Suraj Ramnath

Can Saregama Carvaan's 'music box' find a market in the YouTube era?

A look at the brand's new five-minuter created by The Womb and directed by Amit Sharma.

In a day and age where a brand like Vodafone is featuring an old couple like Asha and Bala using 4G services anywhere and everywhere they go, Saregama has launched a new digital film for its portable digital audio player Carvaan, that's preloaded with 5000 retro Hindi songs. The five-minute-long film has been conceptualised by The Womb and directed by Chrome Pictures' Amit Sharma.

Can Saregama Carvaan's 'music box' find a market in the YouTube era?

Digital film by Saregama Carvaan - The Perfect GiftThe film, shot in Shimla, showcases a couple as they move through life and how the song 'Lagja Gale' by Lata Mangeshkar, is an integral part of their relationship. When the wife sings the song for her husband, it serves as a stress buster and a source of happiness; a lullaby of sorts until his wife passes on and the song fades into memory. Their son sees how much his father misses his mother and the role the song played in their lives together. In an effort to help his father feel a little better he gifts him a Saregama Carvaan. He knows it won't replace his mother, but the song stored on the device, when played, will most certainly bring back those fond memories associated with it back to life.

We spoke to Kawal Shoor, founding partner, The Womb and asked him if pushing the product as a gift and showing an older couple in the ad would limit the TG that the product should get? He says, "The content is absolutely natural for the 45-50-year-old and older, who are generally not tech-savvy. This is a product we have partnered up with Saregama to create and we have tried to keep it as much like a radio as possible. We just wanted to ensure that no techno-phobia comes in the way of a purchase. There aren't too many thoughtful gifts available today. For decades brands have used gifting as a platform. Gifting as a strategy only builds specialness into the brand. As far as it comes across as a special product, it would have done its job. Some might even buy it for themselves which even happens with shirts and watches."

While Vodafone has been showing a tech-savvy older couple in their ads in a time when YouTube, Saavn and Gaana are extremely popular, we asked Shoor if this product will work. He responds, "I would question Vodafone and ask them how many 70 year olds indoors would refuse Wi-Fi because they are internet savvy. All that is nice advertising but let us move on to our own small towns and we all know our mothers and fathers need more basic and simpler things."

The product, which is priced between Rs 6000-7000, was initially available on Amazon and has now increased its reach to large electronic outlets like Croma. It has also been penetrating into class I and class II towns and will eventually be available across urban India. The psychography is for any Indian who has grown up with Hindi songs and is a fan. In the next month, Saregama will also be launching Carvaan's Tamil version which will cater to fans of Tamil music.

So far, Saregama Carvaan's sales have crossed 100,000 units and the company expects to sell another 200,000 units in six months.

Can Saregama Carvaan's 'music box' find a market in the YouTube era?

Kawal Shoor

Can Saregama Carvaan's 'music box' find a market in the YouTube era?

Amit SharmaTalking about how The Womb got Saregama Carvaan's account, Shoor says, "The origin is that we used to work with Vikram Mehra when we were at Ogilvy and he was CMO at Tata Sky and Naveen and I had led the pitch on behalf of Ogilvy and we won the Tata Sky+ account in 2008. From 2008 till the time he left, we literally ran the account and then, in 2015, six months before we left, Vikram Mehra left Tata Sky and he joined on as managing director of Saregama and said let's work together."

About the challenge, Sharma adds, "It was a simple story, but there was a point where we had to show the characters ageing from the point where the kid is sleeping in the middle to his growing up. For this we used prosthetics. But that makeup stays on for only a few hours and then it has to be taken off and a new one has to be applied which takes a long, long time, but the make-up artist did a good job. The second challenge was that the actors are very young and it is difficult to age them in a natural way so that it doesn't look artificial."

We asked our digital experts if just because digital affords the luxury of time, should the brand actually use it and make long films?

Can Saregama Carvaan's 'music box' find a market in the YouTube era?

Carlton D'Silva

Can Saregama Carvaan's 'music box' find a market in the YouTube era?

Ashwin DuttCarlton D'Silva, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, says, "There is no harm in creating long brand films as long as they are relevant and serve the purpose. The medium might provide you with the ability to create long films but you also need to keep the TG hooked for that time (which is very difficult when you consider the attention span of the average digital audience)."

Ashwin Dutt, creative director, Tonic Worldwide, a digital agency, says, "Long format works and brands leveraging it in the right way would always succeed. In the end, it's not about short or long films, it's about gripping the audience with interesting and relative content."

Does the ad limit the TG that the product should get by showing the older couple?

D'Silva says, "Considering the fact that the product is designed as a retro radio and contains only retro tracks, it's only obvious that one must use the right TG to present it as a perfect gift."

Dutt says, "Yes, it is limited. But considering the product offers old songs, it is targeted at an older audience. The gifting angle works as very few people of the TG would buy the product themselves."

In the age of YouTube, and Saavn, will this product fly?

D'Silva believes there is scope. "I have known the audience that are not digitally native to be more comfortable with products that they are familiar with and this could just be the right blend of tech and product design that would make them comfortable enough to use," he adds.

Dutt feels that the tussle over free digital products and paid physical products will always linger. He says, "It is targeted at an older generation. The awareness for the product is low. It makes up for a great gifting product if it is marketed well to the younger audience."


Client: Vikram Mehra - MD, Saregama

Director: Amit Sharma - Chrome Pictures

Ad Agency: The Womb

Leadership: Navin Talreja and Kawal Shoor

Creative: Brijesh Parmar, Nikhil Mehrotra

Account Management: Heval Patel, Aditya Patil

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