afaqs!

Idea: SMS comes to the rescue

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 21, 2008
In the new television commercial for Idea, brand ambassador Abhishek Bachchan plays a tour guide at the Taj Mahal

In the & #BANNER1 & # Hindi film, Bunty Aur Babli, actor Abhishek Bachchan tried selling the Taj Mahal to a gullible foreigner, but in the new Idea television commercial (TVC), he plays a loud, goofy tourist guide who shows off this wondrous monument to love.

The 60 second TVC for the telecom service provider starts with a pretty foreign tourist admiring the Taj Mahal. Suddenly, a floridly dressed guide (Bachchan), goggles atop his head, appears before her, saying, "Hello, Madam, you want guide? I give full story, best price." He offers her his visiting card and she takes it without saying anything. He asks, "English locha? French? German? Kuch to bolo? Nahin?" He starts to walk away when her friend comes to her and we see them speaking in sign language. He then realises that the pretty girl is deaf and mute and that she hasn't understood a word he said to her. He turns to walk away again, when he gets a message on his mobile phone, saying, "Need a guide."

Guide to the rescue

Tourist doesn't understand him

Converses with her friend
via sign language

Messages him that
they need a guide

Sightseeing via SMS

A bond's formed

Final shot
Bachchan turns around to look at the girl and we see her holding up her phone and his card, indicating that she messaged him. He then happily proceeds to show her group around. In his quirky manner, he says, "So, ladies of the gentlemen, beautiful monument for a beautiful lady. Symbol of love." He then sends the girl an SMS with this message, to which she replies with another SMS, saying, "What an idea." He sees the message, looks at her and shyly repeats, "What an idea." That's when he realises that she probably meant the Taj Mahal and he quickly points it out to everyone, saying loudly, "What an idea, arre, arre, what an idea, I say." (Submit your opinion on this ad.)

This is the second film in the 'What an Idea' campaign. The first film had Bachchan playing a village sarpanch (head), who ends a caste war by instructing everyone to use only their mobile numbers, not their names which would reveal their caste affiliations. From a social issue to a love story, the Idea ads seem to have all the elements of a Bollywood movie. Bachchan was appointed Idea's brand ambassador last year and this is the brand's second TVC in which he has starred since then.

Both TVCs were created by Lowe; the team that worked on the ad includes Nikhil Rao, Ashvin Varkey, Jaymant Dabholkar, Satish Ramanathan and Kapil Bhagat.

Rao, group creative director, Lowe, says, "We were taking the same idea forward from the last ad, which was 'An idea can change your life'. The core thought is of a love story between a guide and a tourist."

Rao says the idea for the ad came after some brainstorming and the specific idea of a deaf and mute tourist was arrived at when a client servicing person on the team suggested an SMS campaign for the deaf and mute. They worked around the idea and came up with the TVC.

Pradeep Shrivastava, chief marketing officer, Idea Cellular, says, "We have been celebrating the 'idea' of 'no differences' and of coming together of people. In the last ad, we had a rural setting, where the scene was almost war-like to depict how communication brought the people together. We are now trying to build on that and say that anyone can communicate."

While in the last ad, the scene changed from tense to positive, the new TVC shows an emotional scene of two people bonding. A foreigner who belongs to a different culture is brought in as a tourist at the Taj Mahal. Shrivastava says, "The idea is that be it a foreigner or even the extreme case of a deaf and mute foreigner, you can still communicate. Irrespective of the context, you can build a rapport and even an emotional bond."

Shrivastava says that Idea's "intent as a champion brand is to celebrate new ideas of people communicating and coming together".

Chrome Pictures, the production house which directed Idea's last TVC, has worked on this ad, too. The film was directed by Amit Sharma, and the background score was created by Samiruddin.