Return of the Titan

By Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | December 30, 2013
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Tata-owned watch brand, Titan, highlights its evergreen theme tune in its latest campaign, and reiterates the 'joy of gifting'.

Music, they say, is the cheapest flight back to the past. In its latest campaign, Titan ups the nostalgia quotient in two ways: By making its signature tune the protagonist of its new ad film and by reiterating its original brand proposition of gifting.

The new Titan TVC

Rajan Amba

Piyush Pandey

The insight that led to the campaign was simple: With the increasing popularity of online shopping, gifting, as a practice, has become an impersonal affair. Thus, the creative brief given to Ogilvy, the agency that has worked on this campaign, was to get consumers to look at the brand as the 'original owner of the gifting platform'.

Set in a typical college classroom, the 60 seconder begins with students making mischievous noises during their lecture. Just as you find yourself frowning in disapproval, you realise that the students are re-creating Titan's signature tune. It is all part of their plan to bid their professor farewell. At the end of the film, one of the students walks up to the professor and gifts him a watch along with some other memorabilia. The professor is visibly touched.

The students in the ad, we learn, rehearsed their part for over a month with Prakash Verma, director, Nirvana Films.

For the brand, the objective of this campaign, shares Rajan Amba, global marketing head and product head, Titan Watches, is to return to its roots and celebrate its core proposition, the joy of gifting.

"Gifting is one activity in which both, the receiver and the giver, feel good. Titan has always been synonymous with gifting. We have attempted to re-create the joy of gifting. We wanted to make our evergreen theme tune larger than life. And there is never a good or bad time to return to your roots; it is something you can do anytime," he says.

An evident tribute to the Indian notion of 'guru-shishya' (Hindi for teacher-student), this film is the first in a series. Besides TV, the media mix comprises digital and cinema.

Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and NCD, Ogilvy, who has scripted the TVC, says, "Titan music is legendary and so is personalised gifting. Through this communication, we want to bring that out with a heightened sense of emotion. It is a tribute to the entire teaching community."

Pandey recalls the time he met one of teachers (who taught him in class five!) at a conference in Jaipur. The joy he felt after learning that she has been following his career all these years was boundless. "We get so busy in our lives that sometimes we forget some of the most important people," he sighs.

Strikes a chord?

Ferzad Variyava

Divyapratap Mehta

Ferzad Variyava, ECD, Law and Kenneth, gives the casting and production value of the commercial a thumbs-up, but feels that there was a certain 'something' missing. "The execution was more than competent, the music was well orchestrated and there were some nice touches with the vibrating rulers in the track. But to me, it was reminiscent of all the 'classic classroom ads' with students who are alarmingly gifted in synchronised musical feats," he explains.

According to Divyapratap Mehta, national planning director (chief of strategy), Publicis Capital, though there is no sharp insight in the ad, the film succeeds as an "executional drama".

Farewell gifts, he points out, are a well-established norm. "The ad is a classic disguise of a brand-centric syndrome in an emotionally charged context. I feel brands need to seriously introspect on how they engage with consumers. The conversation needs to shift from 'brand outwards' to 'consumer inwards'. Ideally, brands should just facilitate human bonds without making too much noise," Mehta critiques, saying the ad is more of an ode to the Titan jingle than to the professor in the film.
"It is a brand-centered fantasy," he says.

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