Sunday, March 06, 2011

Spoiling the Concepts

Just like most of the sequel movies have a problem with carrying the legacy of a brilliant concept and a superhit movie, today even the advertisements seem to have fallen into the same trap- Dragging the concept too far.

Two advertisements I am referring to here, in particular, are Vodafone and Idea ads. I have written about the two in my earlier posts as well and I was all praise for the two. Even now I think those were the two brilliant concepts advertisers had come up with but now the new extensions of these seem to drag it too far and end up even spoiling the concept built around the brand.

Vodafone, to start with, brought the brilliant concept of Zoozoos and executed it well to make those imaginary creatures a part of brand identity. It connected so well with the end consumers that I wouldn't be surprised if it fares best amongst all brands in "recall tests". People just loved it. Young girls replaced Barbies and Hannah Montanas with zoozoos. But why did it work so well?
1. Zoozoos were attractive (and not ugly) [Hygiene factor]
2. Zoozoos were cute! [Cute creatures are liked by majority audience- Hygiene factor]
3. Their acts were built around common man theme
4. The communication was simple!! [Most important factor for success of zoozoo campaign]
The whole concept was built around 15-20 second short videos with zoozoos communicating some very simple message - be it consumer responses to e-cards or mobile recharges or be it the festivity of winning something (or being recognised) as in "Man of the Match theme".

Now, if you have seen the current series of zoozoo ads, you would feel the difference. I even doubt if you have noticed the message in the advertisements or even if you have noticed the advertisements at all. There are many problems, as I see, with the current series of ads.
1. The message is too complicated - Hard to understand what is going on
2. Subtitles- Nobody is so interested in your brand / ad that they would go on reading the subtitles!! (I don't understand how come creative agencies with so much of experience came up with the idea of putting subtitles in an ad)
I cant speak of general public on this but I would make an effort of reading subtitles in a short video only in select few cases -
I) If the ad seems too funny and I have a feeling that those subtitles would add to the fun. May be something of Laurel Hardy or Charlie Chaplin sorts!
II) If I am too interested in the brand that I dont wanna miss out on any damn thing about it, in which case, I would expect some meaningful message coming out of those subtitles.
III) If the content is written in a font which is hard to resist- Not so much applicable to subtitles though but something like L-shaped popup banners in middle of cricket matches (Sorry I dont know what it is called and Google is of no rescue this time)
Unfortunately Vodafone ads don't come close to either of these.
3. Common man doesn't relate to it at all and the cuteness is all lost in these overly complex acts.

Similarly for the "Get Idea" campaign-
It started off brilliantly with Abhishek Bachchan series of ads. It was noticed well. There was subtle humour in it and the phrase caught on brilliantly amongst people. The phrase "No idea", per se, is one of the most commonly used phrase and now people have added the "Get Idea" part to associate humour with that, which has definitely brought up a healthy TOM (Top of Mind) recall for the brand. Previous ads of social awareness ("What an Idea" campaign) were also noted well in the people. Amongst the latest campaigns, the "Champions of the World" is a nice campaign to have from a long term point of view, where a few years down the line, Idea can bring all these campaigns together and make a good impactful theme based on its association with legends of the game. As for now, the message "To keep cricket clean" although likely to connect well with Indian public, somehow looks more like a teaser campaign to some better advertisements on the theme (I hope that is the case!). Amidst so many glories is the current fusion of "Get Idea" and "Champions of World" campaigns, which doesn't make a good ad.
Again, it stretches the "Get Idea" theme way too much. I see two major problems with the ads-
1. Unlike other ads in "Get Idea" theme, these ads don't connect with common man. It all looks so superficial while the previous ones cashed in on the "close to realty" factor.
2. "Champions of world" are good cricketers but they might not be good actors. Forget everything else and just listen to the way they say phrases of the central theme -"No Idea" or "Get Idea" and compare it closely to the way Abhishek Bachchan said those words. You will see the difference it makes to the whole advertisement.

When we make a sequel, there are 2 important factors-
1. The novelty factor, enjoyed by first version, is already gone
2. When advertisement campaign was first , creatives had brand communication as topmost priority while in sequels they are burdened with additional responsibility to build creativity into it and the focus is lost to a) the advertisement theme and b) creativity around the theme. Somehow the message, which should be first priority, takes a back seat.
Anyways, I claim no expertise in advertising and above mentioned views are my personal thoughts, you may or may not agree with. Personally, I have been a big fan of advertisements of above two companies and just hoping to see some good advertisements from them.


Resurgence said...

Your are the master of marketing and so I am no one to comment but still... :)

I am very much with you on the Idea ad - Sometimes in an effort to cash in on a craze (this time WC) some campaigns try too hard... I think this campaign is a result of this syndrome.

On Vodafone ad, I agree with your views on Teaser campaigns... but you can forgive those when the curtain was reveled from the 'Superhero ZooZoo'... The ad has a clear message and gives a TOM to Vodafone... :)

This is what I think... may not be true / correct... :)

AbhiTaneja said...

I am also referring to the complete interview series of Vodafone here.

Superhero Zoozoo is yet another fine ad (and does it just the old way).. Simple and clear message.. No subtitles.. Well executed

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