Vodafone 3G: Super Zoozoo to save the day

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | March 14, 2011
To announce the launch of its 3G service, Vodafone has created a new character borrowed straight from the movies called Super Zoozoo. The idea is to put forth the fact that Vodafone's 3G service is faster, smarter, and better than the others.

Vodafone's 3G offering is here, and the 'Zoozoo world' yet again serves as the backdrop for the brand's communication.

According to Anuradha Aggarwal, vice-president, marketing, Vodafone Essar, the task this time, in keeping with Vodafone's usual strategy, is to primarily keep it simple. In this case, it implies to ensure that the consumer doesn't feel overwhelmed with the technology aspects of 3G and the jargon therein. Secondly, it aims to communicate that Vodafone's 3G service is 'faster, smarter and better'.

"We are among the largest 3G players globally, and Vodafone 3G's 'dream come true' kind of experience is what we hope to put forth before subscribers," Aggarwal says.

The Zoozoos, Vodafone's faithful characters, continue to play messenger in this scheme of things. Vodafone's agency, Ogilvy India, therefore came up with a new Zoozoo story, this time with the creation of a superhero-like character - the Super Zoozoo.

Spiderman Meets Rajinikanth

The task is to get people to try 3G. "This is not just a competitive battle, but a battle to grow the pie," clarifies Aggarwal of Vodafone.

According to Rajiv Rao, national creative director, Ogilvy India, the whole idea is to give a sense of a superior network and service, without getting too technical, and Vodafone's two-year-old communication device - the Zoozoo - seemed perfect to bring this out. "Frankly, when one talks of 3G, one thinks of a service that is faster, more powerful and something that makes every task look easy. We instantly thought of a superhero angle - and thus, the Super Zoozoo was born," says Rao.

Clichés from Indian movies (particularly, those featuring actor Rajinikanth), and Hollywood movies such as Spiderman and Superman, were borrowed to showcase how Super Zoozoo can do incredible things. As the story is so 'filmy', Ogilvy chanced upon the thought of making the communication look and feel like a trailer.

Four teasers were launched on Facebook, inviting people to guess what happens next, in order to arouse curiosity. This was followed by the 60-second revealer (a special preview was given to Facebook contest winners who gave the most interesting interpretations of the teasers, before the revealer went on television) that disclosed the identity of the Super Zoozoo.

As the commercials target those who have been waiting for 3G and probably have a rough idea of what it entails, this ad wasn't made too information-heavy. However, subsequent ads featuring the Super Zoozoo will highlight some of the key service aspects of 3G, and what they spell out for consumers.

The media mix includes television, print, outdoor, 3G experience zones in Vodafone stores, and digital activities. As the advertising was first launched on social media platforms such as Facebook, Vodafone received responses from more than 1.2 million Facebook users, thereby ensuring awareness. There were also homepage takeovers on sites such as Yahoo!, and banner launches on YouTube. Ads on YouTube resulted in 15,000 hits in the first three-four days of its launch.

Superhero Zoozoo? Well...

The commercial is largely well received by the ad fraternity. Santosh Padhi, co-founder and chief creative officer, TapRoot India, says this is a good way to use a property such as the Zoozoos, but the challenge lies in doing it in a relevant and interesting way.

According to him, the teasers were really good, but the revealer is a bit below his expectations. "Vodafone ads are generally true to life, humane and simple, be it the Zoozoo films, the boy-girl films, or the Irrfan Khan ads. This one goes over the top and is 'Bollywoodish', and hence, not Vodafone in tonality," shrugs Padhi.

Further, he feels Vodafone's idea to put across the brand as a saviour is in the social message territory, which happens to belong to Idea Cellular in the same category. "Why would a brand such as Vodafone go in for something that looks so much like an Idea ad?" he questions. But, Padhi likes the sequences such as the gym one, where the exaggeration is cute and not particularly saviour-like.

Amer Jaleel, national creative director, Lowe Lintas India, is of the opinion that the 3G aspect has been captured in an endearing manner by Vodafone and Ogilvy. "The last time I saw the Zoozoos, I was beginning to wonder if they were being overused. But, this time, the take on them is different and fresh," he remarks. However, he feels that it is still not 'fantastic' or 'the most interesting take on 3G'.

According to Jaleel, the tonality in this ad has more edge than the previous Zoozoo communication. "It is a newer feel for the Zoozoos, but I'm not sure it is a newer feel for the 3G service, if you know what I mean," he shrugs. "Overall, the communication is entertaining and nice, but the stature of 3G deserves a far fresher feel," says Jaleel.

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