Tickling the funny bone

Written by Payal Khandelwal | Updated: Feb 28 2012, 10:33am hrs
The English general entertainment category in television has a new member in its family. Comedy Central India was launched by Viacom 18 Media in January and since then, the channel has been creating a lot of buzz with its marketing initiatives.

Last month, the channel released a launch TV commercial based on its central positioning Laugh It Off. The channel has made its presence felt on the social media platforms and will soon be releasing its print, radio and outdoor ads and also below-the-line activations. The two agencies working on the account are Jack In The Box Worldwide and BBH India. BBH is handling print, outdoor and some part of the BTL innovations and JITB is handling digital activation and social media. The media duties are handled by Vizeum.

The commercial, which uses dry humour, talks about adjusting the funny bone so that it tickles the Indian viewers, who have "forgotten to laugh". The film has been directed by Ayappa of FootCandles Films and the concept came from Cyrus Oshidar and Viacom18's in-house team. Talking about the TV campaign, Ferzad Palia, senior vice-president and general manager, English entertainment, Viacom 18 Media says, The brief given to these guys was quite open-ended. There is so much you can do with comedy. The funny bone idea just popped up. The ad has been running on Viacom 18 channels and it also ran in select movie theatres during the screening of the movie Agneepath.

Talking about the print and outdoor campaign, Russell Barrett, managing partner, BBH India says, The strategic idea for Comedy Central was a given. "Laugh it off" was a place they had already reached and what we had to do was interpret it in a truly Indian, identifiable way. We think we've managed that with the Claymation print campaign, where we're encouraging people to look at aspects of life that would otherwise be depressing, in a lighter, less serious way.

Adds Palia, The print, outdoor and radio won't be an extension of the TV campaign. It would talk about how things can be seen in a lighter way-be it politics, Bollywood etc, keeping our central theme 'Laugh it off' in mind. The BTL innovations would done at Shoppers Stop, Cafe Coffee Day outlets, gyms, chemists, nightclubs and local hangout joints. There is a tie-up with Comedy Store in Mumbai too to motivate local stand-up comic talents.

Talking about the digital campaign, Tanupriya Anand, buzz agent, Bang Bang Films and Jack in the Box Worldwide says, On digital, one needs to see Comedy Central India not as a TV channel's brand/marketing extension on the internet, but as a comedy content platform/provider across online and mobile media. As a result, the best advertising we can do for the brand is to create brilliant content that gets viewers to tune in, on whichever screen they might be. Youll be seeing a lot of this content in the days to come and hopefully laughing your socks off.

The channel has over 1,22,510 fans on Facebook and over 2740 followers on Twitter. The channel's official website would be up next month.

Talking about the social media content, Anand says, We took the show's promotion on Twitter in a very different way and created hash tags to promote them respectively. For example, #BringBackThe70s was to promote That '70s Show . It trended on top nationally through out the day. #IfYouAreSingle was a hash tag we created to promote Valentine's Day promos on Twitter. It catapulted to number one trend worldwide in just 40 minutes! We are looking at humour on social media in a very different way and leveraging the share feature on Facebook by creating share worthy comic content- both visual and text based. We've got a huge number of shares on the comic strips/frames we create specifically for social media purposes.

The channel plans to get into local productions in English language and movies too soon.