When it comes to advertising the flatness of flat-screen televisions, almost everything there was to say about 'flatness' has been said. No. Actually, all that has been said, over and over again, is that flat-screen TVs have flat screens. As far as brand salience is concerned, the takeout for the consumer has been marginal.
Advertisers and agencies cannot be faulted for this, really. Demonstrating 'flatness' through television - or print, for that matter - is no child's play. Then, again, perhaps all that has been missing is effort. The latest
commercial for Akai's Pure Flat TV suggests as much, considering it has brilliantly explored the possibilities of demonstrating flatness. Through television.
The commercial - made by Quadrant Communications - starts with an overhead shot of a football pitch, where a match is about to start. The referee places the football on the marker and is about to blow his whistle, when the ball lamely rolls off to one side. The referee shrugs, picks up the ball and places it on the marker a second time. The ball rolls to the other side, this time.
As the commentator talks about "some problem here", the exasperated referee fetches the ball, places it firmly on the marker, and steps back. The ball simply refuses to stay in place. Thoroughly frustrated, the referee fumes at the camera. He then picks up the ball and motions the players to follow him to another… TV screen! An Akai Pure Flat television, as it turns out. The referee places the ball on the marker. This time ball doesn't budge and the game kicks-off.
What sets this ad apart is the fact that till the camera zooms out to reveal that the match is on television, there is absolutely no inkling about what this ad is all about. It is only when the referee and the players march to the new pitch - screen, that is - and when the voiceover introduces Pure Flat, that the viewer realizes this is an ad for a flat-screen television. It helps that the entire film has been shot from an overhead 'sportscast' perspective.
"My basic thinking on the Pure Flat TV was that either manufacturers try to sell flat TVs as status symbols, or they are trying to say how flat their TV is," says K.S. Gopal, creative director, Quadrant. "Curiously, no one seemed to ask the obvious question - why a flat TV versus the black box that's now sitting in your home? We wondered whether we could demonstrate this difference on TV?" For Gopal, the idea for this ad sprung from nowhere. "Initially, I was thinking about an overhead shot of a guy in a bar, and his drink keeps sliding off the bar table. Eventually the football field idea happened."
Interestingly, the flat-screen segment's contribution to the growth of the 54-lakh units Indian CTV market is quite minimal. In fact, much of the activity in this segment is simply aimed at retaining dominance and recall in a competitive scenario. "Flat TVs are not leading the market," says Arjun Sen, client services director, Quadrant. "It's only that consumers are now considering Flat TVs since they are new and affordable." Incidentally, the Pure Flat is the lowest priced offering in this segment.
The 21-inch Akai Pure Flat was launched in October 2000, and the company claims to have already sold 15,000 Pure Flat sets. Akai, it appears, is pinning a lot of hopes on the Pure Flat range. After all, since its launch, Pure Flat has contributed to 8 per cent of Akai's turnover, and the company expects "a substantial increase in Pure Flat's contribution next year".
Akai claims that in the flat-screen segment, Pure Flat has carved a 16-per cent market share, and the target is to take the figure to 25 per cent in the next six months. For its part, since its relaunch in March 1999, Akai has upped its market share in the CTV market from 0.92 per cent to 5.5 per cent.
Agency: Quadrant Communications, Mumbai
Creative : K.S. Gopal, Komal Bedi Sohal
Servicing : Arjun Sen, Boniface Noronha
Filmmaker : Raj Kaushal
Production House : Fuel Films
Photography : Rajeev Jain
Editor : Glenn/Studio Plus
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