Reviewer: Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt

With about 13 years’ experience in advertising, Raghu Bhat and Manish Bhatt, founder-directors of Scarecrow Communications Ltd, have worked on brands such as Asian Paints, Religare Broking, Wonderbra and Vaseline.


The new advertisement for Idea Cellular by Lowe India seems to suggest that 3G is an answer to population control—the riveting content on 3G will ensure couples postpone lovemaking.

What did you think of the ad?

Engaging: The casting, music and production values are first-rate.

How does this ad compare with other 3G campaigns?

Though the quality of individual executions may have varied, Idea has always occupied the same brand space. By just being consistent, Idea has been able to differentiate itself vis-a-vis the competition. At one level, this TV commercial adds one more brick to the Idea edifice. Coming to 3G, it’s important to start with product promise. My personal experience and research —based on websites tracking user experience of the top six 3G providers—suggests that till now, no brand has been able to deliver a truly transcendental 3G experience. Faster downloads have been accompanied by lowering of signal strength. Therefore, any brand that tries to project a superior 3G experience may not be taken seriously. For a consumer to truly believe claims about a superior service, he needs to experience it. To that extent, I agree with Idea’s stance of announcing 3G in an engaging manner instead of overtly claiming a superior delivery.

Does it help brands to make references to the brand ambassadors’ real lives Abhishek Bachchan , in this instance) in ads?

A reference to an actor’s personal life in an ad is like a transfusion of his real persona into a make-believe world. From a “characterization" and cinematic perspective, it’s a gross violation. But Indians don’t seem to mind this (in the recent blockbuster Ready, actor Salman Khan adopted the mannerisms of his character Chulbul Pandey from another film). These trespassing of identities can create more recall for the ad in the short term. But this can also accelerate the process of him turning into a mascot for the brand, instead of being an endorser. This is not desirable because ideally, you would like a mascot that doesn’t age, doesn’t put on weight or give box-office duds.

As told to Gouri Shah.