The story of an ex-convict being narrated in an Indian consumer electronic company's ad film may not sound like the quintessential assortment for a Father's Day ad. Micromax clearly thinks otherwise. On the occasion of Father's Day, the Gurgaon based company has decided to tell the story of an auto driver, T. Raja in a three-minute-plus video film.
He adds, "We had been talking to several content creators as we did not want to do obvious, run-of-the-mill stories. With The Logical Indian, we found the perfect partner to stitch T. Raja's unbelievable story which is a perfect example of joy and hope. It's a story that embodies our philosophy of 'Nothing like Anything'. If the product comes naturally as part of the story, then we are happy to include it, it's never a must have."
Pal, who recently re-joined Micromax, explains the new challenges in the Micromax universe. He says, "It's good to be back. I was the CMO earlier and was to come back in the same role but that didn't help me and so I took on the additional roles of managing the brand and the online sales together. I have a cost and P&L responsibility which gives me an even better portfolio to manage. Earlier, we had the onslaught of the Nokias, Blackberrys and Samsungs of the world," a challenge that is now redundant as technology has helped homegrown brands like Micromax compete with global rivals on level ground.
Pal adds, "Now it's a new turn of chapter; we have Chinese brands coming in so it's a big challenge for me. It's now down to (competing with) Chinese brands. I keep saying this and I'll say this again - we'd love to have Chinese for lunch!" The current lot of prominent Chinese handset brands in India includes Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus and Gionee, among others.
The ad follows the journey of T. Raja, an ex-convict, who founded the New Ark Mission in the year 1997, to rescue and rehabilitate deserted and dying people from the streets of Bangalore. The shelter home is located in Doddagubbi Village, Bangalore and around two hundred residents currently live here. Raja is popularly called 'Daddy' by the inmates.
"... He (T. Raja) was in Ooty for the marriage of his inmates. Whatever is shown in the video, especially the helping moments, is all candid," adds Mazumdar.
Is it okay to let content eclipse brand?
In the recent past, we witnessed a wave of content-heavy ads that allowed the story to shine while the product was mildly advertised in a blink-and-you-miss-it format. (Remember Marico's no-nonsense hair cream ad, Samsung's #SapneHueBade video or LazyPay's comedian gimmick?) However, it remains uncommon for a durable goods brand to let content completely eclipse the brand itself.
Speaking about the execution, Sharma says, "These ads are meant to be raw and simply shot since they portray reality. But yes, it could have been shot better."
However, our other expert believes that the ad strikes the right chords. Ram Subramanian, ad film-maker / peace and equality activist, Handloom Picture Company, tells afaqs!, "This video helps brand Micromax and deposits a positive emotion into the minds of the consumer for the brand name. I don't think this video was meant to 'hard-sell' a product or a feature. What works for the video is Auto-Raja's story, the execution does not have any production value but since the story is the execution, it works."
"It's heart-warming to see that we have heroes like Auto Raja who are making a difference in society and brands like Micromax are promoting such individuals," adds Subramanian.