MVL Mobiles: Not without my phone

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | August 10, 2011
MVL Mobiles is out with a new campaign created by Scarecrow Communications Delhi that encourages being 'greedy' about MVL, which offers features that can be addictive.

Giving up worldly possessions and fasting is quite the mantra of renouncement for the 'Baba' kinds, and in a new commercial for MVL Mobiles, the insight of renouncement for 'everything except MVL Mobiles' has been used to portray the brand's new positioning -- Greed is good, or Lalchi bano, sukhi raho.

In the past, MVL Mobiles had released two commercials that were more product feature-led rather than latching onto a larger brand thought. This time, while features have been highlighted, a branding exercise and positioning has also been arrived at.

According to Praveen Srivastava, chief operating officer, MVL Mobiles, the positioning is a 'natural progression' for the brand, considering the clutter in the category of mobile handsets. "Moreover, we wanted a positioning statement that can span across different segments of mobile phones, including some of the premium ones that we may launch in the future for urban markets," he says.

The current communication is targeted at the SEC B lot, residing in Tier 2 towns, primarily. "Very soon, we will start moving up the value chain, and 'Greed is good' is a line that applies to all kinds of segments," adds Srivastava.

Here, greed as an insight is being used in a 'positive' light -- representing more the ambition of wanting more from one's phone, rather than the negative connotations of the concept of greed. The commercial shows a sage or a 'baba' of sorts being interviewed by a TV anchor about the renouncement of his worldly possessions, and just then, the baba's phone, hidden away somewhere, rings loudly. The baba acknowledges sheepishly that he uses the phone to listen to loud music, send texts and make calls, along with some other features of the phone, and all this at an economical price. 'Lalchi bano, sukhi raho' goes the tagline.

The ad has been crafted by Scarecrow Communications Delhi. Says Raghu Bhat, co-founder and CCO at the agency, "Loud music is extremely important for those in smaller towns, and they also look for dust resistant, FM enabled, tough phones. MVL has an offering that caters to this, and we have tried to integrate the communication for these features, along with the 'Greed is good' positioning."

There was a question of whether one feature should be selected and highlighted, or all integrated in one capsule. Scarecrow decided to choose the latter option as it best represents what the consumer is looking for.

"Young people will identify with the 'greed' insight in particular," says Anindya Banerjee, executive creative director, Scarecrow Delhi. Furthermore, in small towns particularly, greed is frowned upon, which is why Scarecrow is hoping that a brand that says the exact opposite will be seen as edgy, witty and different. "And, this isn't a brand thought in isolation; we are linking 'greed is good' with the myriad phone features and how sought after they are," Bhat adds.

The typical user would include perhaps a government clerk working in a small town such as Kanpur, or tempo/truck drivers, engineering college or B.Com students in such towns who are looking for a phone that is stylish, yet deliver value for money.

The media mix includes television, press, outdoor, on-ground activation and to rope in the youth, some amount of digital including viral ads, banner ads, and pages on Facebook.

Satisfying the greed?

The film has brought out the positives and negatives in the ad fraternity. Priti Nair, co-founder, Curry Nation, says, "It's a different take and could make the brand stand out in the crowded space of mobile advertising. The positioning of 'Lalchi bano, sukhi raho' seems very differentiated and echoes the sentiment of the current state of mind that people have."

However, she is a little skeptical about the execution and feels it could have been crafted better in terms of detailing and timing, and ends up looking slapstick instead. "But, it will stand out," she adds.

K S Chakravarthy aka Chax, national creative director, Draftfcb Ulka, says, "I suspect MVL has missed the bus on this one. 'The object of desire you just can't give up' is not all that new, and needed a story that was a little fresher, a little less of a cliché." He further feels an insight like that also needed a stronger brand, which already had some style associations. "As it stands, unfortunately, it lands up trying too hard, too loudly," he shrugs.

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