FreeCharge ad: Not enough charge

FreeCharge’s latest ad with its focus on role reversal is not unique and has the potential of being outdone by other players in this segment

Campaign: Reverse the Charge
Brand: FreeCharge
Company: FreeCharge
Agency: Lowe Lintas

The Ad

The ad film opens with a father-son duo in a living room. The father sends a random photograph of a baby taken from the internet to a family chat group, followed by a five-minute video of a peacock dancing, and announcing there are more to come. The son interrupts his father, telling him he is wasting data, and should instead save money for his future. A voiceover follows, “Ab fizool kharchi ka charge papa pe lagao, aur pao amazing prepaid offers when you recharge on FreeCharge.”

Our Take

Role reversal has been the flavour of e-commerce ads this year. No wonder then that FreeCharge leveraged it too, but with a twist. #ReverseTheCharge explores the youth-parent relationship in a quirky and humorous manner. The ad highlights the trend that with more parents taking to the internet and experimenting with various apps, mapping data usage is not high on their priority list. The youth is portrayed as helping parents understand the new-age fizool kharchi following a pattern from the earlier FreeCharge TVC ‘Recharge Nahi FreeCharge’ where parents were blaming the youth for fizool kharchi.

The thought is in line with FreeCharge themes since the launch of the first campaign in 2014, which showed youth using FreeCharge redemptions for pocket money. “The previous campaign showed a bunch of youngsters as the main communicators. The current one focusses on how people from the earlier generation, who are now in their 50s, have adapted to the technology-driven world around them,” says Ashish Virmani, head, marketing, FreeCharge.

The idea of role reversal in advertising per se is not unique. Recall the OYO Rooms campaign ‘Aur Kya Chahiye’ where the father informs his son how easy it is to book an OYO room, or Flipkart’s ‘How to Train your Dad’ campaign by The Viral Fever. Or take MobikWik’s ‘Kwik Bill Pay’ campaign where a grandmother asks her grandson to pay the electricity bill quickly using MobiKwik. The ad also sounds repetitive with its focus on discount coupons.

While the idea was unique in 2014, when the first TVC was launched, the increase in competition in this category has made it difficult for any player to differentiate itself on the basis of discount coupons alone.

Currently, almost all players in this segment are offering discount coupons or cashback with each recharge. The ad also fails to highlight FreeCharge’s unique value proposition and has the potential of getting lost among more lethal advertising attempts by its peers.

Rating: **1/2


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