Devina Joshi

Tata Sky: Communication that refuses to ‘blend in’

Rediffusion has tried to erase the fine line between reality and the bizarre in its ad for Tata Sky

Whether you love it or loathe it, just doesn’t matter any more. That’s because the advertising for Tata Sky has done its job: getting the DTH (direct to home) service noticed.

When Tata Sky Satellite Television was launched in August 2006, it came out with a teaser campaign which showed a sweeper sweeping away spectacles and electronic entertainment items such as PCs, laptops, television sets and music systems from the street. While that raised some eyebrows, the revealer, or the main launch ad, ended up shocking people. It had families in their homes, flinging their spectacles and electronic items onto the street, and a voiceover explaining that entertainment would never be the same again with the feature loaded, digitally advanced and crystal clear viewing quality of Tata Sky. The ad propagated the message that existing forms of entertainment had been rendered obsolete.

“To put it frankly, the response to this ad was terrible, particularly among those in the ad fraternity,” admits Ashish Khazanchi, executive creative director, Rediffusion DY&R, the agency for Tata Sky. “We really couldn’t have anticipated such a reaction. But you see, since people aren’t fully aware of what DTH as a category is all about, the launch campaign had to be educational in nature. In the first phase, we had to talk about the category, rather than only the brand. Naturally, we didn’t want to create a clever ad, educating the ‘aam janata’ (ordinary people).” Khazanchi is satisfied that even though the ad evoked extreme reactions, people did start talking about Tata Sky.

Agrees Vikrant Mudaliar, senior manager, brand marketing, Tata Sky, “Education, by definition, means informing people, which is why some may have had such reactions to the initial campaign. But the second phase of our advertising will focus on the various individual features that Tata Sky offers.”

The agency has rolled out the first in the series, an ad for ‘Activ Sports’, Tata Sky’s sports telecast service, which has unique features such as choice of camera angle, choice of commentary language, highlights on demand and player statistics. The service was launched with the ICC Champions Trophy matches. The film for this feature has adopted a rather humorous approach, and agency executives hope it will more than make up for the earlier disappointment.

Tata Sky: Communication that refuses to ‘blend in’
Tata Sky: Communication that refuses to ‘blend in’
Tata Sky: Communication that refuses to ‘blend in’
The film opens on a man walking on a road with grass all over his body. People around him look with astonishment as they see his unusual covering. He reaches a cricket stadium and lies down behind the wickets to see the match from...

The film opens on the shot of a man who has covered his body with grass, making his way down a crowded street. People watch in astonishment as the man, oblivious to their stares, darts on, evading an elephant on the street which thinks him to be a mobile tiffin. Some foreign tourists are amused enough by the spectacle he makes to take his photograph in the middle of the street.

Finally, the man reaches his destination: a cricket stadium, where he lies down on the field, blending into the grass there. Right near the stumps, he watches a player get clean bowled. Later, he is seen shifting his position in the field to see the action at the most appropriate angle. A voiceover concludes: “Match apni pasand ke angle se dekhna ho to itni taqleef kyon? Ab Tata Sky Satellite TV ke Activ Sports pe ghar baithe aap angle badal badal kar match dekh sakte hain. Tata Sky. Isko laga daala to life jhingalala (If you want to see the match from the angle of your choice, why go to such lengths? With Tata Sky Satellite TV’s Activ Sports service, you can see a match from any angle you desire. Tata Sky. Use it and make your life a merry experience).”

Tata Sky: Communication that refuses to ‘blend in’
Tata Sky: Communication that refuses to ‘blend in’
Tata Sky: Communication that refuses to ‘blend in’
...a close angle. As he sees the match from different angles, the VO plays, “match... ..apni pasand ke angle se dekhna ho toh itni taklif kyon? Ab Tata Sky satellite TV ke active spots pe ghar... ...baithe aap angle badal badal kar match dekh sakte hain. Tata Sky. Isko laga daala toh life jhingalala.”

Khazanchi of Rediffusion says that the bizarre, over the top tone of the TVC was necessary to make the ad entertaining. “Cricket is a religion in this country, so we exaggerated the extent to which a person can go in order to see every shot clearly.” Interestingly, the man who was cast as the protagonist is an accountant with Black Magic, a production house. The agency was clear on not using a known actor to add to the credibility quotient.

There are more films lined up for Tata Sky’s other offerings, including Activ Whizkids, Activ Newsroom and Activ Games. In fact, the scripts are already ready for the ads, which will be released over the next seven or eight months. A new ad will be rolled out every four to six weeks.

“This is to make people realise that we offer much more than just television channels,” says Mudaliar of Tata Sky. The ads target the masses, particularly middle class families. Further, it targets those who wish to upgrade from the C&S system or even those in cable-dark areas.

Initially, it was decided to have a ‘candid camera’ feel and capture the natural expressions of people as the man strolled down the street. But that did not work out, so the film was shot in a documentary, real-life manner, with orchestrated reactions.

“However, we still introduced a bit of the candid camera element,” reveals the director of the film, Ram Madhvani of Equinox Films. “We placed the cameras at various locations without telling the crowd which one we’d actually use. Only the main actor knew which one we would use for each shot.”

The film was shot over three days in three different crowded streets in Mumbai. “The idea borders on the ridiculous, as no one would actually do something like what the man does,” says Madhvani. “Therefore, my job was to make the ridiculous look real and believable.”

This would explain why the man has been shown as though it were perfectly natural for him to disguise himself in this manner. Further, even the players are oblivious to the man, who blends into the field. Vishal-Shekhar have given the background music for the ad and Madhvani describes it as ‘gospel meets Bhangra’. The lyrics in the ad go, ‘What you’re doing, Paappe?’

The ad was launched during the festive season to take advantage of the ICC Champions Trophy airing at the time. As is known, sales for durables tend to go up during this time of the year.

© 2006 agencyfaqs!

Have news to share? Write to us