Vodafone: Happy to borrow

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 18, 2011
Pushing one more of its services, by which Vodafone consumers can borrow credit from other Vodafone users, the latest television commercial of the mobile service provider uses the simple human insight of borrowing.

The best things in life are free, and borrowed. Yes, the adage has been tweaked a little bit, but isn't that how we all love things? A book, some sugar, a CD, and a lot more - we simply love borrowing.

From this very idea stems the new television commercial for Vodafone's low balance services, wherein Vodafone users can borrow phone credit from their friends at a nominal charge. Created by Ogilvy India, the film rests on the premise that humans love the idea of borrowing the smallest of conveniences from others who would happily agree to oblige.

The commercial weaves the idea through a carefully-crafted mosaic of instances where people borrow things from each other.

The film has been directed by Rajesh Krishnan of Soda Films. The creative team at Ogilvy includes national creative directors Abhijit Avasthi and Rajiv Rao, as well as Kiran Antony, Shahrukh Irani, Rakesh Jha and Jigar Fernandes.

Talking to afaqs!, Rao says, "Borrowing is universal. When you need something, you'll always look to borrow first. It is more convenient. We looked at various examples of borrowing that are typical and what everyone can relate to. The film is based on such instances."

Anuradha Aggarwal, vice-president, brand communication and insights, Vodafone Essar, is of the view that the film stands out because it focusses on the insights rather than on the product.

"It is a very effective film, and is different because it uses a core human insight and puts it at the centre. The category has so far focussed strongly on the product rather than on insights. This is something that the consumer will recall and the idea will resonate," she says.

The television campaign is being supported by print, radio, point-of-sale activities and outdoor. The campaign is largely targeted at Tier II and Tier III cities, and the prepaid customer base. The company has, in fact, released a large radio campaign promoting the service, tying up with Radio Mirchi and Big FM with the core thought -- 'Udhaar lena achchi baat hai'.

The media buying duties of the brand are handled by Maxus.

Credit where it's due

The film has met with positive responses from the advertising fraternity that approves of the strong and simple insight.

Amit Kekre, planning head, Mudra West, is of the view that the creative idea and execution is unique and endearing.

"The creative thought rests on a sound cultural truth -- next door neighbour loans -- the unique Indian habit of borrowing an asset as your own immediately makes a connection with the product feature, which is novel," says Kekre.

Kekre is of the view that the film, while without a human face, is still an extremely human film.

"The device of the hands exchanging things adds to the memorability and uniqueness of the execution, and so do the subtle touches in the voiceover," he says.

According to Ryan Menezes, chief creative officer, Percept/H, the communication is simple, single-minded and direct. He says that the execution seems clean and simple, with little unexpected bits thrown in for good measure, and has an interesting soundtrack.

"The film establishes the fact well that you can borrow talk time from friends. Strategically and creatively, it might have been more interesting to explore the circumstances that resulted in the protagonist running out of talk time," says Menezes.

"It is not in the same league as 'BlackBerry Boys', but it sure is interesting to watch a couple of times," he adds.

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