What an Advertise-Meant?

my take on the latest Indian advertisements             

Vodafone SMS @ 10 p ‘Proposal’ Ad

with 12 comments

{Double click to view larger video}

Tagline: “Now everyone will know”/”Make the most of now”

Agency: [Need to find out]

Duration: 45 seconds

First seen: January ’09

Ad Message: Introducing the new reduced tariff for Vodafone SMS service

Target Audience: Middle income group (13-24 years)

Frequency: Medium-High

Description: The ad opens with a middle-aged guy picking up a ring from a store where the owner(s) shake his hand and smile at him encouragingly. The rest of the ad shows the guy’s journey to his destination – a group of oldies in a cab staring at him, another guy shaking his hand, a group of college guys giggling at him, a girl offering him a ride in her car, people staring from their verandah and an old lady even pulling at his cheeks – all of them sporting a mischievous I-know-what-you-are-up-to smile. He finally reaches the café to meet his girlfriend only to find the others staring at him with the all too familiar look again. He slides next to his girlfriend nervously as the ad ends with the all-red-Vodafone screen displaying “SMS @ 10p, Now everyone will know. SMS TEN to 111”

[Caution: Strictly opinionated comments follow]

It is alright to create ads that force you to flex your imagination, but eventually the truth must dawn. And that’s where this one falters. From what I have understood of this ambiguous ad is that the affair and the fact that the guy is going to pop-the-question today is the talk of the town thanks to Vodafone sms’ being as cheap as 10 p. But that’s what I thought of it. I mean, just the fact that I have to wonder if I got the story right is enough of a put-off for me.

Moreover, can I relate to it? Hell no! Will the 13-24 year old youth who is the primary user of the SMS feature (and most likely to be thrilled about the cheaper service) be able to relate to this ad? I don’t think so.

Whether it is the sleepy-distinctively “non-Indian”-town backdrop or the main guy who looks like he is caught in a mid-life crisis, this one seems to be trying too hard to be different. I would go so far to say that it is ok to be predictable and get the message across rather than being innovative and leave the viewer (read potential customer) wondering.

In fact, they did have a truly brilliant idea in “Now everyone will know” (oh, the irony of this tagline!) concept – the same ad in a college setting with some visuals of people actually texting each other fervently would have done the trick for me. Oh, but that would have been too in-your-face you see ;). The only other thing that deserves a mention is the background score, it seems to be different, and yes in a good way (unlike the rest of the ad). You can grab the mp3 version here.

Sorry Vodafone, but ‘Not everyone will know’ what you are trying to say here!

  Weight Rating W * R
Idea/Innovation/Creativity 15 4 60
Storyline/Screenplay 10 3 30
Music/Jingle 10 6.5 65
Cinematography 5 5 25
Acting 5 6 30
Duration vs Impact 5 2 10
Cost vs Impact 5 3 15
Recall     0
Brand Recall 10 5 50
Ad Memorability 5 3 15
Tagline 7.5 6 45
Product Association 5 3 15
Target Audience Connect 7.5 2 15
Entertainment 5 3 15
Claim 2.5 3 7.5
Emotional Appeal 2.5 1 2.5
Total 100   400

Weighted Average Rating: 400/100 = 4.00 (on a scale of 10)

What did you think about this one –


12 Responses

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  1. I agree with you that the message of the ad was not visible.

    I think the main purpose of the ad was not to inform the users of 10p sms package, but it was just to keep the visibility of the brand. Because the users of this service would be alerted about the package by a more direct sms, so the people to whom it matter would any how will know about it. And this particular scheme of 10p sms is a addon feature which is very much a temporary scheme and is not likely to have impact on the new connection sale. The same is the case with their hoardings the actual scheme is always shown in small fonts, whereas the whole idea is show in big imgages, most of the people will miss the font, but the images will get stuck in people’s mind in form of brand recall. For eg. i can recall a parrot on their hoarding but i dont remember what it was about.


    January 13, 2009 at 3:26 am

    • @maya: I loved reading your different point of view on this one, very informative as well. However, even if we assume that brand recall is the only objective – with just one fleeting shot of the vodafone red screen at the end I am not sure how effective it would be. It is unlike the little-girl-and-her-pug series that have strong association with Vodafone brand. It might be their strategy to highlight the brand and downplay the scheme in the hoardings but having spent a boatload of money on a 45 second commercial, I would expect them to use it wisely and create much more impact than it currently does.


      January 13, 2009 at 1:19 pm

  2. Any idea whts the name of the jingle played in the background?


    January 25, 2009 at 7:03 pm

  3. Jingle in background is really catchy.. if possible please tell name of it.. it would be really helpful..


    January 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    • @ pradeep: as far as I know, it is a jingle created specially for the ad.

      @ Marshall: did you try the link available at the end of my post?


      February 4, 2009 at 5:04 pm

  4. The ad is incredible. I loved the music and i am searching it. can you suggest me the link or mail it directly to marshall@in.com



    February 1, 2009 at 7:08 am

  5. Can anyone tell whats the name of the jingle that plays in the background and if anyone finds it please forward it to me on indyaking@gmail.com



    February 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

  6. The suits at Vodafone too probably thought that this ad doesn’t talk to the Target Group, cos there is a follow-up campaign on air right now which features college kids standing next to each other, and SMSing each other.

    But the, I would forget the college-kids ka ad but would remember the Proposal-ad


    February 16, 2009 at 5:23 am

  7. @Neeraj: I think my question is – what would the college kids (aka primary users of sms feature) remember?


    February 18, 2009 at 11:44 am

  8. @AsMi: I think this is a nice campaign. On contrary to your view, I think the target audience (13-24 old youth of this generation, specially in cities) will definitely be able to relate to the ad and the message.


    February 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

  9. Ad is very good & music of jingle is very awesome.Please forward me link to download this jingle in my phone- Himasnhu

    Himanshu K. Shah

    May 9, 2009 at 9:58 am

  10. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.


    September 9, 2009 at 2:47 pm

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