Vodafone Zoozoos: At it again

By Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | April 21, 2014
The brand has launched two TVCs with the characters during IPL 7, communicating the new offerings. There are eight other TVCs in the pipeline, this IPL season.

The Indian Premiere League is back with its new edition and so are Vodafone's popular characters, the Zoozoos. The eggshell-shaped characters took birth during IPL Season 2 and since then have been coming back year on year with new concepts to communicate Vodafone's customer experience that offers "unique" products and services to make customers' lives simple and convenient.

Rajiv Rao

This year, while IPL Season 7 is on-air, Vodafone has launched two new TVCs created by Ogilvy & Mather. The brand is expected to roll out two TVCs every week, for a period of five weeks.

The first two television commercials revolve around Vodafone's two product propositions - 'Choose Your Number' and 'Chhota Credit'. They depict Zoozoos in a creative and engaging manner to connect the customer 'pain point', thus linking it to the proposition that Vodafone offers.

'Chhota Credit' opens on a quiz show setting, complete with a clapping audience and title track playing in the background. One Zoozoo, who plays the quiz master, asks the contestant Zoozoo a question for which four answer options are shown on the screen. The contestant Zoozoo chooses to use the lifeline - phone a friend. He dials his friend, but there is no balance left on his phone. Just then, the shot changes to text that reads, 'Ran out of balance? Top-up instantly with Chhota Credit.'

'Choose The Number' opens on a reality show setting where a contestant is shown performing to music playing in the background. The judges are not impressed by the performance and give him zero. The contestant tries another form of dance but fails again. He then thinks of a new performance and tries an act along with a popular Bollywood number, which the judges like and rate with a score of 10.

Talking about the brief given to the agency, Rajiv Rao, NCD, Ogilvy, says, "The brief was to communicate new services and products of the brand. There are lots of new offerings of the brand that will be communicated with a series of 10 Zoozoo ads that will be launched during IPL 7. The properties - IPL and Zoozoos - have become stronger together for Vodafone and this is the reason why Zoozoos come back every IPL season. Since the characters are clutter-breaking, they make sure that Vodafone's communication isn't lost in the other ads."

There are no dialogues in Zoozoo ads. Is it a challenge to conceptualise such ads? Rao answers, "In fact that is a good thing - telling a story without any dialogue. They are simple and universal. The main challenge is to come up with interesting and refreshing ideas."

The other TVCs will promote several such products and services like voice, mobile internet, customer service and retail. The Vodafone "Superfan" promotion will also be part of this campaign enabling customers to win a 'money can't buy' IPL experience. Superfan will be primarily led by digital and on-ground activations.

Talking about the campaign, Ronita Mitra, SVP, brand communications and insights, Vodafone India, says, "IPL 2014 campaign will showcase a gamut of products and services which deliver on the promise of a differentiated telecom brand experience, thus making the lives of our customers simple and convenient. The Zoozoos have become a big part of India's cultural conscience. Breaking through the monotony and fatigue, the Zoozoos have been presented in a refreshed and engaging creative format to communicate our proposition. This year it will be very entertaining for the viewers to spot the pop-culture reference in each of the ads and talk about it."

Apart from television, Vodafone's customer experience campaign during IPL 2014 will be supported by OOH, digital and other media.

Sharda Agarwal

But isn't it harmful for a brand's property (Zoozoos) to be associated with one property, such as IPL here. Sharda Agarwal, executive director, MarketGate Consulting thinks Zoozoo and Vodafone's association is a positive one, even without IPL. "If you ask consumers, people know that Zoozoo is Vodafone's property. It's a cutting edge brand in terms of creativity and in the marketing space as well. There is a familiarity with Zoozoo and a good recall."

Agarwal feels that there has never been an awareness problem with Vodafone. With Zoozoos in IPL, the brand is just communicating a message in a creative way. "It's similar to Flipkart's campaign, wherein kids act like adults. So, these are unusual and memorable creative devices."

The strategy of Vodafone to bring back Zoozoos once a year is a great one, according to Agarwal. "If it was there through the year, there would have been fatigue. With this, Vodafone is ensuring longevity, a longer life for the property. Vodafone, IPL and Zoozoo are a triangular relationship and it works positively for the brand."

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