eBay India ads – of DD and a parody

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I was quite intrigued to see the new ads for eBay India on TV. They stood out from the clutter and actually made me stop my magazine reading-web surfing-channel surfing-routine. Yes, the format is different and helps break clutter. But is ‘let’s do a spoof of the good old Doordarshan days’ an idea by itself? I think not.

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, India.

The rest of the ads in the series are here. The trick in such formats – a ‘send up’, a parody- is that the self-deprecating manner must come through clear & loud. And it must be er… funny? I don’t know if you recall, in the good old days when MTV India used to play only English music, they used to run a lot of their firang promos. One of the promos was a parody of 1950’s advertising, done in black & white. It shows a couple in a doctor’s chamber complaining of some ailment. And the doctor recommends MTV – and brings forth a Horlicks shaped bottle with an MTV label. All done in mock seriousness and slightly over the top. That kind of humour worked in some of the ads for Aaj Tak where they spoofed old Hindi films. The delivery and the execution doesn’t have that biting humour.

The choice of ‘actors’ – Dr. Narottam Puri and Komal G B Singh – maybe driven by the fact that India’s No.1 e-Commerce hub is ‘the Delhi’. They are unlikely to be recognized South of the Vindhyas, especially among the youth. In an interesting census done by eBay India, Delhi came up trumps. And their Top 5 purchases: Loose Gemstones-Diamond, USB Drives, British Indian Coins, Indian Stamps and Fashion-Wrist Watches for Women.

The ads communicate the message – shopping on eBay gives you discounts, is safe and offers variety. But are they engaging, funny and convert the fence sitters into shoppers? Do comment.

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  1. I think the ad was made by someone who had the hots for Komal Singh in his younger days. As for Puri and Singh combination, I’m sure they have pan-India recall especially if you grew up in the 80s.

  2. @Mumbai Paused, thanks for the comment:) Have you seen the billboards? They’ve got this 70s model type gaping at the viewer and just the branding.

  3. Here’s my question. WHY?

    1. Why this campaign?
    2. Why the 80 s Doordarshan theme. And why in B/W?
    3. Why the terrible hoarding executions?
    4. Why did the client spend money on this?
    5.Why did W&K allow this?

  4. Maybe I am wrong, but when I saw the 2 names W+K and ebay I really expected some kick-ass work to be done on the brand. but it’s a total #fail I thought. The DD spoof, weak script – i am not sure if the message has got across that shopping on ebay is safe OR that there are great discounts available online.

    And the outdoor adaptations looks like something done by a advertising student. Sad.

    could have done much better.

  5. Gurcharan Singh Ahluwalia Reply

    Could these ads be any worse? If thts their attempt at humour then they have failed miserably. Which idiot thot this wud be the best way to promote an ebay site? Someone actually saw this on a storyboard and thot that it would look good on tv??????? Indian advertising has come a long way to go back to pc ads like these.

  6. Actually i found the ad to be pretty unique, plus the voice of the actors in it sounds good too. I guess am an old user of site. Just the presence of the ad on TV, made me realize that i haven’t purchased from eBay recently. So i guess the ad did work for me 🙂

  7. Sriram Iyer Reply

    The Show is called the ‘e-bay show’, then why do people call up with their problems? should’nt it be ‘agony aunt + uncle show’ and then these guys ‘unexpectedly’ dish out only e-bay gyan?! #fail on that front?

  8. Not debating execution, it is very different and does stand out.

    What intrigued me, was a sense of a missed opportunity; an execution talks about online credit card usage, a pretty good barrier to work on. On the other hand, there are discounts, which may be altogether another story. Somewhere, I got the sense too much was attempted in one campaign.

  9. Vivek Chauhan Reply

    Well…with Narottam Puri and Komal GB Singh, the ad does manage to make you stop from the incessant channel surfing! But frankly, there is nothing more to it. The idea and execution are just insipid, boring and not worth anything. A really shoddy job. They had the opportunity top do something better that goes abegging!

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