Sunit Roy

After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons

Tata Sky teaches everyone to act with new campaign, conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather, featuring Amitabh Bachchan.

Every year thousands of youngsters/aspiring actors throng to Mumbai in pursuit of money, fame and the dream of becoming a star in Bollywood. Braving all odds, majority of the pack, labelled as 'strugglers' in Bollywood parlance, continue to dream of becoming the next Amitabh Bachchan. In reality, however, only a few manage to achieve what they desire to become. The path to becoming an actor becomes all the more difficult, especially when one has no formal training in acting.

After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons

Tata Sky, a DTH (Direct to Home) brand, along with FTheCouch (an initiative by Suniel Shetty) recently launched a new interactive service - 'Tata Sky Acting Adda', to help such aspiring actors realise their dreams. Tata Sky Acting Adda gives the common man a chance to learn acting from Bollywood experts and be a part of auditions that are provided through this service.

After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons
After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons
An exclusive service for Tata Sky subscribers on #111, Tata Sky Acting Adda is the first-of-its-kind to offer acting lessons delivered on television and on Tata Sky's mobile app at the price of Rs. 59 per month. And to launch the service, Ogilvy & Mather conceptualised a unique campaign with the tagline 'Bade Break ka Bada Manch', using none other than Big B in yet another quirky avatar. This time, he plays the role of a diffident 'Uncleji' who fails an audition at his local Ram Leela because he can't act.

"While we were brainstorming on 'how to launch this product?', 'what communication route should one take, the scripts, etc?', we said - who better than Mr Bachchan to strike a chord, bring a smile and talk about the first step to learn acting?" says Malay Dikshit, chief communication officer, Tata Sky.

Shot by the national award winning Director Shoojit Sircar, the campaign - a series of four ad films - captures Bachchan's transformation into a confident actor in a very simple yet hilarious way. Through the four films - 'Auditions', 'Facial Expressions', 'Roleplay' and 'Raavan' - we see his complete transformation to a good actor with the help of Tata Sky Acting Adda. He goes on to give an audition so powerful that he bags the role of Raavan in the play.

"This project was fun from the day we thought of the idea. From writing, to narrating it to Mr. Bachchan, to shooting it, we enjoyed every moment of it. I think for me personally, the toughest part of the project was telling Mr. Bachchan that he will be playing a role where he can't act. He just looked at me and smiled. I also feel that (Shoojit) Sircar has helped us make it so amazing. All credit goes to him for getting such great actors together and creating this memorable piece," says Sukesh Nayak, executive creative director, Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai.

After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons
After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons
After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons

It is the fourth time that the brand has used Big B in a campaign. First he was seen in Tata Sky’s 10th anniversary celebration film, then he turned 'Rapper Thakur' for the #FamilyJingalala 'Yo Se' campaign, followed by the Maximum channels campaign that was rolled out largely on regional channels across India, and now Acting Adda. "On an average people spend a good three-five hours in a day interacting with our platform. This means we have to constantly come up with new offerings and innovations to keep our subscribers engaged. Hence, we attempt to make our communication appealing for the target audience and definitely want to let them know about it," says Dikshit.

"We want our prospects and existing subscribers to consider Tata Sky as a brand which delivers much more value for their hard earned money, a brand that delivers new and innovative solutions," he adds.

Tata Sky has been spectacular with their highly engaging and entertaining pieces of communication, and they don't disappoint this time either. The uniqueness of this communication rests on two key ingredients - the right mix of Amitabh Bachchan, and the way he has been used - thereby effectively plugging in two key expectations from services such as acting courses. Interestingly, the #FamilyJingalala 'Yo Se' campaign (the most popular amongst the lot) and the current Acting Adda are two completely different communications, selling two different products. While #FamilyJinghalala promoted the master/parent brand Tata Sky subscription (direct increase in revenue with new customer acquisition), the Acting Adda campaign is to create brand buzz and conversation by promoting the value-added services (VAS), where its attempt is to increase revenue per existing consumer by increasing their subscription fee. So, while the task in the first case was way simpler, it's quite tough in the second case, especially because every new VAS initiative has its own unique product proposition that needs to be highlighted vis-à-vis the overall brand premise of 'Isko laga dala toh life jinghalala'.

