REVIEWER: RAGHU BHAT AND MANISH BHATT
With around 13 years experience in advertising, Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt, founder-directors of Scarecrow Communications Ltd, have worked on brands such as Cadbury, Asian Paints, Wonderbra and Vaseline.
The new mobile number portability campaign for Idea Cellular created by Lowe Lintas features actor Abhishek Bachchan, who urges consumers to “get idea” if they have “no idea” why their network is acting up with bad connectivity, network, etc.
What did you think of the campaign?
The campaign highlights customized tariff plans, strength of network and better customer care. And prepares the ground for “number portability” in the last frame. The first thing that strikes us is that this is probably the first Idea campaign that doesn’t really have an idea. Nor is it topical. Instead, it employs a pun. As an advertising technique, the pun is much reviled. It’s often considered the poor second cousin of wit. But the right pun can deliver huge likeability and recall (what is Amul advertising without puns?). It can also serve as a verbal “takeaway” for the viewers.
On the other hand, puns may not have a long shelf life. Each additional exposure may lead to diminishing returns, as far as consumer engagement goes (it’s hard to laugh equally boisterously at the same joke twice, especially as the humour is limited only to the words of the audio). To that extent, the quality of the “No idea” pun isn’t outstanding. The quality of Abhishek’s acting, however, is competent and is an eyeball magnet.
Does the ad communicate that the brand is a better choice?
The objective of the campaign is to destroy inertia. People might be unhappy with their current service providers, but will this campaign persuade them to migrate to Idea? There are a few glitches in the way. First, number portability isn’t a term that is universally understood. Second, a rational decision like switching networks might involve rational reasons, like ease of switching. Alternatively, there needs to be a tangible demonstration of the network’s superiority,?which this campaign doesn’t address. Mere enunciation of the category benefits through a pun-based approach, albeit with a celebrity, may not be compelling enough by itself.
What must advertisers remember for such competitive sectors?
In telecom, there’s a constant deterioration of service standards. A rapidly growing customer base means clogged networks. There’s an increasing dissonance between the advertising promise and product delivery. Brand loyalties are getting reviewed all the time. Advertising shouldn’t add to the dissonance through over-promise. Added to this is the looming spectre of number portability. Against a backdrop of increasing inflation, pricing will matter more than ever. Retention is the key. Advertising can aid retention by strengthening the emotional connect. For this reason, there should be no cut-back in brand-building spends.
What’s you favourite ad in this category?
It’s hard to create a telecom blockbuster ad for a market as heterogenous as India. Therefore, the Vodafone pug ad makes the cut.
As told to Gouri Shah.