Meet the mini skirt clad ST bus hostess

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | December 21, 2005
The commercial for ING Vysya's latest mutual fund offering, the LION Fund, rides on the theme of 'Expect the Unexpected'. Think of an air hostess on a state transport bus and you've cracked their communication strategy

A state transport

bus with an air hostess in a mini skirt, offering the passengers hot towels? The imagination boggles? Expect the Unexpected! That is what ING Vysya conveys in its first TVC for the LION Fund.

The new commercial for ING Vysya's latest offering opens on the shot of the inside of a stationary state transport (ST) bus, where villagers are pushing and pulling to grab a seat. A man is busy crushing tobacco in his palm, a woman is yelling at her kids. Another man enters the bus, carrying a metal trunk and pushes his way through.

The next shot shows a small (hold your breath!) goat in the middle of the bus, jostling its way through, like the others. In the midst of all this chaos appears an air hostess, mini skirt and all, and makes an announcement in clipped tones: "Kripya dhyaan dijiye! State Transport ki vahan No. 532 mein aapka swagat hain. Driver Atmaram Dhondupant aur cabin crew ki orr se hum asha karte hain ki aapki yatra sukhadmay rahegi (Your attention please! Welcome to State Transport Bus No. 532. Driver Atmaram Dhondupant and the cabin crew wish you a happy journey.")

As if this wasn't enough for the shocked villagers, another air hostess offers hot towels to an old couple who look at her in total bewilderment.

This is when the logo of ING Vysya's LION Fund appears for the first time, with the super, 'Expect the Unexpected'.

The TVC certainly is successful in breaking the clutter with its humorous approach. But how well does it go with the product's profile?

"LION is a multi-cap fund. This is not only a well-packaged product, it even offers a continuous performance of the mutual fund, which is quite unexpected. So, in a way, the TVC actually delivers the message we wanted to convey," says ING Vysya Mutual Fund country head, business development, Vikaas Sachdeva.

Sachdeva continues: "ING Vysya has always adopted the humorous route to connect with its TG. This time, we thought to draw interesting parallels from real life."

But hasn't the financial category repeatedly explored the humorous approach?

Sachdeva shrugs, "The mutual fund category broadly uses two appeals: rational and outright emotional. What you are referring to is probably the banking sector because the State Bank of India has recently adopted a humorous approach in its campaign."

He insists that humour has worked for ING Vysya in the past. "After the 'Bowling' and 'Basketball' commercials went on air for our Dividend Yield Fund, we ended up earning revenue of Rs 400 crore, by bringing in 38,000 investors. The biggest challenge in a category such as mutual funds is to address 30-35 year old yuppies, who have surplus monies to invest in MFs, but are either cynical about the returns or ill-informed. The communication for our LION Fund hopes to tackle that problem," he explains.

Everest Brand Solutions' former national creative director, Milind Dhaimade, who also happens to be the director of the film, offers an interesting sound byte: "The LION Fund is a new product which offers much more than the traditional MF. The brief was to bring out the message hilariously. My team and I were brainstorming on how to portray the whole 'Expect the Unexpected' theme, when one of them thought of showing an aeroplane with a bus conductor in it. I decided to flip that around and make the experience of this mutual fund like having an airhostess on an ST bus."

The film has been produced by Jigsaw Films. The ad was shot in one day at Filmcity, Mumbai. What's even more interesting is that around 40-50 real villagers from Satara, Maharashtra, were used as passengers in the bus. Dhaimade elaborates, "I could have cast townies, too, but I wanted that authentic look in the eye of a villager, which urban folk don't have."

So how difficult was it to get them to act? "That was the fun part," exclaims the filmmaker in Dhaimade. "I didn't tell them to act at all. I placed the camera inside the bus and kept the film rolling for 30 minutes. For a while, these people sat still, but soon restlessness started setting in. So, most of what one sees is spontaneous. In fact, after some time, I suddenly shouted out to them. So, some of the expressions of surprise that you see are the reactions to my voice!"

In fact, the goat was thrown in to bring out the 'authenticity' even further. However, in a commercial where the proposition rolls out in the last five seconds, isn't there a risk of compromising the message in the effort of entertaining the audience?

"We want it that way," Sachdeva says. According to him, once the entertainment registers, people tend to get curious about which brand put out the entertaining ad.

"Surprisingly, a lot of people remember the 'lion' symbol we have used at the end of the ad," Sachdeva points out. "The commercial has already started delivering results. Ever since the commercial rolled out, we have managed to collect Rs 300 crore with the help of 42,000 investors. And this is a big feat in such a short span of time!"

Sachdeva believes that his brand has found its communication strength in humour. So, will the next ad feature a kid guiding his parents on the benefits of family planning?

Expect the unexpected.

2005 agencyfaqs!

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