Reviewer: Roopak Saluja
Roopak Saluja is managing director and executive producer for Bang Bang Films, which produces television commercials and other content for brands such as Unilever, Nokia, Pepsi and Sony, among others.
Season 2: The Vodafone campaign’s got a lot more juice left in it.
The latest set of Zoozoo ads for Vodafone.
What did you think of the ads?
The Hutch Pug. What a hard act to follow! Yet, come 2009 and the Zoozoos take India by storm. Dada, Mummy, Uncle, Baby…universal rib-tickling humour. Rarely has a campaign become such a pervasive hit in such short time, anywhere in the world. A culmination of great strategy, creative execution and even media planning coming together to get it on point. And had they just been cute animated white whatevers, that would’ve been another thing. But no, they came with an intriguing behind-the-scenes story attached: They weren’t animated at all. They were real humans in costume, with nifty little characteristic embellishments, which were the touches that made the campaign so endearing—those little details that stretched the Zoozoos from being something to laugh at to bloody brilliant.
Formula check: Roopak Saluja.
Does the new Zoozoo series match up to the launch campaign?
Thanks, Prakash Varma (of Ogilvy and Mather, or O&M). Thanks for augmenting the envy I feel about the fact that “Zoozoos” was not done by Bang Bang. Many say the Zoozoos have lost their sheen this season. I think it’s simply the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. Some spots, whether this year or last, are better than others because they’re better ideas, they’ve been better executed or both. Plain logic: If some are better, others have to be worse. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during a Zoozoos brainstorming session with Rajiv Rao (also of O&M) and team or at a Vodafone client meeting. Just imagine all the brilliant ideas that get rejected.
What should a brand consider while planning a campaign that follows an exceptionally popular campaign?
I wouldn’t call this a new campaign. It’s just another season of the Zoozoos. And I think this campaign’s got a lot more juice left in it. Absolut’s been running the same one for 30 years.
There is no guaranteed method to replicate success. You can repeat everything you did right the last time and hope it’ll yield the same results, but sometimes it just doesn’t click. Say something else this time, but keep speaking the same language. Also, don’t try to be something you aren’t. Case in point, those Vodafone-like Airtel spots with groups of little kids from last year.
Which brand has managed to consistently put out good work?
Volkswagen, Nike, Absolut, Levi’s are obvious ones that have managed a consistent level of superiority across decades. One of my favourites is Budweiser—whether talking lizards, singing frogs and dogs or a bunch of rambunctious black guys acting like likeable idiots, the brand speaks one language, the language of beer-drinking men. Know your audience.
As told to Gouri Shah.