Is the 30-second TV Spot Dying?

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | September 25, 2014
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Brands are investing time, energy and money in creating digital music videos, shorter edits of which may not make it to the TV screen. Is it no longer about 'that sexy 30 second TV spot'?

Ranveer Singh has had a lovely and eventful night. As he wakes up next morning, he is still excited about his lovemaking and starts dancing to an upbeat tune, in true Bollywood 'ishtyle'. He does it again to bring some masala into life, along with spicier noodles.

Priyanka Chopra is busy warning fellow chocolate lovers to stay away from her bar of premium chocolates. But since when has a warning been enough? So she clubs it with a song in a crowded bar with prisoners and jailbirds alike. Then there is's new commercial that has features a peppy and upbeat 130-second music score called the 'Be You' anthem.

Condom brand Durex started the trend with '<b>  </div><p>Do the Rex</b>' campaign
Priyanka Chopra made an appearance in new luxury chocolate brand Schmitten's campaign

DBS launched '<b>  </div><p>Chilli Paneer</b>' as four short episodes along with a music video. Keeping the TG in mind, the video is mellow and more matured
Micromax released '<b>  </div><p>Roobaroo</b>' on Independence Day, focusing on the language versatality of our nation and the handsets. They intentionally stayed away from using celebritiesWhen a chunk of consumers moves from a television screen to another, more interactive one, the brand cannot, but follow. Alternatively, the digital medium is already inundated with content. Would a plain-Jane campaign work? Brands seem to have found a way out of this dilemma by launching digital music videos or 'Janthems' or Jingles plus anthems (we just coined that)?

Eshita Jayaswal, vice president - strategic business, WebChutney, feels that the term 'music video advertising' seems counterintuitive, since a music video is purely for unbridled entertainment and creative expression while advertising is traditionally seen as push-based messaging. "The marketers of today attempt to strike a balance between pure entertainment for the target audience and branded advertising for the marketer's business goals," she says.

Jingle all the way

Eshita Jayaswal

Shubhodip Pal

Partho Sinha

Harshil Karia

Sumit Joshi

Sheran Mehra

Sanjeev Jasani

Brands have used Janthems for two reasons - when they have had to establish themselves in the existing category or when entering a new or relatively unexplored category.

When Maybelline moved from make-up to lip balms, it needed to make the category interesting and spunky for its target audience. That was when FoxyMoron designed the 'Baby Lips' video featuring Alia Bhat. Micromax caught on to the trend early and brought out the Micromax Anthem around Independence Day this year. It had singers belting out Roobaroo in different regional languages. The brand wanted to show that Micromax handsets enable one to type and receive messages in their own language. "Be it Kolkata or Trivandrum, your social media friends are just a click away. It is this power of modern day technology we wanted to use to propagate our message which embraces aspects of our modern lives yet asks for change to re-explore our diversity," says Shubhodip Pal, CMO, Micromax.

Take your time

With ad rates on television going up after the 10+2 (channels have to cap ads at 10 minutes and their own promos at two minutes, in any programme of 60 minutes) ruling, brands have to be brief. But digital gives them the flexibility of speaking to the customer for two or even three minutes. Brands can also release the anthems on music channels, put up the song for caller tune downloads and play it on the radio. Generally, these anthems do not run on TV, and of they do, it is only for 20 or 30 seconds.

"A campaign like 'Do the Rex' needed to be digital. The whole idea of celebrating good sex will not be accepted on TV yet. The digital consumer on the other hand, might even start discussing the campaign or the idea with friends," explains Partho Sinha, chief creative officer, DigitasLBi - the creative agency for Durex.

Durex enjoys a stronghold in the international condom market, but in India it is still a product not many people speak about, thanks to a subject that is still taboo. This campaign seemed to have broken at least part of the hush - the YouTube video received over three million likes in four months.

If designed cleverly, Janthems present an opportunity to be more engaging and interactive than the traditional TVC. For Maybelline, digital agency FoxyMoron worked with the objective of going viral and carrying the brand to everyone's personal devices. "We asked for 'kiss' sounds from girls on social media, as a kiss is probably the best thing you can do with your lips. Over 6,000 kiss sounds were stitched together into a music video," explains Harshil Karia, founder, FoxyMoron. Making music that is inherent to the brand is important, but so is appealing to the viewer in the first five seconds.

Take Philips' example. Instead of the TVC route, it went for content marketing by remaking the classic Amitabh Bachchan song, 'Saara Zamana Haseenon ka Deewana'. The original song used a jacket with bulbs attached. Seeing opportunity, Philips designed the album to showcase what LED lights can do. "Philips needed to drive the conversion from conventional lighting to LED, which is the future of lighting. We wanted to achieve this by building mass appeal through an impactful campaign that makes people sit up and take notice," explains Sumit Joshi, head - marketing, Philips Lighting India.

Let the music play

DBS Bank came up with a music video as part of its four-part mini-series 'Paneer Chilli'. "The banking segment is one in which you can talk facts, not much else. But we needed to think of people and not products. At the same time, our TG would not be the 20-somethings. So the films - and the music video - have a more mature feel to it," points out Sheran Mehra, head, GSMC, DBS Bank (India).

Most of the videos have one more thing in common - the use of bankable celebs that speak to the youth. While Bhat's young, peppy roles make her a role model of sorts for the youth, Singh was perfect for Durex because of his 'Casanova'-like roles on screen. Ranbir Kapoor added more than just charm to the Philips video. According to Sanjeev Jasani, senior vice-president, OgilvyOne, "Saara zamana... is an iconic song. We wanted to remake it with a superstar from this age. Kapoor has his own set of followers, which meant more views for our brand."

So does the absence of a star spell doom for a campaign? Not really. The 'Chilli Paneer' campaign features actors who are not popular or mass ones. In Micromax's anthem, the song is the star. Micromax pushed the content by tying up with Sony Music. Durex released its video on popular music channels. An additional benefit was that the stars tweeted and drove conversations on their own Twitter handle or Facebook pages.

Waxing lyrical

A music video makes for a good conversation starter and can build up brand recall. Micromax could tell its audience about the features of the phones, leading to sales of 600,000 units in 60 days. On the other hand, the Philips campaign led to others in the category talking to their consumers about LED lights.

Says Manav Parekh, associate creative director, copy, Indigo Consulting, "Brands will take to it more as they realise that they can get mileage out of it, apart from being able to say a lot of things. But ideas can get saturated and one must remember that content is still the king in digital."

WebChutney's Jayaswal adds that there is a lot of engaging branded music video content emerging from the illustrated, quirky storytelling space. She gives examples of Oreo's animated campaign featuring Owl City and the ironically endearing 'Dumb Ways to Die by Metro Trains' to drive the point home. "They do this without an A-list celebrity overshadowing the brand. The songs, of course, stay with you much after you've closed that YouTube tab.".

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