OPPO recently did a collaboration video with Mumbai-based visually challenged photographer Bhavesh Patel. The video which has garnered about 450k views across social media platforms, has been created by August Communications with an aim to highlight the 10x zoom camera capability of the OPPO Reno.
This is how Sumit Walia, vice president, product and marketing, OPPO India sums up the effort,"Just like the OPPO Reno 10x zoom, Bhavesh has been pushing boundaries by breaking the norms to perfectly capture the nuances of a moment through his artistic expression. With this campaign, OPPO aims to honour all those who have gone above and beyond with their artistic talent and have an encouraging story to narrate."
However, this is not the first instance of a brand using visual impairment as a technique to win viewers' hearts.
There appears to be a trend for brands to go the "inspired by true stories" route in recent days. Besides, aren't stories of achievers with physical disabilities already a done-to-death advertising formula?
We leave it to the creative experts to decide..
Hitting the right emotional chord?
Raghu Bhat, founder and director, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi shares his take as he cites a few examples, "We have had advertising plots involving a deaf violinist and a blind man who shows the way to a sighted guy. So you can say it's a bit formulaic, from a creative standpoint. But it's a formula that works."
“15 years ago, we had made an ad that showed a one-legged cobbler standing up for the national anthem. Basically, it's the same technique. Formula expires only when it stops delivering. Despite this, the ad has got good traction as it captures Bhavesh's innocence. His human story is what builds the connection with the viewer and makes it watchable,” he points out.
Every brand is looking for 'feel good' human stories that engage rather than sell, explains Bhat. “Authenticity is the goal and the only celebs who can deliver that are real-life heroes," he shares his take on the collaboration.
Ricardo Vaz, associate creative director, Enormous Brands says the concept may not be original, and may seem causevertising-ish to the ad world, but that the general viewer will find it touching. "I won't be surprised if it finds its way onto a family Whatsapp group or two. However, the brand won't really be remembered. There was an opportunity to make it a sleeker, more single-minded film, but it seems like one of those films where the client insists on plugging in the feature, ad nauseum," he says.
Throwing light on the brand's collaboration with the visually impaired photographer, he says, "I'm all for collaborations. That's how influencers work too. They bring the brand into our worlds and end up making the brand more relatable."
We also quizzed him about what the brand could have done differently to make the ad more eloquent or simply to make the ad stand out in the clutter.
"Having the protagonist shoot the entire ad himself would've been more dramatic. Him showing us his world from behind the camera might've made a more compelling narrative. Also, the weaving of the product and story could've been more seamless. Google-Reunion does the same, expertly," he adds.
We asked him whether a real-life narrative fits within the framework of a brand communication. "Creating an emotional piece could well be a strategy to make a more share-worthy film," he responds.
Here's a quick throwback to similar efforts made by brands in the recent past:
Conceptualised and created by Leo Burnett, HDFC Life Insurance rolled out a brand campaign that focuses on the real-life story of a blind chess champion, Darpan Inani who lost his eyesight at the age of three due to Steven Johnson Syndrome.
Through this two-minute film titled ‘Discover the power of fragrances’, conceptualised by JWT, Lux attempts to describe what real beauty stands for. The film also sees the presence of Bhavesh Patel along with Katrina Kaif and we see the former capturing the actress on film through his lens.
ITC owned liquid antiseptic brand Savlon has recently introduced new packaging for the product marked with Braille, a tactile writing system for people who are visually impaired.
Eyetex Dazller, a cosmetic brand from the house of Aravind Laboratories, launched its digital film 'Real Cosmetics for Real People' in 2017.