Brand Saga: McDowell’s No.1, leveraging ‘yaari’ as the base of all things content…

McDowell’s No.1 advertising journey

Delivering some of the finest ‘Yaari’ lessons through its extraordinary yet emotional storytelling over several decades now, McDowell’s No.1 advertising journey is worth reliving. In the second part of this Saga, we revel in their Yaari proposition.

Last week we explored the nuances of how McDowell’s No.1 went onto epitomize the content marketing play with its long-running content IP, ‘No.1 Yaari’, launched in 2014, celebrating the innocence that we share with our friends and the unsinkable bond. Today we take walk through some of the best ‘No.1 Yaari’ campaigns from the stable of McDowell’s No.1 advertising journey and the brand’s tryst with digital.

No.1 Yaari’ Ke Naam  

Post the roll out of the 7-minute long viral musical sung by Mohit Chauhan, there was no stopping for McDowell’s no.1. In 2016, the brand created yet another long format film – this time- the story embraced within 5 minutes, titled ‘Yaaron Se Bane Hum’.  

Teaming up with its creative partner of many years, DDB Mudra Group, McDowell’s No.1, through the film aimed at representing a new perspective on celebrating the bonds of friendship. The poetry verses ‘khattey meethey dukh sukh ke pal, apne yaari ke hisse hain’ penned down by Sonal Dabral (then chairman and chief creative officer, DDB MUDRA Group) struck a chord with almost every age group who cherished their friends and treasured the fond memories.   

The film’s core messaging lied in discovering how the people closest to us, transform us in a moment, walk with you through life’s toughest journeys and help you sail through its greatest challenges and this is the bond that inspires us.

In the same year, collaborating the undying spirit of cricket and the brand’s identity of bringing friends (yaar) together, McDowell’s No.1 Soda designed a campaign using Facebook Live to make merry out of the honored tradition of sports-loving friends coming together to watch a game.

Harping on the craze for 2016 T20 Cricket World Cup, the company set out to encourage people to come together and hail Team India through the ‘Yaari Nibhao, Jeet Manao’ campaign.

To build up the campaign, the brand brought youth icons, Rannvijay Singh and Manish Paul under one roof for a Live act on Facebook where millions were witness to the duo was making and fulfilling wackiest ‘yaari promises’ during the fantastic India Vs Australia match.

Further, when the Late Sushant Singh Rajput starrer MS Dhoni was released in September 2016, the brand got their brand ambassador, the real Dhoni to revisit his hometown Ranchi and meet his ‘bachpan ke yaar’.

Also Read: Brand Saga: McDowell’s No.1 – An ode to ‘Yaari’ with Bollywood, sports & music

Conceptualized by DDB Mudra South and East, the three-minute film attempted to connect the brand’s ideology with the friendship of the celeb cricketer. The campaign film tried to bring out the real friendly chemistry featuring Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his childhood friends when the three of them get nostalgic about the years they have spent together.

As an extension for the campaign, McDowell’s No. 1 Soda also ran a contest where the lucky winners who commented on the video got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet MS Dhoni with their No. 1 Yaars to celebrate their friendship.

McDowell’s No.1 then decided to delve deeper into the regional culture to market the brand and co-produced a show under the No. 1 Yaari tagline with Telugu actor Rana Daggubati in June.

Keeping in tune with its philosophy of strengthening the bonds of brotherhood, the brand in 2017 introduced its sonic asset through ‘No.1 Yaari Jam’, a music platform that was launched with the release of 5 enchanting Yaari soundtracks. Shaped by ace music directors Salim & Sulaiman Merchant along with distinguished and renowned music artists from across India, these exhibit the spirit of Yaari that McDowell’s seeks to evoke amongst its customers across India. The tracks were produced by Qyuki Media and creatively supported by DDB Mudra.

