Saturday, April 30, 2011

Who needs humans to advertise?

The default way to go for advertising your brand in India, has been - getting hold of a celebrity. An actor, a cricketer, usually... Someone whom a large part of the public can associate with, who can atleast catch the attention of the public, and hence making them watch the advertisement through would be a tad simpler.

Times are changing, and some brilliant marketeers have done away with those unimaginably crazy expenses and stuck themselves to some pretty brain-work.

Throw something different at the viewers.

Vodafone (erstwhile, Hutch) took the big step in the venture, and introduced the Vodafone/Hutch "Pug" ads. A serene song in the back-ground, a cute little kid and a cuter pug dog gripped quite a lot of viewers.

Then, Vodafone went on to take another step ahead, one that would place them a long way ahead of others in their field's advertising. The introduction of "Zoo-Zoo"s. I think it was IPL season a few years ago, when this was launched. The fact that they were going to try their venture against a humongous audience meant they very little second-chance. But, they pulled it off in style. It has, since been a sensation, a cult figure of sorts.

From the first advertisement, to the latest 3G series ads, the "Zoo-Zoo"s have only impressed us more and more.

Last year, Vodafone brought out another innovative thing into their try-outs. They had a new scheme for a short while in the competitive market, and they chose a parrot to put them on top in that race. The voice for the parrot was lent by Bomman Irani, a notable actor, with a good booming voice. (please note - not many associate the ad with the actor, so, this is not marketing on the back of the actor like I had mentioned earlier in this post)

And this series of ads were totally hilarious, and very well helped them in the race!

More Ads from the above mentioned series :-

Vodafone/Hutch Pug dog series

Zoo-Zoo ads from the 2009 IPL season

Who needs a human to advertise, anyway?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Favourite Cricket Ad - Anything is Possible

OK. The cricket fan in me has over-powered the intention of resisting this blog entry any further, so here it is!

I'm from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu (TN), but have traveled quite a bit in other states too. Fair to say, TN enjoys its cricket quite as much as most other states, if not more than all. Of course, "enjoyment" doesn't have to translate into Ranji Trophy victories.

School or home, working day or holiday, there is bound to be a large fraction of people in the state with their mind hooked to cricket. We play cricket under the hot summer sun during the vacation in open barren grounds (school ground, on fields, roads, terrace...), we play cricket indoors when it is raining, we play cricket in the classrooms when the teacher hasn't arrived, we play cricket on the video game 24x7 how-so-ever silly that version of game may be (satisfaction only if the computer is defeated at all levels of difficulty).

On a totally different level of seriousness, Trichy, in TN, was the host for the highly honoured "Gopalan Trophy" between TN and Ceylone (Sri Lanka) for ages until it was called off for good.

And in Tamil Nadu, there is one name that is sure to make you stop and look around - Rajinikanth (aka, "Superstar"). He revolutionised cinema in TN, and became the face of TN cine-industry. He was and is a magnet who can draw any volumes of local crowd in one direction. Chennai/TN is the home of Kollywood and we (mostly) love our movies, in which, you know, anything is possible.

And one day, when ICL (Indian Cricket League) entered the Indian play-zone, it had to make a penetrating impact on the cricket lovers. Chennai was selected host city for one of the teams, and it was named Chennai Super Stars (you see the intentions there, don't you?). And then came the advertisement that took the local community by its stride and brought in a quick and thick fan following.

Till date, it remains my favourite cricket advertisement.

(watch it again, and this time, just watch the non-striker, my favourite part of the ad ;-) )

So, you see? Anything is possible. Chennai Super Stars won the inaugural 20-over ICL championship, and the inaugural 50-over ICL championship and continued to perform well in the other tournaments that followed too.

ICL's world tournament was cut short during the Mumbai terror attacks in late-2008, and before it could continue the next October, BCCI made sure they destroyed the league that actually opened the doors to cricketers BCCI shunned and now seemed to hypocritically care for.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dream on the screen

So, what is India known for? Among the top-10 answers, you will surely have things like Bollywood, education, engineering, temples, grand-family culture etc.

Well, those were the things that HP decided to pick to catch the eye of the Indian audience to introduce their new product - Hp Dreamscreen, a gadget that opens the doors to the best way to drive your way on the internet.

