The fate of the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament might be still doubtful, but its promotional campaign is currently on air on television channels. Last year, the tournament was promoted as a full fledged entertainment package - so the campaign Manoranjan Ka Baap.
In its first year itself, the twenty20 cricket tournament turned out to be a national wave, irrespective of several missing elements such as team loyalty or international players playing in domestic cricket.
In a way, the tournament brought the entire nation together irrespective of geography, ethnicity, religion, age or gender.
Based on the same insight, Max - the channel which has got the telecast rights for IPL - has launched its second campaign for this season. It's called Ek desh, Ek junoon.
The film shows different people from different parts of India doing exactly the same thing at the same time. For example - a group of people with newspapers turning pages in synchronisation; cooks in a restaurant in Mumbai twirling 'rumali rotis' at the same time; a classroom full of kids, all raising their little fingers together to ask for permission to visit the washroom or 500 people at the Victoria Terminus station calling out for a taxi together.
Finally, a voice over asks: Kabhi sau crore logon ko ek saath ek hi cheez karte dekha hain? (Ever seen 100 crore people doing the same thing together?). This is followed by a montage of shots. The shots show people displaying an array of emotions, reacting to last year's IPL in the same manner across the country. The TVC ends with a final voice over that says - 'Ek desh, Ek junoon, DLF-IPL sirf Max par'.
The creative thought
Gaurav Seth, vice-president, marketing, SET Max, says, "The IPL is our nation's passion. We have captured that obsession and passion with our campaign this year, which details how, across this country people came together to celebrate and enjoy the sensation that is the DLF-IPL. Last year, Max kept its viewers thoroughly entertained, thus creating a revolution in prime time viewing habits."
The ad has been conceptualised by TBWA India's Mumbai wing and shot by Footcandles Film.
The film needed to portray the magnitude of popularity, which the tournament achieved in its first season but this was quite a painful and arduous task to achieve. Rahul Sengupta, national creative director, TBWA India, says, "IPL has created a national wave that has swept viewers through the length and breadth of the country. This required a scale ad that mirrors the effect of this event on people from all regions of the sub-continent and from all walks of life."
According to him, the IPL had resulted in a peculiar behaviour amongst the cricket crazy people in the first season. "By 6- 6:30 pm, one would be on his way out of office; by 7-7:30 pm, he would switch on the TV and by 9 pm, he would swap channels for the next match," he says. Sengupta adds that this behaviour prompted the use of synchronisation in the treatment of the film.
The commercial will be aired across all markets in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages. In addition to the SET network channels, it will also be aired on other general entertainment channels, news channels, music channels and regional channels across India.
SET Max will promote the campaign in 150 towns through on-ground activities. These will involve contests, merchandising and other activities. Outdoor advertising, radio and the Internet will form a crucial part of the promotional mix. Max had aired a teaser two weeks prior to the launch film hitting the television screens.
The film has been shot at two locations - Mumbai and Kolkata. While it took four days to shoot in Mumbai, the Kolkata chapter was wrapped up in a day.
Other than a few trained actors and junior actors, none of the people cast in the film were trained actors and were ordinary people straight out of the streets, he reveals. However, they had rehearsed for a couple of days prior to the shoot.
"Yet another strange experience in shooting some of the sequences was that while some of the tough to co-ordinate sequences such as 'sneezing' and 'girls in the theatre slurping cola' took only a few takes, simpler ones such as the 'four men dozing off at the tram depot' took a good number of takes and ended up being complicated ones," he chuckles.
When asked about the growing importance of Kolkata as a preferred location, Ayappa admits that Mumbai has been over-shot, while places such as Kolkata still have lots of virgin locations in the ancient broken down buildings and the mysterious narrow alleys - which make the film look real.
Another interesting aspect about the film, he reveals, is that the locations and the lighting were not touched up artificially. He adds, "Rather than putting up artificial sets, we kept the locations as they were and shot in natural light."
From the third eye
In general, advertising professionals contacted by afaqs! have appreciated the film, barring a few glitches pointed out by some members of the ad fraternity.
Vistasp Hodiwala (Vispy), associate vice-president and senior creative director, JWT, found the idea quite interesting and the execution, backed by a good sound design, lively.
He says, "Overall, it delivers very well on the high voltage drama that IPL's second edition is expected to be. While it may not be jaw-dropping advertising, it delivers more than adequately on the brief. Now, let's hope that the IPL actually takes off, given the date controversies."
Giving his take from the planning point of view, Pinaki Bhattacharya, senior vice-president, strategic planning, Saatchi & Saatchi, says, "The ad seems to be constructed on the premise of last year's success - that the country came to a standstill when the IPL matches were played. The intent seems to be to deliver scale because the premise is scale."
However, he adds that in a bid to do that, the first half of the commercial meanders with all sorts of 'teaser' situations, some of which are cute and some 'addy' - it is only towards the end that the energy and passion for cricket starts coming through.
"While I liked the commercial, I felt the 'junoon' part of the promise could have been 'juiced' some more. Overall, an interesting piece - I would watch it again," he concludes.