Shreyas Kulkarni

Truecaller takes on scam callers and hits them where it hurts the most...

… With stand-up comics Jesse and Jamie Lever, they spam call the scammers to waste their ‘time’ – their most precious asset.

There aren’t many things that can dampen the spirit of Diwali; the festival of lights possesses magical properties to brighten even the dullest of souls. But, a few things can poison people’s lives during this time and leave them worse than before.

Scam calls rule the heap of these few things. They rear their ugly head during this time and loot innocent and gullible men and women of their hard-earned money and peace of mind.

Truecaller, India’s go-to caller id and spam detection app plays a pivotal role in this scenario because people trust it to recognise unknown numbers as spam or not.

“Out of the 200 million monthly active users (MAUs) globally, 150 million MAUs are from India,” said Tejinder Gill, VP, global ad sales when we (afaqs!) interviewed him in July and the app’s data states “… 740,000,000 scam calls ruined the Diwali of many.”

Thus, it (Truecaller) in new communication, tackles scam callers by getting two stand-up comics to attack the most valuable asset of these nefarious folks – time.

Featuring stand-up comics and siblings Jesse Lever as “KYC Bomb” and Jamie Lever as “Free ki Firki”, Truecaller has released two ‘webisodes’ for its ‘Jam The Scam’ campaign.

The siblings decide to call the scammers for a change and ‘pakao’ them non-stop…. The aim is simple: Waste the time of the scammers to prevent them from calling and duping innocent people.

Apart from Jamie and Jesse the scammers voices are dubbed by the web series ‘Jamtara’ fame Sparsh Shrivastav and Pooja Jha.

Two aspects of these ‘webisodes’ struck us. One was their length; both bordered on the five-minute time while the second and more visible aspect of the two was the whacky script; it suited the Lever siblings whose body language match the scripts to the point.

Pranav Harihar Sharma, writer and director of the episodes said the idea was a whacky one and we needed to take it a notch higher with really whacked out scripts because you’re calling those people (scammers) who, day and night, make a fool out of people. “They are so sharp and to get an edge on them, you have to be sharper.”

Pranav Harihar Sharma
Pranav Harihar Sharma

He remarked that towards the end, when the big reveal happens, it should be a wow factor for the viewer and the scammer should be pissed off that you made a fool out of him and wasted his time.

Sharma went on to reveal that when the client (Truecaller) choose the ‘Free ki Firki’ and ‘KYC Bomb’ webisode scripts, the casting wasn’t ready and it was the agency (Wirality Idea) and client who suggested the casting of a stand-up comic… “I had a thought to take someone related to each other; I can then do more masti and it (the webisodes) will feel more personal.”

He revealed, “I shot three hours with Jamie and three hours with Jesse… It was a laugh riot… They were both present at each other’s shoot and we improvised a lot. In Jamie’s film, Jesse makes an appearance and Jaime does the same in Jesse’s film, it was created impromptu on the set…Both videos are teasers of each other.”

For Wirality Media’s (the agency behind the campaign) creative head, Sourya Bhattacharjee, the aim was to “… to provide an ideal Diwali gift to people which was different from the old school Diwali communications.”

Sourya Bhattacharjee
Sourya Bhattacharjee

He went on to reveal the data Karan (cluster head, digital strategy) and he unearthed during their research pointed towards a sharp spike in scam calls during Diwali.

And so Bhattacharjee decided to get a couple of vigilantes (Jaime and Jesse) to call the scammers and waste their time. “This (Jam The Scam) is a content series that will continue and appear at times when scam calls traditionally increase. Instead of saying “Don’t share OTP”, we want people to understand (scamming) from a content point of view. The series’ next season will appear in March (tax season),” said the creative head.

And speaking about the campaign, he went on to remark that when the campaign goes live, we will make the most of user-generated content (UGC) too: We aim to get people to share with us the “scam” numbers they know of which we will use to continue this project…

For Saanand Warrier, CEO, Wirality Media, it was a great experience to work with a client that allows you the freedom to work on and deliver such campaigns… He referred to the campaign they did for Women’s day with lifestyle platform iDiva called “#ItsNotOk”.

Manan Shah, director of marketing India, Truecaller said “This year, we saw a huge spike in scam calls and we felt that as a brand that stands for safe and efficient communications, we should do something about it beyond what our app is already well known to do. The biggest asset that these scammers have is time. JamTheScam is all about wasting their time. The time that they would have otherwise spent scamming innocent and gullible people”.


Brand: Truecaller India

Agency : Wirality Media, Bangalore

CEO: Saanand Warrier

Idea : Sourya Bhattacharjee

Writer-Director: Pranav Harihar Sharma

Production Company : M.O.M. (Mortals On Mission), Mumbai

Producer: Darpan Trisal

Director-Operations & Creative Producer: Reena Oberoi

Director(s) of Photography : Emil Ashok

Executive Producer: Vikash Arya

Music Director : Hanif Shaikh

Sound Design: Prince, Zeno

Sound Studio: Triumph

Editor (Offline/Online/Grade/VFX) : Protim Khound

AD : Raja Dwivedi

Art Director - Martand Mishra

Casting Company (Jamie & Jesse): M.O.M. (Mortals On Mission), Mumbai

Cast: Jamie Lever, Jesse Lever