Shan’s latest campaign, which featured a Chinese woman trying to make friends in Pakistan, quickly rose to ‘iconic’ status and achieved success on one interpretation of the word: viral-ity. The TVC went viral as soon as it was released and had viewers equating it with CPEC, Pak-Cheen dosti, Ramzan, importance of neighbourly love and most prominently the fact that we are a nation that bonds over food. The ad was so relatable and relevant that it instantly exploded on the internet, inspiring all sorts of commentary, analysis, reviews, memes, and spoofs and eventually joined the ranks of being one of Pakistan’s most talked about adverts of all time. Currently, the ad boasts a whopping 6.2 million view count, approximately 170,000 likes and over 60,000 shares on Facebook.
The ad, in a nutshell, features a Chinese woman who bonds with her neighbours over a steaming serving of biryani, cooked to perfection with Shan and served in a bamboo steamer. It also served the idea well that someone completely inexperienced could crack the code of cooking if given the right tools; here we saw a foreigner make a perfectly authentic biryani with Shan.
In all the buzz generating around the ad, one integral ingredient of this delicious TVC has been overlooked – the fact that Meesha Shafi has lent her vocals to it. At the risk of comparing Meesha to masala, one has to admit that she is one of Pakistan’s strongest exports; her voice is fundamentally Pakistani while having the power to transcend the border and connect people locally and globally.
Moreover, while Meesha is seen in several campaigns every now and then, this is the first time she has lent only her vocals for a corporate song. Something Haute got in touch with this celebrated Pakistani musician to ask why she agreed to sing for Shan and here’s what she had to say:
“I actually quite liked the song,” she answered earnestly as we spoke over the phone. “What I really enjoyed was the fact that the music director wanted it to be said like prose or poetry, so it’s kind of like a narration. It’s borderline spoken word.”
“I believe the challenge was to make something traditional,” she shared, further explaining how to achieve that, “A song like this had to be something that didn’t compromise on authenticity, culture and heritage. It had to bring forth something that people couldn’t get from anywhere else.”
We saw the visual and the vocals we heard with it – a symphony playing with the sights and sounds of what it means to be whom we are – were truly Pakistani! The musical arrangement of the song features traditional instruments like the dholak, alongside modern strums of the guitar. Meesha’s voice is very soulful as she sings in Punjabi but retains her characteristically contemporary feature.
Lastly, it is that perfect recipe that has the power to unite people across Pakistan and honestly, that is exactly what Shan is doing – making people bond over food!
– Haute Promotion