What an Idea, without Sirji

Written by Sukalp Sharma | Sukalp Sharma | Updated: Nov 27 2012, 07:12am hrs
Campaign: Idea Festive Campaigns

Brand: Idea

Company: Idea Cellular

Agency: Lowe Lintas

The Campaign

The first TV commercial shows a Muslim man standing outside a shop and looking at prices of various watches. He is disappointed as they are all beyond what he can afford. The shopkeeper then shows him a card declaring a 50% Diwali discount, and also wishes him Happy Diwali. The man rushes in, purchases the watch and hugs the shopkeeper. He then sends a picture of it from his phone to his wife with a Happy Diwali message. The ad ends with a voice-over, Dharam jo bhi ho, har tyauhar manaana acha idea hai. (Whatever be the religion, its a good idea to enjoy every festival).

The second ad starts with a Hindu couple at their house. The wife asks her husband to take a day off from work to which the husband agrees instantly, much to the wifes surprise. He further declares that the two will go out for lunch. As they reach the restaurant and the wife prepares to get off the car, she gets an Eid Mubaarak message from Idea. She then goes and calls her husbands bluff of taking an off on a holiday. Dumbfounded, he hugs his wife and wishes her Eid Mubaarak. The ad ends with a voice-over, Dharam jo bhi ho, har tyauhar manaana acha idea hai.

Our Take

Wait a minute. Wheres Abhishek Bachchan in these ads Wasnt Sirji a quintessential ingredient for Idea to even get an idea Keeping with the festive spirit of the campaign, maybe hes a part of the 50% Diwali discount, the hero of the first spot. Junior Bachchan was as much embossed in the telecom operators brand identity as its logo and the melodic signature tune, which has to be among the most recognisable, and likeable I may add, among Indian brands. He clicked for Idea, and Idea clicked for him with both the brand and the brand ambassador marking their own distinctly enviable territory in Indian advertising. However, this campaign, retaining the core of Ideas beyond telecom advertising which has mostly been laced with a larger message for society, be it environment, health or social harmony, can still be termed as an effective and satisfactorily good communication.

Ideas ideas, so to say, have had a long journey. Some were whacky, some were tacky, and some just got lucky. But they all left us with something more than a service provider desperate to sell SIM cards. A satisfying smile, an unmindful giggle and still finding a larger social message within a communication lent respectability to the ads. This, of course, did lead to the mobile service the real product fighting for space and even focus in these campaigns, except for a brief period when Idea ran the mobile number portability campaign, focusing out and out on its services.

The campaign under question, or rather dissection, checks all these points. It is relevant in terms of the time (festive season) and the times (slowdown, inflation, cash crunch and low consumption). And the mobile service itself plays a distant second fiddle in the communication. Also, the biggest thing about this campaign: It delivers the most basic yet critical social message of communal and social harmony in the simplest and sweetest of forms, even laced with a slice-of-life kind of humour. Its not preachy, its not overbearing. And the third installment in the series is expected around Christmas. No points for guessing whats that going to be about.

The campaign might not carve a niche for itself as some vivid and memorable Idea campaigns have over the years, but it sure is bound to leave an impression. And many smiles. Might not be the greatest, but still a good enough idea. Right, Sirji

Ratings: ***