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Advertising - Big Idea

Special Columns
Arindam Chaudhuri, Editor-in-Chief, 4Ps B&M Chief Consulting Editor's Desk
Rajita Chaudhuri
K.K.Srivastava Guest Column
K.K.Srivastava

ZOOZOOS Winners OR Losers?
The most talked about ad property in recent times has, surprisingly, attracted drastically mixed reactions in its second edition, which played out with full force in the recently concluded IPL. Who’s winning? 4Ps B&M investigates
 
Recreation of real-life situations with rib-tickling and sassy humour through totally side-splitting comical commercials – and all through creatures that a couple of years back you wouldn’t have cared two hoots about! Whether you love them or hate them, you simply can’t ignore them. Zoozoos have in all their glory conquered their rightful land in the ad-empire! Those adorable, charming, alien creatures unleashed by Vodaphone last year, courtesy Ogilvy, who took the viewing public by storm through their sheer ingenuity, freshness, quirkiness and that rare specialty Ogilvy has mastered – a magical fusion of surprise and delight! Yes, we do adore the Zoozoos, but the point is – did the second Zoozoo ads installment inspire, attract or generate the same degree of joy, enthusiasm, wows and appreciation as the first … or was it a predictable and to an extent repetitive overkill – that was seen for the humour surely, but did not cut any deep creative ice with the consumers? The question – led by 29 TVCs that blitzed the IPL viewer across 45 days – surely doesn’t have a predictable answer, as we realised when we flipped through industry responses...

“Of course, it wasn’t the same and frequently got boring and brain dead as hell!” That is the surprising reply of Delhi-based DD director Ananya Banerjee. She confesses she loved last year’s package but this time “it was getting on my nerves! The frequency was maddening and god, some of them were downright dumb and corny!” But godfather Alyque Padamsee believes that anyone who fails to be charmed by these amazing creatures has no right to be “certified sane!” He confesses to be a total fan of the little fellas and congratulates Vodaphone, the agency and the film production company for pulling off such a fabulous effort. “I freeze the remote the moment the delightful Zoozoo ads hit the screen! For me, they have the same charm and endearing quality as the Fevicol ads. Are they boring because they play out the same theme? Not at all, and that’s because of the brilliant creative execution. I place them alongside the iconic Air India’s Maharaja, the Amul characters and Asian Paints Gattu. Kudos to the team!”

 
Dentsu’s creative hotshot Gullu Sen is nowhere near as enthusiastic. While he agrees that as a concept, Zoozoos has certainly been an outstanding, clutter-breaking effort, this current edition, rolling out a mind blowing 25 plus ads “demonstrate nothing more than bankruptcy of ideas! It is really milking an idea dry, making it look contrived, fatigued, corny …” Sen believes that it is all execution without any delivery. “Where are the packages that could make the communication result-driven?” he asks, “Vodaphone must be having real deep pockets to attempt to entertain one and all by hitting the recall rather than the ROI button!” Sagar Mahabaleshwar – former Ogilvy honcho who’s crossing over to Bates 21 – begs to differ. He thinks the world of these ads and believes it is yet another classic from Ogilvy’s stable of “breakthrough creatives.” He puts Sen’s thinking as a part of the “industry’s overall cynicism” and reminds people that sequels are very difficult to carry forward because comparisons will always be made relating to freshness, novelty and so, on and off with the original. That the Zoozoos still manage to create a buzz and enjoy startlingly high recall in a crowded space, reflects their innate, core strength. Media star Pritish Nandy agrees with this viewpoint. “Fresh, engaging, funny, charming, they offer a cool spin in its category to redefine solid creativity in advertising. If many of them are corny, it’s because they are catering to the lowest common denominator and need to be simple, basic and comprehensible in their basic execution, consciously avoiding sophistication or clever, visual layering. Full marks to them.”

While the jury is not fully out, the general take-out appears positive. In a cluttered, competitive market space where Value Added Service is the big mantra, to be fresh, unique, different and memorable can be an overwhelming challenge. That Vodaphone & Ogilvy have been able to achieve this in an environment bursting with a galaxy of ludicrous, lazy, brain-dead celebrity-driven advertising, is truly commendable.

Monojit Lahiri           
 
 
 
 
 
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