Idea strings connection with cops

By Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | August 16, 2013
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The telecom brand has come up with its latest communication around Rakshabandhan; the campaign aims to strengthen the police-citizen bond.

Amid numerous cases of alleged police apathy towards women-centric crimes, telecom brand Idea has released its latest television commercial that portrays cops as protectors of citizens. The campaign aims to strengthen the police-citizen bond around the festival of Rakshabandhan.

The new Idea TVC on Rakshabandhan

Ashwin Varkey

Sashi Shankar

The film shows a young woman on a two wheeler stopping to ask directions at a police check post in Delhi on the day of Rakshabandhan. She finds the duty constable with an empty wrist. On inquiring why the officer didn't have a Rakhi tied, the cop replies "have been on duty since morning". The girl in an act of kindness ties a Rakhi on the cop's wrist. As the customary gift, the cop in turn gives her his mobile number and asks her to just call whenever she lands into any trouble. The film ends with a line 'Public aur Police ke beech bandhan ek acha Idea hai'.

Created by Lowe Lintas, the film establishes the true essence of Rakshabandhan, a festival in which a brother assures to protect his sister in any situation. Ashwin Varkey, creative director, Lowe Lintas, tells that Rakshabandhan was a good occasion to strengthen the declining police-citizen relationship. "There have been several cases not just in Delhi or Mumbai but across the country where we find police not doing their duty well and people being unhappy with them. This film is an effort to strengthen the police-people relationship along with the brand communication, 'What an Idea'," says Varkey.

He clarifies that the brand is not taking any side. Citizens and cops, both important parts of the society, are approaching the situation of a strained relationship. Thus, the brand felt that it is important to build an understanding as cops are the real protectors of the society.

Sashi Shankar, CMO, Idea Cellular, says the brand wanted the agency to demonstrate an idea that has the power to change lives of people, using the power of mobile telephony services.

After Eid, Christmas and Valentine's Day, with Rakshabandhan, Idea Cellular continues its stream of ads centred around festivals, instead of familiar issues such as network, rates, plans and other features.

Speaking on the trend, Shankar says, "The telecom category in India is characterised by a plethora of drivers such as tariff, network, and customer service expectation. The challenge is always to break out of the commoditised environment and resonate with a diverse target audience, which spans the urban and rural landscape of India. Idea comes up with innovative campaigns, which demonstrate the 'Power of an idea' in a fresh and imaginative way. The key thought in every campaign has been to offer simple solutions to complex problems, powered by mobile telephony."

He further adds that there is certainly an increase in consumption of most products and services during the festival period, and the advertising celebrates these festivals in a unique manner, adding to the celebration and happiness all around.

The media mix of this campaign includes television, digital and radio. While television targets the mass audience to build speedy and high reach for the campaign, digital targets youth, urban and the tech savvy audience facilitating conversations on social media.

Positive thread

Ferzad Variyava

Nilesh Vaidya

Ferzad Variyava, executive creative director, Law & Kenneth, finds the ad really sweet, with a simple concept that brings the brand seamlessly into the story. "Actually it is so nice to see the police being depicted in a positive light. More so, they are shown as human beings and not just a clichéd caricature we are used to seeing from the negative side of portrayals. The interaction between the policeman and the woman doesn't seem too forced or overdone," adds Variyava.

Nilesh Vaidya, founder, a.m. (an indepdendent ad agency), says, he 'loved' the ad. "It works at so many levels, without trying hard at all. It gives a different twist to the story of protection and also humanises the scary creature we call the police," adds Vaidya.

Simple performances from the actors that didn't force the concept on the people worked for Variyava. He believes that the film will help in keeping the Idea brand story alive.

Both ECDs believe that the ad also raises the relevant issue of greater safety for women.

Vaidya adds that it is a nicely executed ad and it is tough to find anything wrong with it. Though it has a new concept but the film stays true to the brand.

On the issue of Idea Cellular regularly using festivals as its theme instead of brand offerings, Variyava believes that it gives the brand a distinct flavour and a larger than life point of view. "Though Rakshabandhan is primarily a North Indian concept, people across geographies know about the festival and will not be disconnected from it," believes Variyava.

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