Explaining the strategy behind the new campaign, Dikshit says, "This campaign fulfils a need gap both - for an aspiring actor for whom no systematic route exists, and for a casting director who needs a talent pool. Now, while serious aspiring actors would want to lap up the service and what it has to offer, there are other viewers who would want to subscribe to this service just for the fun of it or because they need help for a small function in a housing society or a school programme. Then there is a third lot who would just love to sit back and watch the service for its engagement and entertainment value."

"Once we identified the need gap, our core thought revolved around - 'what kind of a communication would appeal to all of these segments?', and 'what script would generate smiles as it delivers the product message?' That's how the ads came into existence," Dikshit adds.

But 'will such call to action (CTA) videos actually influence the viewers or make them think twice before opting for a career in acting?' afaqs! asked?

"We have a legacy of 'call to action' campaigns and they have always delivered at a scale. The crucial part is what exactly is the CTA and how fast does a service or product gets delivered at your door step once a consumer responds to a CTA. It works brilliantly well for us with Ch100 on Tata Sky because the entire process of presenting a communication, the subscriber responding to a CTA and the service being delivered happens in a few seconds flat!" informs Dikshit.

Blockbuster performance?

After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons
After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons
After turning 'Rapper Thakur', now Big B takes some serious acting lessons
According Ayan Banik, head brand strategy, Cheil India, it's a masterstroke to use India's biggest Bollywood icon in promoting its acting class courses. It not only uses the star power of Big B to make it a memorable ad, but increases the credibility of the product many fold. "Mr. Bachchan is the gold standard when it comes to acting. And when one shows Mr. Bachchan (albeit a character) learning acting from the acting classes, in a covert way, we establish that the classes are par excellence as well," he says.

Banik adds, "The beauty lies in using Mr. Bachchan (not as a super star but as the lovable uncle next door who has also been struck with the sudden acting bug), and the context of getting that big break in the local colony Ram Leela just pitches the expectations at the right level. It's not about the high flying promises of getting a break in a Karan Johar movie or an Ekta Kapoor TV serial. It's an everyday product costing a paltry Rs. 59/month. While you increase the credibility of your service, you don't end up over promising your product benefit either. Therefore, along with generating additional organic revenues (hopefully), this campaign will definitely keep the brand conversation abuzz amongst its consumers."

Nimesh Shah, head Maven, Windchimes Communications, agrees with Banik and believes that the viewers who would be interested in learning acting would surely get influenced by it and give this service a try. "I think it is the simplicity of the message and the film that really makes it such a good watch. Not only will the film promote this particular feature of Tata Sky but create a positive disposition towards the brand itself," says Shah.

Independent advertising and marketing consultant Vibha Desai feels that the current ads are far superior as compared to the previous campaigns. "Although, the #FamilyJingalala 'Yo Se' campaign was well-executed, it did not have the fresh, cut through quality that the current campaign has.

She says, "The new ads are extremely well written, directed and acted, and are well shot. Even the supporting characters stand out. The wife, the chief selector and the acting advisor make an impact. They are real people, not just actors. Therefore, I think it is one of the best campaigns on TV today."

"The best thing is the use of Amitabh Bachchan. Rarely have we seen him as an underdog in advertising. We know that he's one of the most frequently used stars. So, to be able to use him like this makes these ads pop," Desai adds.


Client: Tata Sky

Malay Dikshit - CCO

Ashish Asati - GM Brand Marketing

UtpalSethia - AGM Subscriber Marketing

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather


Sukesh Nayak - Executive Creative Director

Nishant Pratap - Sr. Creative Director (Copy)

Pratheeb R - Sr. Creative Director (Art)

Chhavi Saini - Creative Controller (Copy)

Soumen Nath - Creative Controller (Art)

Sowmya Balakrishnan - Creative Controller (Art)

Noothan PR- Creative Controller (Art)

Ankit Pathak - Sr. Copy Writer

Madhav Nair - Junior Visualiser

Rudransh Bundela - Junior Copy Writer

Account Management

VR Rajesh - Executive Vice President

Jaikishan Menon - Vice President

Karuna Nayak - Account Director

Sharon Faria - Senior Account Executive


Prem Narayan - Planning Head - Mumbai

Aniruddha Khandekar - Vice President - Planning

Priyanka Nair - Planning Director

Production House - Rising Sun Films

Shoojit Sircar - Director

Supriya Macwan - Producer

Madhukar Moses - Post Production

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