Gionee, the Chinese cell phone brand, recently launched an ad campaign featuring brand ambassador Alia Bhatt. Titled 'Selfiestan', the campaign highlights how the cultural phenomenon of the 'Selfie' exposes a very basic human desire - to get noticed, appreciated and express ourselves freely. While the campaign has been created by Mullens Lintas, Initiative Media (India) is the media agency that has worked on the communication.
Ironically, with more and more Chinese brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi making their debut in Indian mobile phone market, the competition is getting tougher as the front-facing camera is becoming an increasingly important differentiator for smartphone makers. More so because in the mass / mid-price segment (up to Rs 35,000) where most of the brands are talking only about one feature - the front camera.
A smartphone, however, is sold under five key clusters / parameters, namely - looks and design, storage capacity (2/4 GB RAM and 16/32 GB ROM), processor speed (whether it is a Quad-core or Octa-core processor), camera (front and rear), and price. Unfortunately, no brand is reaching out to consumers effectively. Having a tendency towards narcissism is just one aspect of a consumer's personality. There are other facets of consumers, which smart phone brands can tap. Secondly, since most of the brands are creating feature-based communication, there is no brand loyalty because nowadays, consumers are willing to buy phones with impressive features at an optimum price. Thirdly, this category lacks real innovation. Usually, brands are engrossed in spec enhancement - from 2 GB to 4 GB RAM / from 8MP to 16MP camera / from 4000mAH to 5000mAH battery. Last but not the least, most brands are running a rat race in getting celebrities and spending heavily on stylised communications. Therefore, with so many smartphone brands marketing their products on the back of the 'selfie', it has become almost a blind spot.
He adds, "#Selfiestan is the embodiment of a world where people can express themselves freely and showcase their love for selfies and we are proud to have brought our own version of selfies to India with this campaign."
Talking about the most challenging part of putting this campaign together, Vohra says, "The idea was to change the notion that selfies are a narcissistic form of expression. We want to make it more about inclusiveness - smile and the world smiles with you..."
The video opens up with Bhatt welcoming the audience into the world of #Selfiestan. She enjoys taking selfies with her Gionee A1 and people adjust enthusiastically to get into the picture. She even asks to take a Welfie, Dilfie, Zulfie, Gelfie, and Helfie. The campaign started with a teaser on outdoors and TV. It has now been launched across various platforms including print, digital and radio.
The brand recently roped in Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli and Bollywood actor, Alia Bhatt. It joined hands with Kolkata Knight Riders too.
Vohra tells afaqs!, "We plan to almost double our marketing budget to around Rs 750 crore in 2017-18 from Rs 400 crore in the current fiscal."
Desai adds, "While the ad is a bit of a blind spot for me... it captures the fleeting interest in things that the target audience has in a gift wrapped manner. I just wish the music was a little more engaging. The shots are pretty decent though."
Azazul Haque, executive creative director, creative head, south, Ogilvy, Bangalore, says that after this campaign, Gionee will for sure own 'Selfies' - something they have been trying to do for a long time. So, the campaign does deliver the message very clearly.
He however maintains, "Selfiestan doesn't sound fresh. Recently, Rajasthan Tourism did a big campaign with the same idea, 'Mysthan'. It reminded me of that. Having said that, song and dance always work with Indian audiences. So, for Selfiestan, given the scale and the high entertainment quotient, the campaign will have a high recall."
Commenting on the execution bit, Haque says, "An extremely mundane idea is made extremely entertaining by its execution. Here, the song is catchy and the execution looks slick. So, it has high chances of becoming a popular ad, but not memorable."
Director: Amit Sharma
Music Director: Clinton Cerejo
Singer: Clinton Cerejo (Male song) & Shalmali Kholgade (Female Song)
Agency: Mullen Lintas
Production house: Chrome Pictures