Nandana Das

Innovating Future: Micromax

This is the first time that Micromax, instead of advertising its handsets, is promoting the brand.

Micromax has come a long way - from being in the business of distribution of hardware solutions to manufacturing mobile handsets. The company forayed into the Indian mobile handsets market in 2008. Ever since, it has grown from strength to strength.

There was a time when, for a large portion of the consumer base, buying a mobile handset meant entering a store and purchasing a Nokia or a Samsung handset. However, with the entry of Micromax, the scenario has changed fast.

Innovating Future: Micromax
However, this is the first time that Micromax is being promoted as a brand, instead of promoting particular handsets from the company.

Speaking to afaqs!, Amer Jaleel, national creative director, Lowe Lintas, says, "The idea here is to portray brand Micromax is such a way that it becomes the last word in innovation. If you use a particular handset that can be pretty much used for everything in the future, then Micromax phones should be at the leading edge of this phenomenon."

The latest Micromax commercial tries to promote the idea that the company thinks differently and acts 'hatke'. Created by Lowe Lintas, the TV commercial begins with Akshay Kumar, its brand ambassador, marooned on an island.

Innovating Future: Micromax
Innovating Future: Micromax
Kumar is using a Micromax phone to do literally everything - right from using it to roast a fish, to using it as a razor to shave off his beard and also using it as a projector to see the face of his lady love. He also uses it as an axe to cut bushes and finally, uses it to gun down a bear in the forest.

The company believes in constant innovation and it sees the future of this segment to be driven by innovation. The commercial, it claims, is like a snapshot, a projection of its vision of the future, of the way it will think and the mobile handsets that will bring phenomenal changes in the near future. The TVC promotes its tagline, 'Nothing like Anything'.

Micromax targets the upwardly mobile class, who are always looking for funky innovations in mobile handsets. Talking about the idea behind the commercial, Pratik Seal, head, marketing, Micromax, says, "Our main objective is to convey the brand philosophy, 'Relevant innovation'. We want to focus on what mobile phones can do in the future. This is kind of driving us."

Micromax wants to convey the message that one can use a mobile in different ways in the future, other than talking and texting. "We want to deliver those innovative things that one can do with mobile phones, thus justifying our philosophy, Relevant innovation," he adds.

Jaleel adds that Micromax wants to do something absolutely different, "something that has not been seen before, something that has not been come across earlier".

About working with Akshay Kumar, he says, "It was fun, especially dressing him up in such a way - with beard and all."

The creative team at Lowe Lintas includes R Balki, chief creative officer; Amer Jaleel; Syed Amjad Ali, executive vice-president; Deepesh Jha, executive creative director; Shayondeep Pal, creative director; MN Damodaran, brand services director; Srishti Jain, brand services manager; and Rishi Chandna, creative producer.

Innovation works?

Innovating Future: Micromax
Innovating Future: Micromax
Abhijit Awasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy India, says, "I think a philosophy of constantly innovating like never before is an inspiring one for a mobile company. I really like the story. The commercial is nice with a simple twist at the end. I must say - the execution and production is very good indeed."

Narayan Devanathan, chief planning director, Euro RSCG India feels a bit confused about what the ad wants to convey. He says, "Is it Nothing like Anything? Absolutely, as the line says.

"But really, what is it then? I'm a little unclear on the answer to that after watching this ad. Oh wait! It's supposed to be a corporate brand ad, right? On innovating today for tomorrow, and such like? It's reflecting the trend of tech convergence to make life simpler!"

Talking about presenting 'convergence' in the commercial, he explains, giving examples, that today, we are also seeing divergence at the same time. There are phones that can take pictures, blast music and play movies. There is Sony pushing beyond DSLR cameras, Bose belting out newer inventions, gigantic LED TVs and iPads.

He continues, "So which is the dominant trend then? Divergence, or convergence? Or shall we just play the 'confuse to convince' game? The question is, how tongue-in-cheek will we allow a brand to be, especially when it latches on to a trend that isn't?"

However, he feels that the ad will probably perform well in all the testing. "It's subject to awareness, recall, branded impressiveness and persuasion (to do what is another question altogether). Heck, it's even got that trademark scar-you-for-a-lifetime Akshay Kumar laugh from hell (even though it's more of a sob this time). And while I provide this erudite-sounding opinion of it, Micromax will continue laughing (a la Akki) all the way to the bank," he signs off.

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