Watch: The best commercials honoring Diwali in India

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The Indian festival of lights offers advertisers from Coca-Cola to Big Bazaar (India's biggest suppermarket) a chance to celebrate shifting cultural mores

India is a country that integrates cultures and traditions at a scale worthy of its huge population, diversity and culture that predates it's colonial and independent history. The richness of its history adds up to a holiday season that stretches from the Muslim holy month of Ramadan through Christmas and New Year's.

But no celebration is more deeply woven into Indian home life — and advertising campaigns — than Diwali, the festival of lights that falls on Nov. 11 this year. Diwali is the country's quintessential family celebration, as well as a boon for commerce. According to India's Financial Express, 30% to 40% of India's annual e-commerce is dedicated to Diwali. 

For more holiday ads of the world, read "Ramadan: A month of fasting, a holiday feast"

And as family dynamics change, many brands have stepped up to embrace the new complexities they pose as well as the holiday traditions that connect old and new.

Urban Ladder "The Homecoming" by Boring Brands

A young couple use a Diwali visit to try to lure the husband's parents into moving from their rural home to join them in the city. The young couple become aware of the difficulties the older duo face, from eating with a knife and fork to sleeping on a soft bed. The mother explains that back home, her husband likes to sit on a swing and read a Hindi newspaper every morning. The younger couple promptly redo the place to suit their elders, including a not-too-soft mattress and a swing on which to read a Hindi newspaper. "Mrs. India"

This in-house ad from the online furnishing service, portrays a "Modern Mrs. India" as a creative force in the home as she prepares the place to receive holiday guests. by L&K Saatchi & Saatchi

Another furniture company, two more views of the bonding power of home decor. In one film, a busy young urban professional learns a lesson about friendship with her elderly neighbors; in the other, a stern landlord proves to have more holiday spirit than he lets on.

Big Bazaar "Paper Patakha" by DDB Mudra West

India's leading supermarket portrays a holiday patakha (noisemaker) crafted from paper by a Big Bazaar employee as a way for a little boy to bond with a wide variety of people from all walks of life.

Zomato by Ogilvy & Mather

The restaurant search-and-ordering app breaks with marrage tradition with an ad that features a daughter visiting her father, who has been separated from her mother. He tries to make pasta for her but burns it. She comforts him by telling him that she's already ordered dinner via Zomato. The lighthearted banter between father and daughter continues, as he tells her to not let her mother know about the burnt pasta.

Coca-Cola by McCann Worldgroup

In this interplay of family relationships during the holidays, brand ambassador and Bollywood star Alia Bhatt finds herself in unknown territory when some relatives (from her husband's side) come visiting and order a confusing range of beverages. However, she also has an ally: her own bua (paternal aunt), who tells Bhatt she's stopped by for a "status update" and simplifies matters by converting everyone to Coke on ice.

Tanishq "Divyam" by Lowe Lintas

While many other ads put new twists on Diwali, jeweler Tanishq plays up the tradition behind the season. The ad walks through a series of holiday traditions (including a gift of jewelry) and asks, "If Diwalis are as beautiful as this, why would anyone change a single thing?"

Lufthansa "Celebrate Diwali like never before" by McCann Worldgroup

An essential aspect of the Indian experience is the diaspora that has sent young people to seek new opportunities abroad. With that in mind, Lufthansa rolled out a digital campaign on the theme "Diwali begins when you join your loved ones" that portrays a grandfather's fond remembrance of his granddaughter, who has been in Canada for the past three years. He receives a call from her, then reacts to a pleasant surprise. The ad fades to black, and a message appears: "This Diwali, surprise a loved one like never before! Discover how." A link takes viewers to a site created for "Diwali Surprise," which allows participants to send Diwali wishes. The more the wishes participants send, the greater their chances of winning an airline ticket.


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