Spiced up creativity: Shan’s storytelling in Pakistan

Shan masalas are a household name and if you’re a Pakistani and haven’t heard of Shan’s Bombay Biryani masala yet, you’re not a real foodie.

Of course, my definition can be biased, and you may love Pakistani food without keeping Shan’s masalas in high regard or even in your frame of reference every time you talk about your love for food. But despite your disregard for the brand and its various products, you will agree that even you got a little teary-eyed when Shan told us the story of the two brothers and their mother’s biryani.

The ad, which was launched back in 2015, has become almost a cliché whenever marketing and storytelling case studies are discussed in Pakistan. It told you a story of the two things we desis are most emotional about: mothers and Biryani, resulting in the ad to be the most talked about for weeks to come. It’s as human as it gets, and thus, is one of Shan’s best works when it comes to human based storytelling.

Food marketing in Pakistan

Food marketing in Pakistan has always been very creative and has given us a lot of memorable adverts, and rightly so, considering how much of a food-obsessed audience these brands have. Whether it’s Nurpur’s mouth watering TVC (you all know which one), or National’s ads about families and relationships. But it’s Shan that, recently, has been exploring stories from all walks of life with their ads.

Whether it’s a mildly controversial ad about the Biryani Bros (pun intended)…

The Ramadan special with a very touching message.

Or the Khushiyan Chak Lo series, exploring stories from before and during COVID-19.

The brand has explored a lot of different aspects of what makes Shan special without going over the top… except for when Anoushay Abbasi couldn’t stop saying fish.

The point here is that even though food is one of the most relatable and easy things to market, it can get monotonous if you keep flipping pans and sprinkling spices over glossy chicken or fish. These stories told by brands like Shan make you understand the importance of the product itself in a society like ours. With their ads, Shan has placed itself very expertly in the lives of the people for whom the product is made, all the while telling stories that keep the people as their prime focus, rather than the food or Shan’s masalas.

What do you think of Shan’s marketing strategy? Which one’s your favorite ad from the brand?

Read more about brands bringing the best of human stories in their marketing strategies in our blog.

Zainab Abdul Rehman

Content and strategy specialist with a head full of ideas that I never get time to execute.

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