Hear the unsaid, urges Tata Indicom

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 02, 2009
The two new Tata Indicom commercials - Saans and Hansi - take the emotional route to push further the service provider's digital clarity

How often has it happened that you are on the phone but have had to say, "Sorry? Your voice is breaking" or "The network is bad. Talk to you later"? 'Call drops' due to weak network strength is something most of us are accustomed to.

How about a cellular service that swears by its signal prowess? So much so, it hints that you could hear the unsaid and the emotions behind the words as well.

Tata Indicom, in its two new television commercials that are currently on air, says just that.

Created by Contract Advertising, the two spots, titled Saans and Hansi, attempt to bring alive the concept of 'Suno dil ki awaaz' (Listen to your heart) with reference to the digital clarity of Tata Indicom.

& #BANNER1 & #The campaign takes over from the previous one that featured a series of commercials tackling the problem of 'call drops'. While the previous campaign chose to take the humour route, the current one attempts to strike the emotional chord.

Saans and Hansi delve into the varied meanings behind every breath and laughter. Each is shot as a collage of black and white montages, with a poetical illustration.

Lloyd Mathias, chief marketing officer, Tata Teleservices, tells afaqs!, "We have consistently been receiving the best network ratings. With the strong Tata consumer connect, we wanted to amplify our superior network. We also wanted to establish an emotional connect with the consumers."

"We spoke of the 'call drop' problem with network congestion in our earlier campaign. This campaign goes much deeper," Mathias says.

Ravi Deshpande, chairperson and chief creative officer, Contract Advertising is the creative and art director, while Malobi Dasgupta has written the copy. The commercials have been directed by Ram Madhvani and the production house is Equinox.

Deshpande says, "The idea was to occupy the space of 'Listening not just to the words but the emotions behind them'. The ads are really odes to breath and laughter. In that sense, they are philosophical. Yet all along, it is really about the clarity of the network that lets you hear the hidden meaning of every breath and the nuance of every kind of laughter.

"If a brand takes a philosophical stance without losing the benefit, people accept it."

Each situation depicted is captured from an observer's point of view, giving a candid feel to the images.

The black and white images give the commercials an artier look and serve the emotional aspect well.

"We opted for a photojournalistic feel and it is better in black and white. The magnum-like look to the commercial was to keep it real and as naked as possible, and also to give the idea the stature it deserves. Each image will tell you that anybody can take the picture," explains Deshpande.

Are we clear?

The campaign has generated mixed reactions from the industry. While the execution has been appreciated, some question the novelty factor.

"The execution and emotional tone of voice remind me of the earlier Airtel commercials. In cases like these, often the ads become bigger than the brand," Harish Arora, executive creative director, Dentsu Communications, says as he wonders if the ad would be remembered as Tata Indicom's.

Bobby Pawar, chief creative officer, Mudra Group, agrees as he, too, says that tonally, it seems a bit like Airtel. Pawar, however, gives his nod of approval to the execution. "The ads are pleasant. However, things look a little forced. Instead of getting so philosophical, they could have kept it a bit simpler. The brand must find a space of its own," Pawar shrugs.

Pinaki Bhattacharya, senior vice-president, strategic planning, Saatchi & Saatchi, is of the view that the commercial has been able to communicate the message successfully, staying true to the brand thought , Suno dil ki awaaz.

"The brand in my assessment has been inconsistent in sticking to the brand thought in its earlier ads but this effort indicates an attempt to repair that. The ads work hard at communicating the network's clarity claim in a manner that it can segue into the brand's thought," he says.

Bhattacharya, however, adds that the strain of trying to marry the message of clarity to the brand thought shows. "But overall, I would say it is a good effort. I would want to watch the ad again," he sums up.