Idea #UlluMatBano: the new advertising

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When pundits say that the ‘good old 30-second commercial is dead’ many old-schoolers in advertising point to the ever growing popularity of TV, even in developed countries and laugh. Those who proclaim the death of the TVC are considered to charlatans and worse still, labeled with the ultimate insult: ‘social media expert’. In my view, the death of the 30-second commercial is not upon us – the power of television is unmatched in many markets and a well-made TV commercial still has the power to impact a target audience like no other medium. However, what needs to be understood is the sentiment behind the ‘TV is dead’ statement. It simply means that for many categories, simply making a TV commercial and executing the TV idea across traditional media is just not enough. There has to be a central idea that allows for a creative expression across platforms. Not just that, it has to exploit the strengths of each platform.

In that context, Idea Cellular’s #UlluMatBano is an outstanding example (another winner from Lowe Lintas – Tata Tea’s ‘Power of 49’ being another one) of brand communication in today’s world. The central idea is based on real consumer behaviour which has been translated into an insight. Consumer’s do look for ‘information’ on the internet – the nature of the information varies from time-critical useful search to little nuggets of trivia  to enriching one’s knowledge. Google called it the Zero Moment of Truth in another context – consumers search for product information even before entering an online or offline shop to short list products. Thanks to the internet, ‘consumer funnel’ has changed shape from an inverted pyramid to a hexagon perhaps – people search for a product, expand the shortlisted options and then narrow it down again to a handful after further refining the search. And information on every brand (even if it is a person) is available online. Hence, the consumer has the real power to know the truth. This kind of behaviour has been crafted into an insight: people have the power to call someone out.  The higher order benefit has the power to connect across the board.

Agency: Lowe Lintas

The agency could have made a conventional 30-second ad but have crafted elements that are suited for new media: a film designed to go viral on YouTube, a song that can easily go on to radio and as caller tunes and a hashtag that has the potential to be associated with larger issues on Twitter (yet have a brand link). This is the reality of new advertising.

The only downside I see is that Idea operates in a category ripe for consumer grouses. Call drops , a poor connectivity in some areas, low speed are all common across all players in that category and there is always a gap between claim and delivery. So consumers can accuse Idea too of taking their consumers for a ride. Nevertheless, the central idea resonates with most as you invariably connect back to  your own behaviour of having ‘fact checked’ on the internet or it evokes the ‘serves them right’ reaction. I wish the ad had little less of a ‘nautanki‘ flavour (with people bursting into a friendly song & dance routine every time someone is busted) but the campaign is great advertising for advertising. It is rooted in a consumer insight, has a central idea beyond just a TVC and a creative expression that utilises the power of new media’s social platform.


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