Yash Bhatia
Advertising

Why did OPPO Wake Up Sid?

Mithila Saraf, CEO, Famous Innovations, discusses the strategy behind bringing 'Wake Up Sid' characters back for the Reno 11 Series campaign.

Bollywood has a penchant for creating sequels to its iconic movies, often transforming them into blockbusters. One such film that has seen passionate requests for a sequel is the 2009 Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma starrer, Wake Up Sid.

However, when the film industry failed to fulfil this demand, the advertising world heeded the call. After 14 years, OPPO India reunited the cast of Wake Up Sid for its latest campaign #SidWakesUp to announce the launch of the Reno 11 Series.

Conceptualised by Famous Innovations, the ads feature Ranbir Kapoor as Sid, Konkana Sen Sharma as Aisha, Namit Das as Rishi, and Shikha Talsania as Laxmi. 

The brand's brief to the agency was to highlight the phone's camera, its key selling point. Commencing work on this brief in October 2023, the agency held the perspective that smartphone advertisements often lean towards being overly product-centric, prompting them to explore a more nuanced approach.

“Kapoor was with the brand for a long time. We intended to create virality organically, to get love for the brand, not just the product,” mentions Mithila Saraf, CEO at Famous Innovations. 

In 2019, Kapoor was signed as the face of the Reno Series campaign. The campaign continues the narrative from where the movie ends.

First, the brand launched a shorter campaign in which Sid was seen attending his best friend Rishi’s engagement party with his as-always carefree and goofy attitude. 

To create a buzz, the brand also launched two teasers, which were followed by a 4 min 40-sec campaign, directed by Shakun Batra. 

In the final scene of the movie, Aisha, aspiring to become a writer, sees her dream come true when assigned the task of penning a column titled 'New Girl in the City.' 

While grappling with what to include from the myriad experiences in Mumbai, she discards the initial draft just before the submission deadline. Instead, she crafts a fresh piece centred around her newfound friend, Sid, and life with him in the city. 

Continuing the narrative from the movie, the ad campaign follows Sid as he relocates to a new city. Unpacking into their new home in Goa, Sid navigates uncertainty with the support of his friends and now-wife Aisha. 

Mithila Saraf, CEO, Famous Innovations
Mithila Saraf, CEO, Famous Innovations

He receives the OPPO Reno 11 Pro as a gift from his father, to capture memories in this new chapter of his life. Notably, in the movie, Sid played the role of a photographer, making the phone's camera a fitting companion to document his experiences.

At the end of the ad, both enjoy the rain of the first monsoon, reminiscent of the scene where the 2009 movie ends. 

For the campaign, the agency got the characters rights from Dharma Productions, and music rights from Sony Music.

Before the release of the ad campaign, online speculations were rife about the possibility of Wake Up Sid 2 due to a cryptic post by Karan Johar on Instagram the producer of the film. 

Also Read: Oppo India releases three clips for Reno 11 campaign; reunites the cast of ‘Wake Up Sid’

The agency planted this to generate buzz. “We intended to post this as a reunion of actors, but we haven’t stated what they’re meeting for. We intended to never launch a sequel, but just bring back the beloved characters,” she says.

The campaign is anchored in nostalgia, with the expectation that upon viewing the ad, people will revisit the film and/or its soundtrack.

“Everyone is joking that Dharma and Netflix should be paying us because one thing it’s doing is making everyone rewatch the movie,” Saraf says with a laugh. 

Initially, the agency had contemplated a humorous return of Rocket Singh (given Kapoor’s portrayal as a salesman). However, they chose "Wake Up Sid" owing to Kapoor's character as a photographer, aligning more effectively with the promotion of the smartphone's camera.

Additionally, the film's resonance is particularly strong among individuals in their mid-20s to early 30s, precisely the demographic the brand aimed to target.

Long formats still work? 

The ad's extended duration of around 5 minutes raises concerns about its promotion across various mediums. Given the current trend of users gravitating towards short-form content on social media, promoting such a lengthy ad could potentially pose challenges for the brand.

Fragmenting the long-form content into shorter segments for TV or digital platforms may risk diluting the essence of the story.

To address this concern, the agency launched a 50-sec ad that could go on television with a 10-15 sec clip. 

“The longer format film is meant for digital engagement. The ad aimed to become an organic and viewable piece of content, where product integration is meant to be subtle.” 

With the aim of creating compelling content, the agency recognised the evolving content consumption habits, noting , “A consumer spends around an hour everyday watching content. They’re switching to OTT, as they feel content on social media is not interesting enough. We wanted to break that clutter, and I believe that the long format still works if it’s interesting enough.”

Challenges 

Given the strength of the storytelling and the nostalgia-driven script, there's a concern that customers might become absorbed in the movie, potentially overlooking the product.

Saraf, however, asserts that they effectively address this challenge by establishing an authentic connection between the product and the story.

“In this case, Kapoor was the photographer, and through the character, we can seamlessly talk about the camera. Therefore, the connection is strong,” she highlights.

Another challenge in this campaign is that it may not resonate with audiences unfamiliar with the film. The characters in the campaign primarily connect with those who have watched the movie.

Saraf explains that the brand wanted to target millennials, not Gen-Z. She emphasises that even among those who haven't watched the film, the general awareness of it is widespread. This audience likely has encountered references and aspects of the movie in various contexts.

Additionally, she highlights the significant challenge of aligning everyone involved in the campaign. “The concept required all the characters. All three celebrities have different artist management agencies. We negotiated contracts, and managed to bring them on board. But the end product was fruitful, making us forget all the challenges,” she says.

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