Xbox 360: Are you game for it?

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | October 16, 2006
In an ad that marks the launch of Microsoft's gaming device, the Xbox 360, in India, McCann-Erickson has tried the virtual reality route to portray the fascinating world of gaming

Perhaps the

day is not far off when pigs will fly. Maybe even humans. In the fascinating world of gaming, everything is possible.

In a film marking the launch of Microsoft Corp's gaming device, the Xbox 360, in India, McCann-Erickson has tried to accomplish two tasks: to introduce the console to people and to build up the gaming category as a whole.

"Gaming is at a very nascent stage in India," says Mohit Anand, country manager, Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division, India. "We had to take the concept of gaming out of a teenage boy's bedroom and expand the segment to include families and even office colleagues."

Accordingly, Prasoon Joshi, regional creative director, South and South East Asia, McCann-Erickson, decided to create a commercial that reflected the state of mind of such gamers. "Being a gamer myself, I understand how involving it is to play games," he says. "Games tend to overlap with your real life. A game has the quality of transporting people to a different world, a place where it is possible to do anything or be anyone."

Joshi was clear from the beginning that he wanted to introduce the fun aspect of gaming in the ad. "International gaming ads have this dark quality about them," he says. "The viewer gets the feeling that gaming is only about warriors, fights and bullets. If we were to popularise gaming in India, we knew we had to stay away from the serious stuff."

Enter brand ambassadors Yuvraj Singh and Akshay Kumar. The latter, a Bollywood actor, represents the fun and entertainment aspect of the communication, while cricketer Singh represents the gaming part of it.

The film opens on a shot of Yuvraj Singh and Akshay Kumar travelling in a rustic village bus. On reaching their destination, Kumar flicks off Singh's sunglasses and tells him, "Oye, brother, fashion utaar! Gaon aa gaya. (Oh brother, there's no point in sporting fashion here. We're in a village now.")

But just as they move forward, they are surprised to see a small boy waving to them from mid-air on a makeshift skateboard. Further into the village, they spot a young woman somersaulting her way into a nearby well, pitcher in tow. She emerges from the well seconds later, deftly catching the pitcher full of water. The two celebrities are rather alarmed now and move away from the woman, only to find what looks like a swarm of insects advancing their way. On closer inspection, they find them to be villagers who are going about their daily work in the fields, flying from place to place.

Other visuals, such as old ladies jumping high in the air while grinding red chillies and an old man jumping up and down on his charpoy in a superhuman way, completely stump the two. The climax comes when they see a young woman in her house cooking 'chapatis'. She blows onto a cooked 'chapati' and off it goes out of her hut, much like a frisbee, to land on her husband's plate far away in a field. Not pleased with what he's got, the man's neck extends all the way to where his wife is, and he demands, "Where is the 'ghee'?"

Just as Kumar and Singh are about to faint with the shock of how their village has changed, a 'flying' boy points to an Xbox 360 console nearby. A voiceover concludes, "Welcome to the amazing world of the Xbox 360. Game On."

According to Joshi, the ad would have hit the viewer's blind spot had it been in an urban setting. "The contradictory mix of villagers with superhuman powers is what adds to the fascinating element," he explains.

Internationally, the Xbox 360 is positioned as a brand that is fun, sleek and entertaining. Its global tagline is, 'Jump In'.

Anand of Microsoft reveals that in May 2006, the company did a research study in India involving hardcore gamers, casual gamers and non-gamers. Australian firm Torch devised the research techniques and methodologies and Quantum executed it in India. Six concepts were short-listed, out of which two were chosen as promising. One was the positioning, 'Xbox 360 Will Decide', which got a favourable response because it portrayed a level playing field. The other statement, 'Surprise Yourself', which was received well, was based on the thought, 'When was the last time you did something for the first time?'

Later, a marriage of these two concepts led to the birth of 'Game On'. The film has been directed by Ram Madhvani of Equinox Films. The film was shot over six days at Filmcity, Mumbai, where an artificial outdoor set was created and people were dangled from ropes, to make it look like they were flying. The stunt coordinator was Shyam Kaushal, who has also worked on the Hindi film, 'Krrish'. The post-production was done by Prima Focus Plus and Animagic. The latter was also in charge of computer animation.

The background score has been composed by Ram Sampat, and the voiceovers have been done by Prasoon Joshi and Ram Madhvani.

For the record, Microsoft recently launched a virtual cricket game in India, called 'Yuvraj Singh International Cricket 2007', under the Xbox 360 brand.

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