"Five minutes, five millimeters is all it took," says Hugh 'Wolverine' Jackman in the latest commercial for Micromax, homegrown handset brand. He's talking about his Hollyland style prison break.
The product being promoted is Canvas Sliver 5, touted as 'the slimmest phone ever'. The objective is to position the gadget as a premium offering for the up-market, urban youth. (And as one that can help you escape jail, yes).
In the minute-long ad film, titled 'Jail Break', Jackman tries to escape from prison, using the only tool at his disposal - the Sliver 5. From scanning his immediate surroundings, to unlocking the door, to unscrewing a vent cover, he uses the phone to do it all, showing off its slender make in the process.
Handset anorexia is something we've been seeing for a while now. The slim-and-lovely brigade comprises brands like Samsung, Gionee and Oppo, to name a few. International players like Kazam also make it to the list.
The campaign, Shubhajit Sen, chief marketing officer, Micromax, tells us, targets youngsters (15-25 year-olds) from the top 20-30 cities - particularly those who aspire to climb the social ladder, in terms of access to technology and experiences.
The brand, he insists, has successfully transcended its 'Chinese trading company' image, one that was very strong around 2008-09, post which, the brand began its ascent up what Sen calls "the aspirational ladder."
He says, "Micromax has been through distinct phases. Today, it can be seen as a brand that offers premium products. We brought Hugh Jackman on board for the Canvas Turbo with an objective to re-position ourselves as a 'global, premium brand'," a goal that, according to Sen, has been met. "I don't think we need to work that hard anymore to position ourselves as a 'global brand'," he asserts.
The current campaign will run across TV (mix includes English channels, Hindi and regional GECs, youth channels and sports channels), print (newspapers and magazines), outdoor and digital media channels. In-cinema, BTL and point-of-sale communication will also be part of the media mix.
On the digital front, besides social media, the product is being pushed on Star India's video-on-demand mobile application, Hotstar. In fact, a digital ad, titled 'The Slimness Test', has been created for this platform; this ad is also available on the brand's official YouTube channel.
The media plan has been designed to target consumers from SEC A and those on their way to occupying this coveted slice of the socio-economic pie. With product offerings that cater to different sections of society, the mother brand appears to be walking a tightrope; the idea is to balance affordability and premium-ness. The Canvas Sliver 5 is priced at Rs. 17,999. While pan-portfolio, brand Micromax is a "mid-premium" player in the handset category, it is products like the Canvas Sliver 5 that make it look as premium and high-end as its less affordable competitors.
Sen goes on to tell afaqs! that his brand is on an aggressive path to internationalise its business. "We are already strong in South Asian markets like Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh," he says, "and the brand is picking up in Russia as well. All our marketing objectives are defined by the company's vision, which is to keep positioning ourselves as a brand with global aspirations, and to democratise technology for all. We want to make the latest and cutting-edge technology affordable for the Indian market."
Why? She answers, "The execution brings together technology, speed, thrill and cutting-edge utility, and packages it just right." In her opinion, the use of Hugh Jackman is "ambitious," and helps Micromax shed all inhibitions in its quest to be at par with global brands.
Prathap Suthan, chief creative officer, Bang in the Middle, an advertising agency, is not impressed. He finds the ad lacking on the idea front. He goes as far as to call it a "stylised demo film with average stunts and a somewhat clumsy star." Sure, Jackman gives the brand some global sheen, he is willing to concede.
Suthan adds, "...for something as remarkably slim as five millimetres, the film is underpowered and tacky. Using a celebrity of this calibre is one thing, but knowing how to use him to gain as much as possible for the product, and the brand, is a whole new wolf."
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