajpayee on a quest to sell his house and finally find the perfect buyer by listing it on housing.com.#YahanSearchKhatamKaro 

Counting on his charisma

In February, Bajpayee chose to associate with Zee Cinema and Tata Capital’s campaign, Heroes Ka Jazba, to honour the sacrifices made by India’s COVID-19 heroes. The campaign was integrated with Tata Capital’s #KarzNahiFarzBhiHai initiative of launching ‘Shubharambh’ loans with lesser EMIs, flexible and higher tenure with eased flexibility. 

“The campaign had topicality and was an apt way to start 2021, with hope, happiness and a promise to help the frontline workers who kept our lives going during the tough times of the pandemic, just like heroes do,” he says, reflecting on his choice. 

The brand endorsement was innovatively pegged around Bajpayee’s 2020 release Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari (playing on Zee5). Together, along with the film festival on Zee Cinema in February, it paralleled Tata Capital’s Count on Us idea. Bajpayee gave his touch to the concept by explaining how, like his character, the pandemic has been weighing us down, and had become ‘Bhari’ in our lives, adding how the Heroes Ka Jazba salutes the real-life heroes. He urged all to rise up like a hero and win against this real-life Mangal (pandemic). “The advertisement personified a promise and heralded optimism, and that’s what was needed to start life afresh back then,” he says.  

Life ki har chunauti ka saamna karne wale heroes ke shubharambh mein unki madad karna humara #KarzNahiFarzBhi hai! Watch Tata Capital presents, Heroes Ka Jazba on Zee Cinema every Saturday night at 8 and begin your hero story again by applying for a Shubharambh Loan today! #CountOnUs https://bit.ly/2ZcvwQt 

Fin(e) Take

Bajpayee and actor Priyamani became the face of fintech platform Rupeek’s first integrated advertising campaign early in September. Together, they made the idea of availing a loan against gold an unchallenging idea for the middle-class to pursue. “I know from my own experiences that securing a loan can be a challenge for the middle-class. It has always been an emotionally taxing process. I could see the huge potential that Rupeek’s proposition brought forth. The use of technology-led hassle-free doorstep gold loan offering at the lowest interest rates could very well become a disruptor in this segment,” he emphasises. The claim of offering online gold loans to its customers with minimal documentation and the lowest interest rate of 0.69% per month clicked with Bajpayee. 

The TVC featuring the actors shows them walking in avail gold loan, getting disheartened at the whole process of waiting in long queues, paying high-interest rates and going through the tedious documentation process, leaving them sorely disappointed. “I loved the idea. The advertisement highlights the struggles faced by people in availing gold loans and how the company solves the credit pain. The advertisement is for the common man and woman, who need to take pride in using their gold to access credit in a safe and tension-free manner. I chose the brand because it was a credible idea, and I could relate to the thought,” he adds.  

We know that gold is precious to you. Which is why, when parting with it, you don’t deserve to wait in a long line, and be put through tedious procedures. That’s why Rupeek comes to your doorstep in 30 minutes. With Rupeek, sab kuch ghar baithe baithe ho jayega. That too, at an interest rate as low as 0.69%* per month. Ab se, #SonePeLoanRightFromHome.   

Sowing hope 

In his second outing for the brand, the actor chose to endorse Mahindra’s new Farming as a Service (FaaS) business, Krish-e. For the unversed, his first brand endorsement for the Mahindra Group was for Maha Bolero Pik-Up many moons ago.

The Group recently launched the first digital video commercial for the crop advisory app early in October. It banked heavily on the brand value of Bajpayee as a son of the soil and used his credibility to its advantage by highlighting the unique benefits of the app. The reasons for choosing this brand for endorsement were obvious – a proud farmer’s son and his humble ways of returning the favour. 

Elucidating it further, he says, “Technology is a great enabler. It has changed the landscape of so many sectors, including agriculture, and for good. Farmers can use this app and benefit from the unique combination of expert advisory. The app offers a fertiliser calculator, pesticide spray calculator, digital book of accounts and a diary to maintain the credit and debit details for the farmers. Krish-e has leveraged science and technology to help farmers reduce costs, increase productivity, and ultimately farmers’ income.”  

Krish-e by Mahindra rightly calls itself #ChamatkarNahiYehHaiAvishkar. The agriculture app provides a personalised crop calendar for the farm by leveraging the combination of technology and farming expertise which improves the crop yield for each farmer. Krish-e app provides premium agricultural advisory services for various crops and boosts the crop yield. These Agri advisory services offer a scientific and personalized crop calendar for every farm. Krish-e is the best-in-class agriculture app providing end-to-end crop planning, i.e., land preparation, seed treatment, nutrition, and harvesting. Available in 8 popular Indian languages, this farm app is the preferred technology solution to boost your farm yields.

Business sense

The actor has no qualms in admitting that he has had a fair share of struggle and strife to survive in the world of cinema. “The accolades in India and abroad that celebrate me and my roles is a profoundly humbling experience. Still, I choose to look at all of it objectively and avoid being indulgent,” he says. His cinematic journey is akin to the rigour and persistence required for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to survive and thrive in the post-pandemic world. 

He chose to endorse another fintech FloBiz in October. Capitalising on the brand Bajpayee, the neo-bank for Indian SMBs aims to accelerate its outreach to the SMB sector and promote the adoption of its flagship product, myBillBook, a simple to use GST billing and accounting software. The series of ads under the core theme of #BusinessKoLeSeriously will highlight the power of digital solutions to improve the performance of SMBs and take them on a growth path. “I was impressed, once again, at the power of technology and how small and medium businesses can benefit from it. SMBs are an integral part of our economy, and the pandemic has made it paramount for businesses to go digital. FloBiz’s myBillBook is a dedicated digital tool that has immense potential to change the landscape of SMBs by accelerating its growth in the right direction,” says the actor. 

The brand’s core theme remains #BusinessKoLeSeriously. The witty script has helped the actor explore his sarcastic self to the hilt and use it to his advantage to take the messaging forward.  

Billing sahi na ho to payment collection ek joke ban jata hai! Jaanein kaise kar sakte hain aap sahi billing aur timely collection myBillBook ke sath. Business ko 5X badhane ke liye, myBillBook download karein aur apne business ko digital banayein! Best billing and accounting software for Small & Medium Businesses in India. Agar apne business ko lete hain seriously to abhi download karein myBillBook! 

Food and friends = Fun 

Food has the power to evoke memory, bring people together and transport people to places, and who wouldn’t love that. The actor relived a nostalgic moment with his offscreen friends and co-stars — Pankaj Tripathi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui — while shooting two TV commercials for BL Agro, a leading FMCG company’s signature brand, ‘Bail Kolhu’, mustard oil. The first in the series was about the actors fondly reminiscing their cinematic journey, from their nondescript villages to the city of dreams, and released in May 2021. 

The second one has them recounting the smell that conjures up food memories and shows the camaraderie that Gangs of Wasseypur actors share while feasting on a lavish spread prepared in mustard oil. Khushbu Ka Yaadon Se Rishta remains the tagline and shows how the actors connect with the idea and each other.  

To see these three actors sharing screen space is a truly delectable treat, and who better them to convey the message of the 50-year-old signature brand, which has become a household name over the years, much like the trio.   

Author: ADnaama

Urdu connoisseur. Adman. Founder of Katha Kathan.

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