Micromax: Celebrating Ads, MAdly

By Satrajit Sen and Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | January 30, 2014
The brand has rolled out a four-film TV campaign that is both, an ode to popular Indian ads as well as the fulcrum of a larger app-related initiative. A look at the effort.

Shubhodip Pal

You heard right - it is time to get paid for watching ads. India's second largest smartphone company Micromax has launched an Android smartphone, which it calls the first ever MAd phone - a phone that pays its consumers to watch ads.

The Micromax Mad A94 is pre-loaded with Micromax Advertising Application (MAd), which is developed by the home team at Micromax India. This unique app helps customers earn talk time, get bill waive offs and avail free recharges by just watching ads before the call connects.

Through the app, users can simply dial a call, watch an ad and get points. The points accumulated can be redeemed against recharge vouchers. This works for both pre-paid and post-paid users and across all service providers. For this, the company has an archive of old but iconic Indian ads, and will also tie up with brands for showcasing new ads on the platform.

Users can also watch ads through the standalone MAd app and get rewarded for the same. Users will have to register with telecom operators to activate the service. It's not yet clear how many points the user gets for watching an ad. Micromax says that in the future, the points could possibly be redeemed for other services besides the ones currently being offered.

To promote this app, Micromax has rolled out a four-film TV campaign that is currently on air. The TVCs are nothing short of an ode to Indian advertising. The films depict people from different walks of life passionately describing their favourite ads to their friends/colleagues. The brand thought seems to be: If we as a people are mad about ads, why not get paid to watch them?

The MAd application also packs new features like M!Live portal to download games, videos, wallpapers, music, BBM, and Hike (instant messaging), Spuul (movies), Kingsoft Office (tool to read/write/edit attachments) and Opera (mini browser).

Created by Lowe Lintas, the TV campaign is supported by print and an online initiative called 'Guess the Ad Campaign'.


According to Shubhodip Pal, chief marketing officer, Micromax, this is an attempt to create a win-win situation for the mobile eco-system - the customer gets delighted with the device hardware and the app, supported across all GSM telecom operators, works well for both pre-paid and post-paid users.

In July 2013, Tata Docomo launched GET app, a similar service. Consumers were rewarded for watching ads on their smartphone application GET, which stands for GetEasyTalktime.
Tata Docomo had initially tied up with Fastrack and HTC to serve their own advertisements to customers. By November, Tata Docomo claimed that GET had crossed 3 million video views.

Micrpomax MAd is a similar application that appears to be logical from an advertiser and network provider viewpoint. However, one potential hurdle that could dampen consumer engagement is low data connectivity.

Divyapratap Mehta

Emmanuel Upputuru

Though Divyapratap Mehta, national planning director (chief of strategy), Publicis Capital, feels the popular belief is 'People are not keen to watch advertising and they will not download an app to view ads', he says it is a great experiment. "I am keen to learn from the response. The fact that there is an incentive to watch ads is an interesting hook to get voluntary viewership. In a lot of ways the experiment is visionary. In an environment where advertising is seen as intrusive, the brand is talking to an audience that loves ads and doesn't find them intrusive." This, he feels, could open a new medium for audio/visual brand communication in the days ahead.

Mehta is of the view that the ads don't really celebrate the 'entertaining power' and the 'impact of advertising in popular culture', nor do they talk to people who love advertising. Rather, they seem to fall in the zone of taking a dig at advertising.

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