Satrajit Sen

Vodafone: Steady Streaming

A part of the 'Made for ...' series, Vodafone's latest TVC brings out the reality that consumers have started using the internet, particularly videos, to learn new things, on the fly.

Learning a new language has become so much easier with platforms like YouTube around. In fact, tutorials and how-to guides are the most popular video formats on YouTube and similar sites. People have, in a big way, started consuming videos through their handheld phones while on the move. All they need is a device with a decently large screen and a good internet connection.

Vodafone: Steady Streaming
Vodafone: Steady Streaming
Vodafone draws on these realities in its latest TVC
, a part of the popular 'Made for ...' series, first released in August 2013. Previous films in the series include 'Made for First Love', 'Made for moms', 'Made for young' and 'Made for sharing'. The current film highlights the network's video streaming capabilities.

Created by Ogilvy India, the film shows a young man practicing his evidently newly learnt Japanese, with the help of videos on his phone. He repeats the words, 'Nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimas' while getting ready for and travelling to a clearly important meeting. The film ends with a twist because the Japanese girl he meets speaks to him in English, much to his surprise.

Ronita Mitra, senior vice president, brand communication, insights and online, Vodafone India, speaks to afaqs! about the fact that consumers are increasingly using the internet to learn new things all the time, while on the move. "The new commercial seeks inspiration from the popular genre of online 'How-to-Videos', that consumers across age groups use to learn a variety of things... languages, household chores, gadget repairs. It shows the speed and reach our network offers and how you can use it to learn anything, even Japanese, anytime, anywhere," she explains.

Commenting on the creative execution, Rajiv Rao, national creative director, Ogilvy India, says, "The use of a tutorial video fit the story well and allowed us to present the product benefit in a nice way. Moreover, it was also important to bring out the 'network strength' element of the brand."


Vodafone: Steady Streaming
Vodafone: Steady Streaming
... Or still buffering? It took Raghu Bhat, founder and director, Scarecrow Communications, a while to understand the ad, probably because he was looking for a super that said something about overcoming language barriers. "Once I got it, found it charming," he says nevertheless.

"The over-anxious youngster is aptly cast. The execution, sound design and 'look' of the ad are also nice, as are the nuances -- like the guy suddenly stopping and colliding with a pedestrian. It continues the Vodafone tradition of communicating features through a larger-than-life canvas," Bhat elaborates.

To Prathap Suthan, managing partner and chief creative officer, BangInTheMiddle, the film is a "generic play", given how it pushes very "standard" product offerings like video streaming and 24 hour internet.

"Strategically," he explains, "I am not sure whether it adds back to brand Vodafone, but it is very much in the brand zone. I like plot, with the geekish-gawkish guy relying on his phone's video stream to pick up basic Japanese." He finds the insight lovely. Most of us, age regardless, do prime ourselves with at least a basic understanding of the person, his/her company, background, his/her language, city, etc., before we meet with complete strangers, especially foreigners. "Impressing a girl/woman continues to be a guy's/man's unfailing weakness. So, on those counts the plot is bang on. I also like the final turnaround where the Japanese girl speaks in English, and everything falls on its nose for the guy," he says.

Suthan believes that though it is an entertaining film, it isn't "unintelligent", and therefore, might just go over a few heads. "My very clever neighbor asked me one question: Is this film happening in Japan or India?" he says.