Ashish Patil, general manager and senior vice-president, content and creative, MTV India, reviews the latest DTH ads of Tata Sky and Reliance Big TV. In a career spanning 15 years, Patil has worked with advertising agencies such as Contract Advertising and Lowe.

Getting real: Ashish Patil.


The new ad campaign for Tata Sky’s Active services has actor Aamir Khan playing the role of a ventriloquist, with the TV set as a puppet. The idea of the campaign is that with the new Tata Sky connection the TV will literally be a puppet in your hands . The other campaign for Reliance Big TV is a series of testimonial ads: One has a mother talking about how her son, who loves Spiderman, thinks the character “flies better and fights better" on another TV set. Another ad from the same campaign has a man talking about how a connection with Reliance Big TV wipes the screen clean of any annoying ads and banners.

Do you think the campaigns work?

In advertising, it’s never about clever lines and pretty pictures. The question is, can the ad make you feel? And then, make you cross over and take action. The new Tata Sky ad is definitely more fun than the last few with actor Gul Panag. The ad has cleverly positioned the TV as a puppet in your hands. Although a literal leap, all the features are listed, followed with some idiot-proof product windows and tied in nicely with the jhinga la la jingle. It’s nicely executed and inexpensive, barring the cost of hiring Khan.

Under control: The new Tata Sky ad with Khan and the puppet.

The new Reliance Big TV ad series scream out in a category where almost every brand has a celebrity crutch. What works is that it’s real, identifiable and makes a promise (of better picture and sound, etc.) that is relevant to me. They nailed the casting, which is great, because testimonial advertising can be quite tricky. What doesn’t work is that I could replace the Reliance Big TV logo with any other brand. Unlike, say, a Vodafone ad, where you know it’s their ad without actually seeing the logo.

All DTH brands seem to focus on features and deliverables.

This category is so new that the first step is to create a demand. This product is not cheap and requires some amount of thought, investment and commitment. It’s not like you can rip out the connection and return it if you hate it. So some of this rationalization is necessary. The challenge then is to bring more to the table. How you deliver this message can be emotional, for instance, what does “life jhinga la la" mean? Nothing. But it still communicates a sense of fun and happiness.

Who is doing a good job in their communications strategy?

Currently, Tata Sky. They had the first-mover advantage and created a space for themselves with their outrageous tag line. They have also been fairly consistent in their communication and are way ahead of the other boys in terms of market share.