'Idea' on marital row

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : February 22, 2013
Idea Cellular rolls out the latest rendition of its long-standing 'What an Idea' thought. This time, the brand urges people to be empathetic towards their loved ones.

After addressing environmental, political, caste, language and population control issues, telecom player Idea Cellular's latest television commercial, built around the 'What an Idea' thought, turns attention to marital discord.

The campaign has been created by Lowe Lintas & Partners.

In the film, a son deliberately swaps his parents' phones so that each spends one day receiving calls meant for the other. By the end of the day, this 'telephone exchange' (don't miss the play on words, here) evokes some much needed empathy on the part of both partners. Towards the end of the ad, the words 'Ek doosre ko samajhne ke liye telephone exchange -- What an idea!' serve to tie the ad back to the brand's long-standing 'What an Idea' umbrella.

Arun Iyer

The Idea team writes in about the insight and the pun on the words 'telephone exchange'. "There was a time when an operator sitting at a telephone exchange would inadvertently connect your call to a wrong number and the consequent unfamiliar voice on the line would leave you bewildered," explains the brand team in a press note. And, it is this bewilderment that makes way for empathy, as the characters in the commercial get a peek into each other's lives through each other's cell phones.

With this ad, the brand - that has so far crusaded for social issues such as caste/language barriers, population explosion and voting woes through its 'larger than life' advertising -- has opted to use what it calls a "closer to life" story. "The ad addresses an issue that is relevant and can inspire a large part of our society," conveys the creative team in an official communiqué.

Arun Iyer, national creative director, Lowe Lintas & Partners tells afaqs! that it is a misconception that the creative folk on the Idea account actively look for social issues to exploit in their ads for the brand. Rather, he clarifies, "We just look for 'telephony ideas' that can change people's lives."

Right connect?

Yes! Experts are quick to tell afaqs! how much they "love" the ad. They feel it takes the overall 'What an Idea' thought forward in a competent manner.

Satbir Singh

Suraja Kishore

"I love it," says Satbir Singh, managing partner and chief creative officer, Havas Worldwide, adding, "Why just spouses? This is perhaps the story of most relationships. Idea's ideas have always been about social impact with mobile connectivity at its core. It's nicely done."

Suraja Kishore, national planning director, Publicis Ambience is more vocal with his appreciation. "I simply love it. It's well executed and there is enough drama for repeat views. The casting is good and the acting, real," he says.

According to him, the ad is not just engaging from a creative point of view, but takes the overall brand thought forward from a strategy perspective, too (from 'cell phones solving societal problems' to 'cell phones playing an active role in improving the understanding between couples').

About the insight, Kishore reasons that since it's not an 'imaginative' or 'intellectual' insight, and rather a 'life insight', it'll resonate with consumers, get them to identify with it and fetch the brand huge affinity and traction.

Moreover, he feels that the kid playing an active role in the ad will add another dimension to the brand, namely, that of being 'endearing'. "Kids are going to love it. I won't be surprised if some of them imitate the ad and swap their parents' phones for the same effect," he enthuses.

First Published : February 22, 2013
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