Why the Adarsh Balak billboards feel more like graffiti and less like ads.
Adarsh Balak entered meme subculture over half a decade ago when Priyesh Trivedi resurrected the protagonist and the 80’s poster aesthetic to showcase the bitter-sweet comedies of the modern dystopian world. It took social media by storm with its varied shades of dark humour and vivid illustrations.
For the millennials, Adarsh Balak has been the poster child of subversion, quiet rebellion and self-expression. Precisely why it became one of the most culture-impacting pieces of art for modern day India.
Fashion is a powerful form of self expression, and like art, it is a tool to inform dissent. So to promote the biggest offers of Myntra’s biggest sale of the season–End Of Reason Sale, Talented agency collaborated with Priyesh to create a billboard campaign incorporating the best of both worlds–Adarsh Balak and fashion. The billboards stand tall across the streets of Mumbai until the 10th of June.
In a bid to stand out during fashion sale season clutter, the team at Talented decided to make the most unexpected influencer the face of their billboards. “Symbolism is at the centre-stage of art and fashion. The rebellious undercurrent of the Adarsh Balak icon lends itself naturally to the bold world of fashion. So, instead of getting a celebrity to be the face, we picked Adarsh. He is someone modern-day millennials relate to, and be reminded of the unhindered spirit of their youth.”, says Pooja Manek, creative and founding member, Talented agency.
She adds, “The brainstorming on this was wild. Funnily, Priyesh is nothing like Adarsh Balak, which was unexpected. An introverted, talented artist, he let us spill all our visual concepts on the table, and patiently fine-tuned them to ensure they stayed true to the Adarsh Balak universe– Fashion campaign but Banksy style. The first sample illustration he made was for the Adidas sneakers billboard, which got approved by Myntra in the first-go, also strengthening everyone’s conviction to this approach. It was a golden triangle–dark humour, rebellion, fashion.”
Touching upon the initiatives, Abhishek Gour, director-digital marketing, said, "The campaign has been designed to communicate the disruptive EORS propositions with a unique approach, to break the clutter amidst all the noise online and solidify Myntra’s position as the go-to fashion platform in the country. Our collaboration with India’s ideal good boy 'Adarsh Balak' by giving him a whole new personality is a testament to our commitment to always keeping EORS-based communication fresh and interesting with a dash of humour as we build deeper resonance with our customers."
“What is really interesting about this project was trying to find the right balance between doing justice to the brand comms and also keeping the aesthetics of Adarsh Balak as a pop culture sensation in check. As advertising creatives we’re wired to always think brand-first and somewhere to mesh the two without disregarding either worlds was a fun exercise.” adds Aabhas Sreshtha, creative and founding member, Talented.