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Wish I had made this ad... | Well done, Mahalingam

Wish I had made this ad... | Well done, Mahalingam
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First Published: Sun, May 18 2008. 10 30 AM IST

Brilliant strategy: TV grabs from the Virgin Mobile service commercial.
Brilliant strategy: TV grabs from the Virgin Mobile service commercial.
Updated: Wed, May 21 2008. 07 40 PM IST
Out of the 33 commercials that were emailed to me, one jumped out and violently grabbed me in the gut.
Brilliant strategy: TV grabs from the Virgin Mobile service commercial.
It wasn’t very flattering to give in so easily. But, Mahalingam wasn’t an easy man to ignore.
So, instead of getting into the trite business of deflating some really important egos in our midst, I chose a tougher plank.
In an industry that essentially survives on spite, venom and shadow fighting, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to stand up and applaud a campaign.
It might even come as the clichéd whiff of a redolent breeze. But, who cares? May it blow merrily. Insecurity was never my strong suit. Or grovelling tie.
First off, what a brilliant strategy! You certainly didn’t come through as living your Virgin name in the hardcore telecom market.
Prathap Suthan
I would even think that, somehow, it is a relief to watch the relegation of the Vodafone dog to its place. I mean, even at the risk of sounding offensive, I cannot stand that haughty pooch.
Coming back to Mahalingam, I think if anything could have thought up that strategy, it possibly had to be the Branson DNA.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to get paid for receiving calls? And what I wouldn’t do to get people to call me.
Wrong numbers, may your tribe flourish. And may every eager bank, insurance company, hotel and call centre call me whenever they want.
I will be delighted to have a conversation about my warts.
And when you have such an incisive and rich strategy, life is but a crisis of plenty for the creative ilk. At least when you know what needs to be said, how to say it is butter on the cob.
So, here I am, drooling at Mahalingam on his phone.
While I love the other commercials as well, Mahalingam takes the brand thought to a new level. A little taboo, but dangerously true.
Watch what Prathap Suthan had to say about the Virgin Mobile ad by Bates India
Watch what Prathap Suthan had to say about the Virgin Mobile ad by Bates India
Who among my hairy friends hasn’t surreptitiously leered at those seedy ads, and contemplated making that furtive call? It is one of those hooks that can bait the most vegetarian Brahmin.
Everything about the film is imperfection-proof: the casting, the timing, the acting, the nervousness, the butterflies in the stomach, the anticipation, the suppressed laughter, the naughty boys, the tone and the music — boy, am I jealous!
I am pretty sure that I don’t have to play surgeon anymore. You guys must have seen this commercial, and I am sure you would have liked it or loved it. Prudes excepted.
I haven’t checked if the advertising has or hasn’t translated into swelling numbers. Neither am I keen to know.
Santosh Desai gives us his take on the Virgin Mobile ad by Bates India.
We can only create advertising that makes people like or even love a brand. Nothing more. We can tease. We can nudge. But we don’t shove.
People have to first open up to the advertising, before they open up their wallets. Beyond that are the thorns of reality — prices, network coverage, services, tariffs, etc.
That is beyond the purview of my craft. That is your job, dear client.
Well done, Mahalingam. And Rajeev, if you are reading this, make that malt 21 years or older.
Prathap Suthan is the National creative director, Chell Communications
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First Published: Sun, May 18 2008. 10 30 AM IST