It's that time of the year when you are most susceptible to wicked pranks. And on All Fools' Day, MTV, the multimedia youth platform, in partnership with Bingo, aims to pull gags on unsuspecting people. Bingo has tied up for a 24-hour roadblock on the channel, which means only Bingo ads will be aired on MTV during commercial breaks.
The channel will broadcast 144 minutes of Bingo ads through the day, while 9 am to 11 am will an be ad-free slot.
Since cricket is the flavour of the season, the channel decided to unleash Bakra on everyone associated with the sport -- cricketers, commentators and cricket fans.
Talking to afaqs! about the concept, Vaibhav Vishal, associate vice-president, shows, MTV India, says, "It is our tribute to cricket in India, because the way uncertainty around IPL was growing, we thought they would pull a bigger bakra than us. This is a logical extension of the most celebrated property of MTV; we have mindless fun. And there couldn't have been a better partner in crime than Bingo."
MTV Bakra was originally a small segment on the channel, called True Lies. The channel has been celebrating Bakra Din since July 1999, with a different theme every year.
Earlier, MTV has organised Mass Bakra Din (where 70 to 100 people were made bakra at once); Masti Bakra Din (where the cast of the movie, Masti played pranks on others); Bunty Aur Babli Bakra Din (where Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee played gags on others) and Bakrafied Revenge Din (where those who have been victims of pranks earlier played pranks on others).
This is not the first time a brand has taken the 24-hour roadblock route. In September 2007, Vodafone took the same route to announce the transition from Hutch to Vodafone, but on a bigger scale. The 24-hour roadblock spanned 13 STAR India television channels, under which only Vodafone ads announcing the transition ran during the commercial breaks. In addition, supers announcing the change were placed in the shows. The campaign was supported by various other media vehicles.
In another media innovation, MTV did not run any ads on Independence Day.
MTV will showcase fresh as well as old gags around cricket and cricketers. Some of the best cricket gags from the past years will be telecast, including Rahul Dravid becoming a bakra, when a female fan proposed marriage to him; a prank on Parthiv Patil, where he nearly cried; cricketer Vinod Kambli pulling a gag on an RJ in Red FM; and Virendra Sehwag's lookalike making bakra of others. Another highlight will be Cyrus Broacha imitating Sachin Tendulkar.
There will be two one-hour specials at 3 pm and 8.30 pm, where seven to eight fresh gags will be shown. In one of the new gags, an actor posing as Andrew Flintoff, the Australian cricketer, wearing white overalls and Australian cap, asks those on the streets to get their pictures clicked with him.
An in-house creative team at MTV has created three spots for the IBL.
Though there will be some amount of reduction in the advertising time, the channel is hoping that this activity will help create a differentiation factor for both Bingo and MTV.
The channel is in talks with other brands for similar media innovations. "One can expect loads of similar, non-intrusive innovations in future. We are in talks with many other advertisers, which will possibly help us in increasing TRPs. We talk to our audience and not talk at them like other channels."