Tata Docomo: Sharing the 'masti' with friends

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 23, 2010
Tata Docomo has launched the next campaign phase for its mobile community product, BuddyNet, extending it to the social networking space with the insight 'Friends share everything'

Willingly or not, sharing is something that is taken for granted between friends. With the same insight, Tata Docomo has extended its mobile community product, BuddyNet, into the social networking space.

Having started out as a closed user group with various benefits for users within the community, BuddyNet members can now avail of features like sharing talk time, music and free browsing of social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Nimbuzz on their Docomo powered mobile phones. Clearly, an attempt to make the best use of the ever growing popularity of the social networking boom on the Internet.

& #BANNER1 & #

"Social networking is the only practical way friends can stay connected in today's time-stressed world. For marketers, it is not only an additional media vehicle but also a channel to build rich two way conversations with consumers. The idea of BuddyNet is, in some ways, inspired by the activities of our target group in the social networking world," says Gurinder Singh Sandhu, head, marketing, Tata Docomo.

In the current phase of the campaign, two television commercials have been created by DraftFCB Ulka. The first TVC shows a young man frantically searching for something in his room. Soon, his friend points to a third friend, who is wearing the boxer shorts he was looking for. Sighing, he kicks his unassuming friend. The ad ends with the product message of sharing talk time on BuddyNet.

The other TVC shows a young man approaching his friends. His friends notice he has a black eye and ask him who gave him one. They roll up their sleeves and head to take on the other person involved in the brawl. Towards the end, all friends are shown with black eyes, indicating they were all beaten up. The message this time is free social networking access on BuddyNet.

The ads have been directed by Nikhil Rao of Chrome Pictures. Vasudha Misra, creative group head, DraftFCB Ulka is the copywriter.

"The brand talks the consumer language. We wanted to show a youthful, zingy way of sharing among friends. It is all about the 'masti' and not getting soppy as we explore this nature of friendship," says KS Chakravarthy, national creative director, DraftFCB Ulka.

Sandhu says that the idea behind the ads was to link the product philosophy with "amplified versions of slice-of-life moments".

"We wanted the visuals and the message to demonstrate how we at Tata Docomo understand the world of friendship and how our products focus on enriching this world," he says.

The campaign will continue to focus on the insight of sharing between friends as more services under BuddyNet are revealed.

Sharing thoughts

The ads have been well received by the creative experts in the industry and the insight of sharing has been appreciated.

"The insight is very relevant. The storylines are engaging as they create intrigue from the early frames. There is a funny payoff as well. The treatment is very appropriate - casual and realistic and the direction is restrained," says Raghu Bhat, founder and director, Scarecrow Communications.

One knows of Bhat's approval when the only thing that the Manchester United fan did not like about the commercial was the Arsenal poster in the room (in the 'Boxer' ad).

Burnard Rajan, creative director, Mudra Kochi agrees as he finds the commercials easy to relate to. "The script is so slice of life, it connects to the target audience immediately. The communication objective comes out very clearly. Nothing more required. Neat," Rajan says.

Both Bhat and Rajan agree that social networking has become an inevitable weapon for marketers.

"Brands are built on what people are saying about you, not what you are saying about yourself. A brand that understands this will best utilise social networking. Obviously, social networking offers a zero-cost model to create brand awareness. However, the challenge is to use it to create preference, intent and desire," says Bhat.

According to Bhat, social networking tools give brands an opportunity to get rid of their blinkers and become a part of the youth lifestyle. He cites the example of Adobe Photoshop, saying how meaningful communities give real feedback and sometimes help co-build the product.

Adding to Bhat's views, Rajan says that it is essential to use the social networking boom effectively and carefully to build strong interactive ideas that will help drive constant traffic to the network and keep it alive and active.