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Hits the sweet spot

Reviewer: Roopak Saluja

Founder and chief executive officer of The 120 Media Collective, a Mumbai-based multi-platform content company, Saluja has made television commercials and other content for Unilever, Nokia, L’Oréal, Pepsi, Sony, Johnson & Johnson and Volkswagen.


The new ad for online retailer Flipkart.com titled, “India Wants to Know", by Happy Creative Services, extends the children-as-adults concept. The ad spoofs the format of news TV debate shows. The question and answer format is used to address consumer concerns about online shopping. Tag line: Ab sirf shopping nahin, Flipkart karo (Don’t just shop, do Flipkart).

What did you think of the ad?

Talk about tapping into the zeitgeist. Who isn’t sick and weary of what our news channels subject us to? Who better to take potshots at than good old Arnab (Goswami, of Times Now)? Juxtaposing the news setting with the Flipkart kid world just dials up the amusement quotient to another level. People always seem tickled by the Flipkart kid world. While it’s brought a smile to my face, I’ve been a tad less enthusiastic about the campaigns than the average person. That is, until now. This iteration hits the sweet spot and judging from my Facebook newsfeed, they’ve definitely scored big across the board this time around.

Does their decision to use children in ads work?

Of course, it does. It’s allowed them to break through the clutter and create an ownable world that’s limitlessly extendable. It’s probably a casting nightmare but well worth the effort.

What must e-commerce sites keep in mind while planning their campaigns?

Cost per customer acquisition is a key success metric for start-ups and e-commerce players. As a result, production costs and media ad spend need to be kept to a minimum. E-commerce is such a crowded space that it’s clearly a case of “differentiate or die". While online media spend is far more efficient, one player spending heavily online compels the competition to do the same. At the end of the day, he who has deeper pockets has a greater chance of success. That’s where creativity can be a trump card in helping bring down that acquisition cost number.

Any other ad that you think is cool in this category?

E*TRADE’s “Monkey" from Superbowl 2000 that features an old man and his odd-looking younger companion sitting still, then joined by a monkey who puts on some music and starts to dance on a chair. His human cohorts accompany him by clapping in the most ridiculous manner you’ve ever seen. It ends with a super that says, “Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?" referring to the exorbitant ad rates during the Superbowl. Gutsy. Cheeky. Brilliant.

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