SAB TV: Victory of the underdog

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | November 19, 2012
The channel's latest campaign uses a generous dose of humour to accentuate the victory of the underdog with a pun on the brand name, SAB.

Remember the age-old saying, 'Every dog has its day?' The latest campaign of SAB TV stands by the longstanding adage - and how!

Playing on the insight 'Sab ka waqt ata hai', the three-film campaign uses generous doses of humour to accentuate the victory of the underdog and throws in a pun on the brand name, SAB, for added effect.

An extension of SAB TV's core brand promise, 'Asli Maza Sab Ke Saath Ata Hai', the three films, titled 'Hands up', 'Saas-bahu' (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law) and 'Mooch' (moustache) conveys the popular saying - what goes around comes around - pertinently well. The cast and plot of the TVCs highlight the message with situations where the underdogs, who have constantly been ticked off by the bullies, finally get an upper hand.

In the 'Hands up' film, a school boy is constantly told to raise his hands and stand by his mathematics teacher as punishment. After many years, when the old teacher approaches a doctor to treat his frozen shoulder, the doctor turns out to be that very weak student.

Similarly, in the 'Saas-bahu' TVC, a mother-in-law continuously reprimands her daughter-in-law about household chores; one day, she repents when she is in trouble and the younger lady helps her out.

In Mooch, an elder brother regularly mocks his younger sibling while priding himself on the quality of his moustache. However, one day, a barber accidentally chops off half of his prized moustache, and the voiceover says, 'Sabka waqt aata hai, toh bhaiyo aur behno sab mil- julke raho. Kyunki asli mazaa sabke saath ata hai' (What goes around comes around and therefore, learn to stay together because real fun is with everyone).

Anooj Kapoor

Conceptualised by Everest Brand Solutions, the three-film campaign will run for three months during primetime on SAB TV.

Interestingly, most of the comedy serials on SAB TV are centred on an underdog. Therefore, while on one level the statement, Sabka waqt ata hai, is a branding exercise for the channel, it also intends to suggest that quite like SAB TV, every underdog with a correct and positive approach can have his day.

Anooj Kapoor, executive vice-president and business head, SAB TV, says, "Even SAB TV was an underdog about four years ago. But now it has a field day. The TVCs show this message in a unique and humorous manner. Unlike our previous TVCs where we used celebratory moments with the family, this campaign gives out a direct message that the day of the underdog has come in a rather telling manner."

The agency was required to work on the key consumer insight that SAB TV, the erstwhile underdog, is now a titan and in real life, too, every underdog has its day. "Hence, the context for the current ads is to make a statement that SAB's time has come," he adds.

Insight - amusing or confusing?

Manish Bhatt

Manish Bhatt, founder-director, Scarecrow Communications, feels that barring the Mooch commercial, the other two films hit the chord straight away.

"From the creative point of view, I understand the challenge the creative team would have faced while coming up with situations conveying the brand's core message. Every entertainment channel likes to position itself as a family channel. The Hands up and Saas-bahu TVCs are well produced and do the job naturally. Although it is not a novel format, I would still watch them as it makes me smile. But the third TVC is a drag and weakens the campaign. It uses slapstick humour which is too loud," Bhatt states.

Meanwhile, Akshay Kapnadak, executive creative director, McCann Erickson, is of the opinion that the TVCs are strategically confusing and raises doubts on how they support SAB TV's core message.

"In SAB's earlier campaign, the message was simple. The commercials made sense and there were metaphorical links to the brand in the TVC messages. But the current TVCs are confusing. They say every dog has his day, but then what after that? Besides, at the end, the TVCs give out the message of coming together and having fun. If that is the case, then why talk about the underdog anyway?" Kapnadak wonders.

But having said that, he concedes that the storyline and plots are funny and the commercials "aren't badly made".

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