A tale of the drum beats that made no sound

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | September 13, 2006
In an innovative attempt to encourage Mumbaikars to take part in the Ganeshotsav festivities, ad agency Umbrella got together with client 'The Times of India' and created a soundless film for the otherwise noisy festival

Ganesh Festival, or

'Ganeshotsav' as it is popularly called, is always celebrated in Mumbai with ample noise and gusto. Loud 'Ganpati Bappa Morya!' chants on the roads, firecrackers, drum beats, trumpets, dancing devotees and loudspeakers are essential elements of this 10-day festival.

So, one can just imagine the surprise on an average Mumbaikar's face when he switched on his television set on September 6, 2006 (the last day of the festival, called 'Visarjan'. On this day, Lord Ganesh's idols are immersed in sea water). On that day, ad agency Umbrella, in association with client 'The Times of India', released a 'soundless' film on the festival on channels Times Now and My Channel (a local cable channel in Mumbai).

The film took birth in the minds of Bhupal Ramnathkar, founder and creative director, Umbrella, and Sunil Shibad, a freelance writer with the agency.

"Shibad and I both live near the Shivaji Park beach in Mumbai, which is where the loudest festivities happen every year," says Ramnathkar. "Every year, we close our windows to shut the noise out. And most Mumbaikars tend to do this."

But this time, it was different. Ramnathkar wanted to do something about it. He wished to encourage Mumbaikars not to shut the festivities out like that; instead, they ought to be encouraged to participate in it. He immediately thought of his client, 'The Times of India', which was in the midst of organising its 'Utsav Moorti Sanman', a contest where the best Ganesh 'pandals' or shrines and the best Ganesh idols are judged upon by celebrities.

"We thought of this idea to promote the festivities in our own significant way, and 'The Times of India' gave us the perfect platform to do that," Ramnathkar says.

Ramnathkar, Shibad, and a cameraman ventured out on to the streets of Mumbai on the fifth day of the festival. On film, they captured the joyous spirit of the festival, with candid shots of Mumbaikars dancing on the streets, carrying Ganesh idols in elaborate processions on the road. The film also shows 'Ganesh Aartis' and offerings being made to Lord Ganesh at Lalbaug (the largest of the 'pandals' in Mumbai).

Every element of noise was captured, including drums and trumpets. Once shot, the film was quickly edited and was aired on the two channels on Visarjan Day. But here's the interesting part: it was aired with no sound in the background. A super towards the end of the film read: 'Don't turn up the volume. Open Your Window'. Logos of 'The Times of India' with its 'Utsav Moorti Sanman' completed the film.

Ramnathkar was careful to make the film look candid, and completely different from a run-of-the-mill commercial. Apart from this 'noiseless' innovation, Umbrella also came out with a thought-provoking print campaign to capture the spirit of the festival and popularise the 'Utsav Moorti Sanman'. These press ads were created by Bhupal Ramnathkar, Sanjay Sure, Prasad Patil, Rachna Surve and Sameer Kochure.

The press campaign had ads in two languages - four ads in Marathi and one in English. Interestingly, the Marathi ads, despite being regional in nature, were published in 'The Times of India', apart from 'Maharashtra Times'.

"We realised that on translating these Marathi ads into English, the effect was going away," says Ramnathkar. Besides, publishing Marathi ads in an English daily was an innovation in itself. "This only goes to show that this festival is no longer restricted to Maharashtrians only," feels Ramnathkar, as people from all walks of life celebrate it with enthusiasm.

He further gives due credit to Rahul Kansal, brand director, 'The Times of India', who was brave enough to back the idea of running an ad only for a day. The script was presented to Kansal and approved over a phone call. The commercial itself was shot, edited and ready-to-air in just 24 hours…with no sound recording costs, of course.

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

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© 2006 agencyfaqs!