“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things,” says Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption. This is something that the world needs to hear these days. Locked behind four walls and glued to screens, while a virus spreads its terror, we are currently staring at a deepening mental health crisis. With knit eyebrows, a mask across the face and a prayer in the heart, all smiles have disappeared in the chaos. And, Perfetti Van Melle’s new ad is a much-needed reminder that all will be well again. “A smile, while it may seem simple, goes a long way in keeping optimism and resilience alive in these unprecedented times,” says Rohit Kapoor, director-marketing, Perfetti Van Melle India.In the 82-second film, the world is personified in a small girl. Her name is ‘Duniya’ (Hindi for world), who has lost her smile. She feels disconnected and does not venture out to meet her friends. Life is gloomy and hopscotch is no more fun. One day, she discovers an Alpenliebe candy in a box and her world magically lights up. As the music soars and fairy dust fills the screen, Duniya relishes the caramel candy and rediscovers her smile. She goes out in the open and jumps in joy — a metaphor for the world getting back on its feet and smiling again.“Perfetti wanted us to convey a message of hope,” says Anurag Agnihotri, managing partner-creative, Ogilvy Mumbai. From a range of candies and gums — Center Fresh, Mentos, Chupa Chups, Center Fruit, Happydent and others — Alpenliebe fit the script best. “The Alpenliebe in her hand is symbolic to Perfetti India, that has been spreading smiles since 1994,” says Kapoor.Shot near Delhi by production house Good Morning Films, the idea went from script to video in ten days, all while following safety norms. It took another ten days for post-production as a lot of computer graphics were involved. “In terms of execution, we really made sure we get the perfect cast — a distinct charming Indian girl,” says Agnihotri, adding, “We devised the element of magic, in a fairy tale theme, where the candy is a symbol of brightness and hope.”Over the years, Perfetti’s ads have guaranteed a smile on the viewer’s face — from a crocodile following Kajol for an Alpenliebe to a group of men lighting up a palace with their sparkling Happydent white teeth. “Going forward, we will continue to delight consumers with our unique offerings and memorable brand campaigns,” says Kapoor.Till then, don’t lose hope and keep smiling, as things will be just fine once again.