Vodafone: Viral step

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 28, 2013
Vodafone's latest TVC takes inspiration from viral videos and urges desktop net users to try out mobile internet in a funny way.

After the eccentric Gangnam style and Harlem shake, which caught people's attention with funny dance moves and music, Vodafone has come out with its own dance video that shows a tribal dance going viral due to easy accessibility of mobile internet. In its latest campaign, the telecom giant highlights its unlimited internet at Rs 199 offer and uses a quirky dance routine to emphasise the unique proposition.

The new Vodafone TVC

The television commercial (TVC) created by Ogilvy Mumbai shows a bunch of youngsters who stumble upon a ritualistic tribal dance in a forest (the forest setting happens to be Borivali National Park in Mumbai). The dance move primarily comprises a squatting man who hops and takes a 360 degree turn, shaking an arm flung above his head. The group secretly records the dance on a mobile phone and shares it with friends. The video is then seen on a social media network, where it soon goes viral. The dance move becomes so popular oweing to the escalating viewership that is shown, that people from different backgrounds and ages emulate the dance - spreading it across the world and across different situations.

The film is directed by Shujaat Saudagar of Bootpolish Films.

Anuradha Aggarwal

Rajiv Rao

Explaining the thought behind the campaign, Anuradha Aggarwal, senior vice-president, brand communications, insights, Vodafone India, says the campaign aims to convert non mobile internet users and prompts them to start using mobile internet to watch videos anytime they want, unhindered by the thought of high bills.

"Our research indicated that one of the key triggers for internet usage is entertainment. Also, the key barrier for non-usage was the risk of huge bills. While desktop usage allows access to the internet, only mobile internet enables users to do it anytime. We are targeting internet users on the desktop and giving them the incentive to move from time-bound internet access to access internet all the time," she says.

Aggarwal adds that through the Unlimited Data campaign, Vodafone plans to shift internet users (desktop/other devices) to mobile internet by addressing their fear of bill shocks or unwanted deductions.

Rajiv Rao, national creative director, Ogilvy India, says the purpose of the campaign is to bring alive 'unlimited internet'. "Our TVC is inspired by everything that goes viral, as virals are fun. It's, actually, an ode to that. For instance, the innumerable baby videos that people upload, or Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake. We thought it would be a good idea to do a quirky routine, which catches on and becomes viral in the TVC," he explains.

When asked if the dance move will take on a viral effect in reality, Rao negates the possibility. "This is just a commercial that showcases the power of the internet, which is fun and unlimited," he states. Rao says the video has already garnered over 2.5 lakh views on YouTube.

Apart from TVC, the two week campaign will be translated on outdoor, radio and in-store communication. There will also be a complete digital campaign.

Moving result?

Sachin Das Burma

Sohini Dasgupta

Sachin Das Burma, group creative director, Draftfcb Ulka, feels the TVC is a generic thought and the video is not shocking/surprising, which will get the viewers to get hooked on. Some time back, Nokia did something similar with its 'Trendify the kiss' TVC. I think if one is doing this kind of a thought, the video needs to be something that I haven't seen before. I wouldn't be surprised if the layman also felt the same way, going by the level of exposure they already have."

Besides, Burma feels the core intention of converting desktop users into mobile internet users is not coming through. "It never makes the point about the desktop limiting you, and how a mobile internet enables you to see-record-share stuff," he says.

Sohini Dasgupta, executive creative director, Publicis Ambience, believes the TVC is a fun demonstration of the genesis of a viral sensation, and of how the internet makes it possible. And, thanks to Gangam style, Dasgupta feels it's a relevant message. On whether the core idea of targeting desktop users to switch over to mobile internet comes across in the TVC, Dasgupta says, "It doesn't spell it out directly. But the fact that the power of the internet is demonstrated without showing any desktop computers does seed the thought."

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