Suraj RamnathPublished: 9 Mar 2016, 12:00 AM
Advertising

'11 Minutes' races towards 5 million views; What's the lesson for brand storytellers?

Sure, it's got Sunny Leone. But that's not all it got right. What can brand storytellers learn from this film and the digital traction it got?

The anti-smoking ad film featuring Sunny Leone, Deepak Dobriyal and Alok Nath is stumbling towards the 5 million (views) milestone on YouTube. The film is called '11 Minutes'.

Rarely does an ad film get this kind of digital traction. And, it's not just about casting the flavour of the season. The larger takeaway here is - the brand no longer gets in the way of the narrative. Perhaps, the era of large product shots and blatant product demos is over?

'11 Minutes' races towards 5 million views; What's the lesson for brand storytellers?
What's the lesson here? A look at what our panel of communications experts said, when we asked them what they learnt from this film.

Edited Excerpts.

Shriram Iyer, national creative director, Mullen Lintas

I don't know whether anti-smoking ads work for smokers. All kinds of anti-smoking ads have been done, but I doubt if they really do work. Having said that, though this ad is entertaining, I don't know if everyone who watched it actually understood what it meant. It is a beautiful piece and is a nicely-handled film and all that, but the messaging is a little convoluted. My takeaway from the ad was the last 11 minutes of the protagonist's life lost when he could have done exactly what he was dreaming of. But, instead, he couldn't do it and lost those 11 minutes because of smoking. I think that kind of communication is indirect. It is entertaining, but it is not going to do the job of converting smokers into non-smokers. Most of these ads struggle. It is nice to do a piece of creative, but I have a feeling that messaging to smokers needs all other kinds of advertising. I don't think this is being advertised at a mass media level. This requires people to use their imagination for understanding the ad.

'11 Minutes' races towards 5 million views; What's the lesson for brand storytellers?
'11 Minutes' races towards 5 million views; What's the lesson for brand storytellers?
'11 Minutes' races towards 5 million views; What's the lesson for brand storytellers?
'11 Minutes' races towards 5 million views; What's the lesson for brand storytellers?
Telling smokers that you will get cancer doesn't help. How can your daily life get affected because of smoking? May be there is something there. If I am a smoker, then I can't worry about a mythical cancer that is likely to happen. But, I will worry about my knee hurting. There is too much research on these subjects and too much information.

Santosh Padhi, co-founder and CCO, Taproot India

I thought it is an entertaining way to send across a public service message in a tongue-and-cheek, viral sort of way. And, to get Sunny Leone and Alok Nath in the ad is a cheeky and topical thing to get into your piece of communication. I think these two things are really good. It is a nice way of passing on the message. I just wish that the message came across a little louder that Deepak Dobriyal suffers from cancer due to smoking. I think that bit is not being brought out until towards the end. If that had been done, then it would have been fabulous. It is a new way of saying the same thing. For the last 60-80 years, we have been doing anti-smoking ads, and this is definitely a catchy way to convey the message. But, as I said, if the smoking bit had been brought in somewhere, it could have tightened the entire commercial.

Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult

I think the film does a great job of being entertaining, is curiosity-driven, yet it drives home the point of 11 minutes lost due to every cigarette. The lesson is that public service ads need not be gory or ugly, but can actually be humorous and yet effective at the same time.

Manish Kalra, chief business officer, Craftsvilla

I think it's a good commercial and has a surprise and a high impact at the end of it. For me as an individual, I would say communication is all about bringing in a connect in the most relatable way. You should keep evolving your communication as the target audience is evolving and convey a message it would like to hear and one with which it can connect.