It is your perfect internet tool. And just to bring the perfectness to you doorsteps, HP India have brought out a superb advertisement. A very calm sound-track and a pleasing song to accompany it (in Hindi) with meaningful lyrics only add to the beauty of the advertisement, and the product.

Certainly one of my best HP advertisement.

To know more about HP DreamScreen and find our nearest retailer, click here.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Say something, or be funny.

Some ads have really been pointless. they have nothing to add, nothing new to tell, but simply want to show up so that we don't forget them.

TATA Docomo, which was doing so well with ads for the introduction of 3G, and the graphic ones for their regular mobile ads has now resorted to bring their brand ambassador, Ranbir Kapoor for a series of very mildly meaningful/funny ads. I laugh better when I see a kitten try and miss when it tries to catch a cockroach with its paws.

On the other hand, we have "Frooti", a mango drink brand. Their plan is simple - we have the customers, lets just make them laugh and reach out for more of them. Their ads are completely pointless, since they don't have anything new to tell. But their ads are totally funny, especially in the country where there are hundreds of action-based reality shows/games. So, they just picked one of them and made a joke out of themselves.

Their motto - "Why Grow Up?"
After looking at the video and having a sip of Frooti, you will agree.

As a kid, I used to dance in the middle of the road in front of the shop to convince my parents into buying me a "Mango Frooti". And this video only takes me back to those days.

If your ad is going to be pointless, atleast be hilarious.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Anything is Possible for the Heroes

We live in a world where we idolize people, give them the status of super-hero and assume they can do almost anything one can imagine, well, almost.

Here, in India, Rajinikanth is one such personality. He is the Chuck Norris of India, or Chuck Norris is the Rajini elsewhere. Or whatever, Rajini is the cult figure in India, in all places which have even a mild population of Indians and even Japan.

We Indians have been made to "believe", either by his acting or his followers, that there is nothing that can defeat him. And of course, we love cricket. So, this is what happens when we try to mix Rajini and cricket for a completely unrelated product's advertisement!

And this advertisement reminded me of one ad from 2010, a trailer of a video game featuring Kobe Bryant, the winner of NBA Championship earlier that year and voted MVP of that finals. Quite a large section believe he is the nearest to Michael Jordan, and a lot of people love his amazing plays throughout his career. This ad quite summed it all up.

So, who is your superhero who amazed you with an advertisement?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Like a Good Neighbor...

Company : State Farm Insurance (USA)

Most of us in the 21st century own a car (umm, I don't, as of yet). And one of the most important thing you are concerned about is the insurance of the car. Likewise, insurance of house, business, health, life etc.

State Farm Insurance is almost a century old insurance agency in The United States of America, and has a very trusted branch for automobile insurance over decades. In the past few months, State Farm brought out a series of really interesting TV advertisements just to show how much trustworthy and prompt they are, and how dedicated they are to provide the service their client needs.

Here's one of them -

It just tells that they are so easily accessible, a near one-to-one customer care, prompt attendance and very likely to listen to what you say.

Here's one ad on their home insurance -

Look at the ease on the face of the guy who calls for the agent. That is the sense of calmness the company wants their clients to be in, and leave the job into their hands.

Two other State Farm ads that caught my attention were -
1. for the chirpy new generation


2. for the sports fanatics, LeBron fans especially (ft. a cameo by the famous sports announcer, Michael Buffer) -

You would've noticed that the jingle is "Like a good neighbour, State Farm is there", also indirectly emphasizing the old American culture where neighbours bonded very well. In the 21st century, with tight schedule and/or the now common "night life", the neighbourhood bond is weakening, and State Farm is trying to bring that back a bit with their advertisements, almost all of which have 2 or more friends/neighbours acting in it.

I loved the advertisement for their simple theme and the ability to deliver the simple message in many ways. They would've covered most audiences with those ads featuring on national television during the runs of telly-series, sports etc. And, they are likely to have an impact on most kinds of audiences too - kids, parents, working class, businessmen etc. The little music BGM at the end keeps playing in my mind many a times :-)

State Farm Insurance Website -

To visit their page on Facebook, click here . You would find other ads from this series on their Facebook page.