afaqs!

A 'Beam' of hope for the youth?

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | December 18, 2009
Beam, a mobile payment system owned by Suvidha Starnet, makes its communication debut with a commercial targeted at the youth

Beam, a mobile payment system owned by Suvidha Starnet, has made its communication debut with a television commercial created by Innocean Worldwide.

The TVC opens with a college student woken up by his friend knocking at his door and asking "Aaya kya?" The boy replies "No". In the next shot, he is attending a college lecture, when his girlfriend passes on a chit to him asking the same question. Again, the boy answers in the negative. Things get quite ridiculous when, much to the boy's disgust, a friend follows him to the bathroom, bothering him with the same question.

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The story reaches its end when the boy's mobile phone beeps with a message confirming that his father has sent him money through Beam mobile payment system. In the final shot, the boy is seen treating his friends, taking his girlfriend shopping, and recharging a friend's mobile in the blink of an eye. The super goes, 'Beam: Ab Badla Zamana.'

The commercial targets the youth and young working professionals who may not have a bank account or credit card, but have a mobile phone at their disposal. Saurabh Dasgupta, executive creative director, Innocean Worldwide, says, "The idea has been conceptualised from the real life of college-going youth who could be residing in hostels. The brand has a role to play as an enabler and catalyst in the happy-go-lucky and extravagant life of the archetype college dude." The commercial hopes to encapsulate the changing moments in the lives of youngsters, which is summed up in the baseline - 'Ab Badla Zamana'.

The TVC has been directed by Budhayan Mukherjee and produced by Show & Tell Productions.

For a relatively low profile brand in a little known category, the task of positioning was a tough one. According to Vivek Srivastava, joint managing director, Innocean Worldwide, "The simplicity of the service and its relevance to the youth as the early adopter was the key for us, and so was the idea of keeping a window open to the future segments too, as the service and the brand evolves further."

The first phase of the campaign, which is worth approximately US$1 million, will last till mid January 2010. The spots are largely in the duration of 60 and 40 seconds.

As per Anand Shrivastav, chairman and managing director, Beam-Suvidha, "Beam is a service that has the potential to revolutionise the way India transacts. It is a versatile service enabling shopping, mobile and DTH recharge, utility bill payments, home delivery payments and travel bookings - with just an SMS." Further, he claims that Beam has currently been rolled out in the Hindi heartland and has already gathered over five lakh users. "For all these years we were totally into on-ground promotion. Now we are looking forward to strike a balance between on-ground promotion and media presence," adds Shrivastav.

Relevant to the youth?

Beam's first attempt at communication has generated mixed reactions in the fraternity. According to Rajeev Sharma, national planning director, Leo Burnett India, this is an extremely "ordinary" commercial for an extraordinary product. "It is ordinary because after having piqued my curiosity about the product, I'm left extremely unclear about the modalities of how one is supposed to use it," he shrugs. Further, he adds that the commercial possesses the advantage of time - being a 60 seconder - but yet that time hasn't been utilised to its fullest. "After all, how many commercials have the luxury of a 60-second duration these days?" he enquires.

Regarding the creative idea ('Aaya kya?'), Sharma finds it interesting, but "a lot more could have been done with it."

Rahul Jauhari, national creative director, Pickle Lintas, also has similar views on the TVC. "I think the film lacks finesse - be it casting, style, or delivery. It's very basic," he says. To the film's credit, he feels the money transfer bit comes through clearly, but could have been done more effectively to lend better recognition to the brand.