Lending the magic of touch

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | December 15, 2011
In order to promote its newly-launched handset Explorer, HTC has launched a series of television commercials to highlight the product benefits. Interestingly, the ads use fingers to build a story around a boy trying to woo his angry girlfriend.

For a world that always wants to stay connected, HTC has launched the smartphone Explorer, to make the virtual world a reality for today's youth. A series of television commercials promote the new handset and highlight its product benefits.

The campaign is based on the consumer insight that the Indian youth today is better off staying connected with friends and loved ones through Facebook, chats, and messages. The virtual world has replaced get-togethers, meetings and phone chats.

Conceptualised by Meridian, the five commercials, titled SMS, Nailpolish, Laptop, Ballet and Bathtub, show a man trying to woo his angry girlfriend. (imagery of walking legs), He does everything possible to win back her smile, using his fingers. The five commercials are supported by the background song 'Tere maafi ko mai waiting waiting'. . The commercials end with his fingers which create magic, and help get the girl back, thus establishing that with the new HTC Explorer, the world is just a touch way.

Speaking about the campaign, Manu Seth, country head, marketing, HTC India, says, "The insight for the TVC came from the fact that the youth of today is tech-savvy and prefers to keep in touch with friends and peers through social media websites, chats, and mails. Our main objective is to communicate that the HTC Explorer helps achieve all this through the magic of fingers. It is a device which is an extension of its user -- a friend and buddy that lets you access the world from your hands. It is the emotional aspect that we have tried to bring out in this campaign."

Explaining the idea, Krishna Mani and Pulak Bisht, creative directors at Meridian, say, "The brief was to highlight the availability of a touch phone at an affordable price. So, the concept was to bring alive the whole idea of communicating with your fingers in the most vibrant, playful, yet simple way. In print, the fingers were depicted as legs, and personified a typical Bollywood song and dance to depict entertainment, or as friends to depict Facebook and chatting, or as a cricketer to depict gaming. In the television commercial, we didn't do feature-based advertising, but brought alive the idea of using fingers to communicate.."

The company has also launched print and outdoor campaigns through hoardings, POS material such as standees, posters, danglers, and Bunting. It has also launched a HTC Facebook fan page, which currently has nearly 1,70,000 followers.

HTC is also running an online contest that invites people to express their love for the HTC Explorer in as many Indian languages as possible. The winner stands a chance to win an HTC Explorer every week.

Fingers redefined

Although the idea is not strikingly original, advertising professionals nevertheless, appreciate the execution, and agree that the commercial is a delight to watch.

Rohit Malkani, executive creative director, Grey, says, "Fingers as protagonist? Haven't we seen this before? I have seen thumbs for an SMS campaign, and thumbs and fingers for a handset. Not terribly original, - but the film has been well-shot and leaves you with a fuzzy feeling. Sweet, though eminently forgettable."

According to Sujith Sudhakaran, general manager, strategic planning, Draftfcb Ulka the TVC is interesting. "The track and the tone are nice and contemporary. It will definitely hold the audience's attention. Is it for the first time one is seeing an execution like this? I would say no. But, can't take anything away from the simple use of fingers in the context of a touch phone. Definitely entertaining."

Sudharakan opines that the idea of a touch phone that brings everything at a touch is generic. The advantage is that it is the fastest touch phone, and hence, a better option in comparison. according to him, this feature could have been used as a strong differentiator, but seems to have been compromised.

"If you made me believe that this is the fastest touch phone (because of the HTC sense user interface, and not the processor), it would be more compelling than anything else for me," he remarks.

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