Anushree Bhattacharyya
Advertising Fowl play

The portal claims to be a haven for aspirants who are trying to make it big in the entertainment industry.

Television audiences are being bombarded with a commercial that shows various people chasing a murga (cock). Also, producer-director Mahesh Manjrekar bellows across all radio stations as he hunts for new talent and urges people to come to a portal to audition for a new film. The multi-pronged campaign has raised many questions and created curiosity about, and why and how one can use the portal for a breakthrough into the entertainment industry. Fowl play
Launched by Vinod Nair (communication expert), Ravindra Nagpurkar and Rakesh Sreekumar, as the name suggests, claims to be a haven for people seeking to make their first mark or waiting for the first big break in the world of entertainment. In addition to the portal, the trio has launched a production house, Talentube Entertainment, a grooming school and a talent management company and together, they plan to make three feature films, one television reality show, one non-fiction show and four music albums.

Vinod Nair, founder and CEO, Talentube Entertainment, says, "So far, the trend has been that if your father, mother, sister or brother is a big name in the entertainment industry, then it is an easy walk for you. Ironically, the same path is full of struggle for a regular aspirant. The portal is a pool full of opportunity for many aspirants."

The company has started a hunt for talents for various roles including those of hero, heroine, singers, villain and many more for an upcoming feature film, which will be directed by Manjrekar. Fowl play Fowl play
In all, the film offers acting opportunities to 20 aspirants. Contenders can audition for separate roles through a customised camera application on the portal and by paying a fee of Rs 500. The app also provides dialogues to the aspirant. The portal also allows one to upload a video or YouTube link of his or her work.

After being judged by three different people, each candidate will be allotted marks. Those who receive marks below 50 will be rejected, while those who get a score between 50 and 70 will get another chance for a fresh audition. People with scores above 70 will be selected and will be enrolled in the grooming school, where they will be groomed for the next six months.

The television commercial that promotes the launch is based on the insight that everyone desires that 'one' big life-changing chance and often, it becomes difficult to catch it.

Conceptualised by Publicis Capital, the television commercial shows the tale of a chicken that represents 'Mauka' (chance). The story begins with a mohalla (neighbourhood) where 'Mauka' aka the chicken runs on water and on walls, and is impossible to catch. In this case, the chicken is used as a metaphor to establish how difficult it is to seize good opportunities in life. It establishes the portal as a stepping stone into the film and entertainment industry.

"Our approach was to be entertaining, have mass appeal and reach out to every sensibility. We want aspiring talent to know that 'mauka' will not run away from them anymore. It was our own funny way of bringing our concept to everyone," explains Nair.

Ullas Chopra, executive creative director, Publicis Capital, says, "The idea was born when Vinod Nair threw us a challenge of creating something that will get talked about and would have the potential of going viral; something truly entertaining. Vinod urged us to think beyond a 30-second spot - think for the internet and cinema and with a larger format available, we could think scale and larger-than-life exaggeration."

In addition to the television commercial, radio and an out of home campaigns have been launched. Moreover, the TVC is also being shown across 2,000 cinema halls across the country. Over all, the company plans to launch five TVCs.

Right catch

The TVC draws mixed reviews from advertising professionals. While one side feels that the idea is old, the other side find the TVC funny. Fowl play
Shiveshwar Raj Singh, group creative director, Draftfcb Ulka, says, "Once upon a time, India was referred to as a land of fakirs, snake charmers and odd ball maharajas. Well, India's moved on and happily embraced the cyber age. So it is ironical that a dotcom brand, to cut the clutter, needs to resort to a journey through the very bowels of mofussil India, accompanied dutifully by a quirky and irritating narrator."

"After a long and winding story, we arrive at the moral of the parable which has something to do with grabbing opportunities. So if the intellectually challenged audience hasn't yet reached for the remote, they may just connect the dots. The murga as a metaphor for opportunities is difficult to catch. It's all been done before, seen before and with greater charm, wit and relevance. An opportunity missed, in my book," adds Singh.

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