Clay Telecom: Calling out to corporations

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : December 09, 2009
Clay Telecom has released its first ever TV commercial that hopes to create brand awareness amidst corporations in an emerging category

Think country specific SIM cards and one conjures up the image of a plump man calling home to talk to his mom from some exotic location. As a brand, Matrix did the job of creating awareness (albeit in a quirky way) for a relatively less known category a few years ago. The same space is about to get a bit more competitive with another player - Clay Telecom - launching its first ever commercial.

Clay, the wireless telecom solutions player that offers country specific SIM cards to international travellers, has been around for almost a decade. However, this marks its first effort towards advertising. AB&M Communications, the Delhi based creative agency on the account, was appointed in the early part of 2009 with a clear cut brief: as Clay now has tie ups with 240 telecom networks across the globe and covers 200 countries on its pre-paid card and about 120 countries on post-paid, the fundamental task is to expand its reach and awareness amidst corporations (Clay's chief target group).

"Matrix helped create some degree of awareness about this category but a lot more needs to be done," says Munish Dhawan, executive director, AB&M Communications. "It's amazing how many international business travellers are unaware that one could cut international roaming costs by switching to country specific SIM cards such as Clay Telecom's, instead of using their own network's international roaming facility, which costs them a bomb."

Clay Telecom has had some degree of success in roping in corporations. Through this communication, it hopes to not only widen the net but also address the 'stinginess' problem - people tend to call from international locations only in cases of absolute emergencies due to the high cost factor - an area Clay hopes to address.

Call to action

The TV commercial starts with a man reading a newspaper in office, when two men dressed in dark suits and sunglasses approach him, calmly snatch his newspaper and walk away. Cut to the shot of a woman about to punch for coffee at the vending machine in the office, when the two men pry her finger away and take the coffee machine with them.

Next, a man is about to consume a hefty lunch from his office canteen, when the duo arrive to snatch his plate away. The voiceover says that as corporations save money in so many ways, they should save on international roaming as well by switching to Clay Telecom, which allows one to save up to 70 per cent in more than 120 countries. "It's your call," concludes the VO.

The film has been directed by Sudhir Makhija of Doctor Films.

The attempt here is to play on the effects of the ongoing slowdown on corporations, mainly the top management's needs to cut back on expenses. The agency has exaggerated the lengths to which a company can go to save costs in the name of slowdown, including cutting back on basic perks such as tea/coffee/lunch.

"We have played around with the insight that when cost problems trickle down to the micro level and start affecting employees, then something's definitely wrong. What our communication essays is that here's a better way for corporations to save costs!" Dhawan explains, adding that it's just a lucky happenstance that the commercial coincides with the timing of the slowdown, and hence is more identifiable.

While Matrix mainly targets individuals in its communication, Clay Telecom's attempt is to get higher volumes of business with corporations, which could probably explain the 'office' setting of the commercial. Clay Telecom's present ratio of revenues obtained from corporations versus that from individuals is 80:20. "Generally, companies ignore cutting costs on international phone bills, which, by the way, could surpass some air tickets!" quips Aditya Joshi, vice-president, Clay Telecom.

The positioning line, It's your call, works on the insight that the top management in companies are the key decision makers. The fact that the word 'decision' is also called 'call' had the agency making a pun to pronounce its point.

The ad will be aired on news and business channels such as NDTV 24x7, NDTV Profit and CNBC TV18, in order to reach professionals. The print campaign shall be released in business publications including Business Today and Forbes India. Outdoor hoardings, too, have been released in and around business districts in key cities.

The first leg of the campaign shall run for around three months and the brand's counters at airports shall support this activity.

'Calling' for feedback

When afaqs! asked creative folk to take a 'call' on the film, a mixed bag of reactions is what we got.

Shivanand Mohanty, creative head, Dentsu Communications, says, "Matrix has been around for a while and has established a presence in the category, not just with its TV ads but also with its use of innovative media in airports and consulates/embassies. As a new player, Clay has to stand out and focussing on corporates is a sound strategy."

However, he finds the creative idea a "tad disappointing" and adds that the story of 70 per cent savings in 120 countries could have been bolder and more compelling. To Mohanty, the category connect is tenuous and the film meanders a bit before getting to the point.

"The device of the two 'Men in Black' type characters could have been made more gripping, and the 'silly cost cutting' situations could have been more dramatic," Mohanty shrugs.

Brijesh Jacob, managing partner, White Canvas, finds it a little late in the day to be using the slowdown as a creative idea. Further, he finds the commercial confusing in some ways. "I get the part about the two guys representing the worst of corporate management but this isn't coming across too convincingly. There was a blank in the commercial which didn't quite get filled even after it got over," he says.

Comparing it to the other player in the category - Matrix - Jacob feels that Matrix's adverts were absolutely "stupid" and hence peculiar - so one remembers them. "However, despite a crystal clear brief about saving money on international calls, Clay's attempt at advertising is not too memorable," he signs off.

First Published : December 09, 2009

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