New Delhi: It’s that time of the year when brands go berserk wooing consumers to loosen their purse strings and, in that process, end up using every possible cliché attached to the festive season. Family reunions, hyper excited children and jewellery gifting are some of the props used in a typical Diwali ad. Netflix India, the popular online streaming service, along with Bollywood director Anurag Kashyap is taking a dig at all this in its new digital campaign .
Made by digital agency The Glitch, the tongue-in-cheek film campaign opens with a brightly lit home with floating candles and diyas as the voice-over begins stating Diwali is that time of the year when the whole family comes together. The camera pans to the man of the house (played by Kashyap) who is surrounded by his wife and two children happily sharing sweets. They are soon joined by the grandfather who is holding a basket full of crackers and the children dash off to light them. Kashyap is shown gifting his wife a beautiful jewellery set and the family finally settles on the couch for the perfect selfie when Kashyap turns to the camera and asks the viewers why are they still watching this ad.
The film ends with the predictable message: “Ads may never change but your entertainment certainly can" through Netflix’s ad-free content.
Netflix, the American TV and film streaming site, which entered India on 6 January, declined to comment on its social media campaign. But the platform which has over 86 million members globally has been promoting its streaming service among the digitally-connected and tech-savvy consumers as well as those who have smartphones and own Apple accounts, heavily through its Life without Netflix campaign in India. The platform’s first-ever digital brand film for India, titled Commitment, featuring standup comedian Abish Mathew, was launched in July. In September, Netflix released another ad featuring Tanmay Bhatt, standup artiste and member of popular comedy group All India Bakchod (AIB).
In terms of content, Netflix’s only big announcement in India has been the original series—Sacred Games—produced in partnership with Phantom Films, a film studio founded by Kashyap, Madhu Mantena, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vikas Bahl. The platform has also rolled out Brahman Naman, a comedy by celebrated Indian director Qaushiq Mukherjee popularly known as Q, globally. Popular shows such as House of Cards, Breaking Bad and Fargo are also available in the country. Interestingly, all the latest seasons of shows such as the Outlander, Orange Is The New Black, Marvel’s Daredevil and the Arrow were made available to Indian users at the same time they were released in the US. In line with its global strategy, Netflix is free of advertising in India.
Commenting on Netflix’s take on the clichéd Diwali ads, Rajiv Dingra, chief executive and founder of WATConsult, the digital and social media agency of Dentsu Aegis Network, said while the thought and idea is bang on, the execution could have been much funnier. “I think the voice-over sort of took away from the execution elements. Even then the ad is a nice tongue-in-cheek attempt and does break the clutter in the Diwali segment," he said.
Meanwhile, Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, senior creative director, JWT India, felt that the Netflix campaign is clichéd itself. He said Netflix has pulled off the oldest advertising trick in the world—the “this will never change but thankfully this will" card.
“What a letdown! But hey, that’s us. We’re rockstars at making fun of stereotypes around us, while staying nauseatingly true to another set of stereotypes as we do. Netflix is probably the world’s biggest and most successful content platform and surely it could have made a better content piece without tearing down the clichéd Diwali ads," he said.