Cement goes viral

A tricky headline, you may be forgiven that in the age of synthetic biology for thinking there might be some new airborne cement developed for construction. This week an advertisement for Ambuja cement has gone viral in India, prompting ad industry bible Creativity to ask the question “Could this be the funniest cement ad ever?”

In the ad, semi-retired World Wide Wrestling icon The Great Khali has problems rarely tested by building regulations. Bobby Pawar, managing director, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis South Asia observing was quoted in Creativity, “For ages Ambuja Cement has sported the tagline ‘Giant compressive strength’. We stared at that for a little less than ages, and the dominoes started falling.”

Yet a cursory look online reveals that cement ads are a genre of their own in Indian advertising. This ad for Jaypee Cement makes your heart swell in the way that those scary Don Draper types make you emote over bathroom cleaners: cement as the very fabric of domestic life; cement as witness to the journey of life; cement as the diary which records the height of your children. And then there's the recurring feature of Indian cement ads, and I suspect a lot of other Indian ads - cricket.


An allusion to England batsmen looking like they're stuck in concrete when playing India spin bowlers? Probably not. But actually, it’s rare that we are reminded of a material which is so fundamental to modern life, a material only visible in its destruction in Hollywood epics. Is the Ambuja cement ad the funniest ever? We think the jury’s still out, check this ad for Bangur cement.

John O'Reilly


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