Brand Idea's latest ad campaign #MeriRealLife calls for introspection on one's online image.
Have you ever been a part of the age-old gossip-session around the difference between 'real-life' and 'reel-life'; the thought-provoking gap between grounded reality and its projection on the silver screen? Surely, everyone with access to a TV in India has had the 'aise real-life me nahi hota' moment to ponder over. But why has it become so significant now, online?
Reel-life is no longer privy to the silver-screen or the stars that add to its dazzle. #MeriRealLife - Vodafone Idea's latest campaign for brand Idea, initiates a conversation around the less than real projection of real-life on social media platforms; the distorted reflection of what is.
Social media has become so much more than just a communication tool. Today, users lead parallel lives on the internet and in the real world. For example, a turbulent family life could be customised to be a - #BestFamilyEver - or perhaps a stressed marital relationship could look like a happy union with a - #LoveyDovey - coupled with old marriage photos etc. There’s a long list of such delicate and rather private moments; moments carefully tailored for social media. As more and more users enter the digital domain, lives seem to split between these parallel worlds.
Brand Idea builds up on a couple of examples in #MeriRealLife. The first ad is about a young woman who starves herself to attain the perfect social media-approved shape and then posts a selfie. The second film revolves around a divorcee who still masks her real-life scenario with happy videos of her marriage.
Both women ride the social media wave while making up details to stay on point with the set standards. They later liberate themselves by posting unaltered scenarios and images from their real lives.
This isn't a first for the brand; Idea has played its role in flagging social issues on multiple occasions in its previous brand communications.
The ad films have been conceptualised by BBDO India and directed by Shimit Amin from Red Ice Films.
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Idea Cellular and Vodafone India announced their merger forming Vodafone Idea Limited last month. However, both Vodafone and Idea will continue as separate brands.
So, why this campaign and what does the brand stand to gain from it?
Sharing insights behind the campaign, team Vodafone Idea says, "The campaign #MeriRealLife has been developed with inputs from mental health professionals from MPOWER, an organisation that aims to end the stigma and encourage dialogue around mental health. People look at peers and society for validation and social media platforms have amplified this phenomenon. We have started living so we can share on social media and not the other way around.
"Idea believes that we need to propagate a culture for the responsible use of social media. With this latest campaign, the brand wants to elevate the role of Idea 4G beyond the category conversation to something that reflects its role in peoples’ lives and society," the team adds.
"Idea's idea is quite a brave and a contrarian take in a world that seems to be inundated with selfies. As a brand, Idea has always believed in exploring a social behaviour that seems to have been affected by their network. And this one seems very much in line with that. But I felt the execution could have been pushed a bit further; it’s a little cold, conceptually. Otherwise, a fresh point-of-view," Ghosh says.
"The initiative taken by the brand is a good one and actually holds up a mirror to society on their social usage. An attempt to tell people not to succumb to the pressures of the lives they see on social comes across pretty well in these ads. Even the stories chosen are quite relatable. It would have been far more authentic if they could have taken this up with real influencers and started a movement out of this ‘pressure of perfect’ but even this will do, as a start," Raj says.
"While the films are nice, they honestly didn't have much of a brand connect and one could easily replace this initiative with any other service provider and the message would remain the same. Unlike Idea's previous ads, where the brand provoked the users to celebrate an idea, here, honestly, I felt it was too generic a thought," he concludes.