afaqs!

Vodafone takes a call on conference calls

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | August 18, 2008
Apart from its own innovative services, the telecom service company talks about not so popular inbuilt mobile services, such as conference calls

Vodafone & #BANNER1 & # is bent on making the most of now.

Most of us have already had a glimpse of Vodafone's ad, created by O&M, featuring the conference call service. The beginning of the ad drives you up the wall, wondering what everyone is talking about. The twist in the end has you smiling and saying to yourself, "I should've guessed that one." The ad has four people, all talking randomly. Only at the end do you figure out that the four young men are talking to a common friend, advising him on how to knot his tie.

"The idea is to make known that conference calling, a feature available on most phones, is not just for official use," says Harit Nagpal, chief marketing officer, Vodafone. It has been noticed, he says, that conference calling was used as a tool only for official purposes. But it can be used in other instances as well, such as while making plans with friends or family. The service does not cost anything because it is an inbuilt feature in the mobile. Vodafone will help subscribers use this feature if they send an SMS to its toll free number.

Harit Nagpal

Rajiv Rao

Raghu Bhat

Meera Sharath Chandra
Rajiv Rao, executive creative director, O&M, who worked on the ad, says, "The service has always been there, but isn't used as often, unless for business meetings and the like." The idea was to be demonstrative and interesting at the same time. Hence, the twist in the tale route.

afaqs! spoke to a few creative minds to find out what they thought about the commercial.

Raghu Bhat, vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising, thinks that the ad got the demonstrative bit bang on. "The twist in the tale keeps you riveted," he says. The interplay with the friends was carried out well, he thinks. The casting too impressed him. "It will work well with guys in the same age group," is his opinion.

At this point, Rao shares that the original script had three men advising a fourth one. But during direction, Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films suggested the addition of the fifth youth, who is only seen laughing throughout the commercial.

Meera Sharath Chandra, president and national creative director, RMG Connect, was not as impressed with the ad. She feels that the commercial isn't in the league of the other Vodafone ads. "The Vodafone ads usually have an emotional and endearing appeal, which is missing in this ad," she says.

Apart from Rao, the creative team included Abhishek Sinha (copywriter) and Santosh Sonawane (art director).

The campaign includes this TV commercial and point of sales as part of the media mix. Maxus is the media agency.