Saumya Tewari

"ZooZoos are used when there is something big in the offering": Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone

The telecom major brings back the popular ZooZoos for its latest campaign to promote MyVodafone App.

We have adored them over the years and have missed them for a while. But, guess what? They are back! The Vodafone ZooZoos. The telecom major has brought back the ZooZoos, or rather, the Zumi Army, to push its MyVodafone App among mobile users in the country.

"ZooZoos are used when there is something big in the offering": Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone
The television campaign, executed by Ogilvy and Mather, features the Zumi Army slogging hard in the MyVodafone app factory. The little animated characters are seen checking out various services provided by the app including recharge, WhatsApp, Facebook, music, and movies. The TVC is supported by its presence on social media, as well as a series of on-ground activations communicating the app's various features and benefits.
"ZooZoos are used when there is something big in the offering": Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone
For the record, the MyVodafone App provides personalised experience to post-paid and prepaid customers, as well as non-Vodafone customers. It offers services such as data usage, plan details, bill payment, recharge, and access to M-Pesa account. It also lets users recharge/pay bills for friends and family.
"ZooZoos are used when there is something big in the offering": Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone
Speaking about the introduction of ZooZoos in the campaign, Siddharth Banerjee, national head, brand communication and insights, Vodafone India, says that its customer feedback and conversations on social media indicate that customers still look forward to watching the ZooZoos.

"Hence, MyVodafone App was an ideal platform to bring back ZooZoos to help customers discover the world of Vodafone," notes Banerjee.

History of ZooZoos

Launched in 2009 during the IPL season, ZooZoos have been typically used once a year to promote new products and offerings.

"ZooZoos are used when there is something big in the offering": Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone
"They lend themselves to a campaign only when there is something new, better and bigger in the offering," Banerjee informs.

ZooZoos Season I (2009) saw a series of 27 television spots talk about value-added services. The telecom company also launched the ZooZoo fan page the same year. The company claims that it was the first telecom brand globally to reach a target of 1,00,000 million fans. During IPL 2009, it claimed that 2.6 million people visited the page in 10 days.

Taking a cue from the immense popularity of these characters, Vodafone tied up with Shoppers Stop to launch ZooZoo merchandise. ZooZoos Audibles were also launched in association with Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Clients.

During Season II in 2010, Vodafone recreated the magic of the ZooZoos for the second consecutive year with 29 new television spots. Season II (2011) witnessed the introduction of Super ZooZoos with a series of 10 new television spots to create awareness about the Vodafone 3G.

With the arrival of Season III (2013), ZooZoos were back to drive adoption of the mobile internet with nine television spots. Vodafone introduced Zumis, a new ZooZoo internet army, which sang and danced to promote the Vodafone internet.

The last season (2014) saw the ZooZoos return to communicate Vodafone's differentiated customer experience. Each TV commercial depicted ZooZoos in a creative manner to connect with customer pain point.

In a bid to celebrate reaching 10 million fans, Vodafone created an exclusive application which customises a ZooZoo video for fans. Each fan got his/her own Zoo Zoo video.

Feed the need

Speaking about the need to launch MyVodafone App, Banerjee notes that customers are getting increasingly comfortable with apps and use them to shop, subscribe to services, and access news/information.

"Keeping these evolving needs of customers in mind, the MyVodafone App allows customers to view usage, pay and track bills/recharges for self and family, buy recharges and bonus cards, get best offers/plans/packs, activate/schedule domestic and international roaming, make MNP requests and locate stores, and track service requests," explains Banerjee..

He further adds that the app has an edge over third party payment apps like Paytm and Mobikwik, owing to the availability of M-Pesa mobile wallet.

The wallet, he says, enables customers to deposit and withdraw cash through a nearby M-Pesa agent/outlet, send money to any bank or any mobile in the country, pay merchants for goods and services, and make utility bill payments. According to him, it caters to all segments of society, from the unbanked to the under banked, as well as to net-savvy and evolved customers.

Currently, the app is available only on Android and will soon be rolled out across devices.

Message delivered?

Our experts feel that Vodafone India has done a good job in balancing the message with the memorable characters.

"ZooZoos are used when there is something big in the offering": Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone
"ZooZoos are used when there is something big in the offering": Siddharth Banerjee, Vodafone
Touting ZooZoo ads as one of the most sought after campaigns, Somenath Chakraborty, group creative director, Cheil India, finds the execution detailed.

"It keeps one interested and looking out for details each time we see the ad," he notes, but adds nevertheless that ZooZoos do tend to overshadow the brand message a little.

Though it is a nicely tied-up ad that keeps the viewer interested, Chakraborty feels that it does lack freshness in music and set-up. For him, the campaign will be not as strong as the earlier ZooZoo spots owing to the overuse of the popular characters.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Vivek Rao, chief creative officer - North, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, feels that the company could have pushed the execution a notch higher.

"Like it did when it introduced its 3G services with its Superhero ZooZoos," he recalls.

Adding that the return of the ZooZoos hasn't overshadowed the brand message, Rao asserts that resorting to successful execution usually leads to favourable results. However, it misses on the distinctive factor.

"It could well be that it's about keeping the brand alive in the public mind before it's back with something big," he concludes.

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