McDowell’s No.1 Soda’s sonic asset is a musical rendition of the brand’s iconic tagline ‘Yeh No.1 Yaari Hai’. No.1 Yaari Jam took the brand’s association with music to the next level as it became a first of its kind platform that still continues to provide inspiration and platform for artists and bands from across India to join the brand on its journey to tell the enthralling stories of Yaari through music.

Later in 2018, the brand roped in Ayushmann Khurana and Raghu Ram as part of its new Friendship Day campaign, conceptualized by the DDB Mudra Group and Experience Commerce, to encourage ‘Yaars’ to rejoice the Good, the Bad and the Truth together.

With the film along with retail and activation, McDowell’s No.1 encouraged “Yaars” to be honest with each other and sparked a fresh conversation on the role of ”Yaars” and “Yaari” in our lives.

McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Gourmet Snacks launched the “Jashn Yaari Ka” campaign in 2019 as an ode to Yaars who celebrate another Yaar’s successes and moments of joy.



To add to the campaign, the brand roped in Vicky Kaushal as the face of the campaign that captured moments from his life before he became an actor. From memories of tearing up his first engineering job offer letter to pursue acting to signing his first autograph at Cannes, the TVC conceptualised by The Womb beautifully recreated how his Yaars always stood by him and surprised him at moments he did not expect them to.

A first for the brand, dabbling in savory foods, McDowell’s No.1 Platinum Gourmet snacks will include a range of delicious Baked Ragi Chips, Flavored Almonds, and more, making it the perfect partner for a celebration with Yaars.

The 2020’s version of ‘Tu Mera No.1 Yaar’ on the occasion of friendship day was launched on McDowell’s No.1 soda’s musical platform No.1 Yaari Jam. The occasion brought back the original hit, ‘Ye No1 Yaari hai’, in an all-new avatar- the song composed by Mohit Chauhan, now featured over 50 artists including Vicky Kaushal, Siddharth Mahadevan, Benny Dayal, Shalmali Kholgade, Neeti Mohan, Shilpa Rao, Nikita Gandhi and more to give their yaars a virtual hug and award them with the title of ‘#TuMeraNo1Yaar’.

The song release was supported by a UGC campaign to share virtual hugs with each other that aimed to clock over half a million hugs leading up to Friendship Day on August 2, 2020.

Cut to 2021, McDowell’s No1 launched a new limited-edition pack (LEP) #YaariKeRang to celebrate the festival of colors – Holi. Just like colours, friendships have no boundaries, and the pack is here to make rendezvous with your yaars a kaleidoscopic experience.

Divyenndu, Shweta Tripathi and Vijay Varma, the yaars of the popular show Mirzapur, came together to introduce an exciting way to celebrate the festival of colors with the help of technology. In the branded video content, the stars show how the Limited-Edition pack enables Yaars to add colours to each other, express themselves and celebrate virtually. In the video, Divyenndu splashes colour on Vijay Varma by scanning the pack’s QR code to begin the celebrations.

In another video, the original track ‘Yaara Rang Bhula De Rang’ by McDowell’s No1, written and composed by the prominent musician Tanishk Bagchi, has been rehashed. It brings the experiential of colouring each other virtually alive with a youthful video.

While content and influencer marketing have been the prominent fixtures in McDowell’s No.1 advertising journey on digital, the brand is not so far behind when it comes to churning out topical creatives and hops onto trendy conversations to serenade the young userbase.

While the ’No.1 Yaari Jam’ YouTube page houses a number of music videos launched under the brands’ banner, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are leveraged to walk the talk and create platform-specific content for its followers. From extending festival greetings to creating an occasion-led content strategy to blend the product’s might with some moment marketing, McDowell’s No.1 has been all about creating conversation on social media.

The brand has given us some beautiful songs, moments, ideas, and memories to cherish with its strong positioning of strengthening the purest of all ‘- the joy of friends and ‘Friendship’. Delivering impeccable storytelling campaigns through the years, McDowell’s No.1 advertising journey celebrated the virtue of honesty that is the characteristic of true Yaar- as the brand rightly puts it.


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