Points of view: How long should the Zoozoos live?

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | April 09, 2010
Last year, the Zoozoo invasion on Indian television, during the second season of IPL, was welcomed with open arms. This year, however, the buzz doesn't seem as strong. Was Zoozoos a one-season wonder? afaqs! finds out

Everyone loved the Zoozoos during the second season of IPL. They were talked about as much as the stars of IPL. Even on Facebook, this non-living creature had a large fan base; unofficial estimates suggest 3.5 lakh Zoozoo fans on the social networking website. This year, however, the magic seems to be fading away. Even on Facebook, Zoozoos have added only around 1 lakh fans this year.

One wonders whether extending the iconic Zoozoos for the second year was a right move; or whether the campaign should have been aired only for a single season, as in the case of Apple's Macintosh Superbowl commercial, which was aired only once. As afaqs! put this question to the industry stalwarts, they seemed to be divided in their opinions.

KV Sridhar (Pops)
National creative director, Leo Burnett

I'm a big fan of Zoozoos. I simply love the campaign and wait for it whenever I'm watching TV these days. However, lately, I find it gets a little monotonous and its charm is fading.

The reason, according to me, is overdose. It is understandable if a brand makes 20 films in one year; but here, 20 films are made for 30 days. Also, the subjects chosen this time are little mixed up and do not register easily with the consumers. The viewers are not able to recollect anything from these ads.

Zoozoos have been one of the best non-living beings in recent times, after the Maharaja, the Amul girl and Asian Paints (Gattu). The popularity that the Maharaja achieved in 60 years was gained by Zoozoos in 30 days. I feel it is high time for all the three teams - the management, client and production house - to relook at it. It is time to take them out from the similar looking grey sets and make them do something different.

However, I don't agree that discontinuing the Zoozoo campaign after the first phase would have been a better move. Zoozoos have been a fantastic property, which has become an integral part of the brand. Why discontinue it?

Take any classical brand, for that matter, to understand how it has continued charming the consumers by refreshing its image. The Marlboro Man has remained the same for ages; however, each time he did something different. Sometimes the cowboy hipper traversed deserts; sometimes he was shown conquering snow clad mountains. Then there is Tom and Jerry. Has anyone ever got bored of them? The more you see them, the more you love them.

To me, the Zoozoos are as adorable as Tom and Jerry; all they need is a refreshed idea and a gripping script.

Ashish Khazanchi
Vice-chairman, Publicis Ambience

The first phase of the campaign can be termed as the real Zoozoo season. It had charm, wit and oozed sincerity. The features had a great connect with the story and had an episode-like format, where everyone looked forward to the next one. But now, they seem to have become a little predictable. The jokes are stale, the situations appear staged and there's a feel that the campaign is stretched. This seriously needs a rethink.

Having said that, I don't see Zoozoos losing relevance anytime soon. They are still quite iconic. If we have not had enough of the Amul girl in the last 30 years, Zoozoos can easily survive for another two to three years. All they need is that the stories need to be more evocative, more relatable; stories that we can touch and feel and laugh with. Once Ogilvy brings back the Zoozoo humour to what it was, they will rule again.

Adrian Mendonza
National creative director, Dentsu Marcom

I personally don't think the popularity of Zoozoos has gone down They are still very fresh as a concept and happen to be very popular among people. Also, this year, the brand has tried a lot of innovations within the Zoozoo ambit. New story lines are being explored; Zoozoo conversations are being used more often; new characters like Zoozoo mummy have been introduced to do a little garnishing. Although this time it is not as hilarious as the last series, still, the Zoozoos are not robbed of their novelty.

Would it have made more sense to have discontinued the series after the first session? Well, that's a rhetorical question. In that case, it would have always been remembered as a piece of great advertising. But the concept has been taken forward because of its demand among the public. If something is good, people want to see more of it. And I too believe the characters can easily survive another year.

Nabankur Gupta
Founder and chief executive officer, Nobby Brand Architects and Strategic Marketing

The Zoozoos, which took the nation by storm during the second edition of IPL, have gone a little weak this time. Although the enthusiasm around Zoozoos still continues to be the same, a certain fatigue factor has begun to set in. According to me, the brand should have discontinued with the series after the first session, or just have come out with another series on the same lines with equally adorable characters.

Raghu Bhat
Founder director, Scarecrow Communications

It's possible that Zoozoos haven't been as popular this time. The issue at hand is not Zoozoos, but the impatience of the current audience. Things get stale very fast these days. Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani goes from multiplex release to TV premiere in three weeks. Himesh's nasal twang is no longer a rage. KBC1 (Kaun Banega Crorepati) is a blockbuster; KBC2 is a washout.

The lesson is that sequels are successful; if they don't just rehash the original properties, but introduce startlingly new concepts. Cases in point are Lage Raho Munnabhai or Aliens 2.

To ensure longevity of a campaign, it might be a better idea to not do media overkill over an extended period. Love at first sight is brilliant; but the other truth about relationships is that absence makes the heart grow fonder. To that extent, the way Vodafone has used the pug is admirable.

© 2010 afaqs!