Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What a ridiculous IDEA, Sirji!

I always thought that IDEA's television ad was irritating at some level. An IDEA can change your life. What relevance does it have with the product? What is so innovative about this service provider? Its public image is no more than a second fiddle to Airtel. The whole "what an IDEA sirji!" is even more irritating. And the fact that they use political revolution as the backdrop for selling a sim card can only be described as self delusion.

As if their marketing concept was not irritating enough, their new ad harps on how socialist and poverty driven our economy is. There's a contactor who proposes to the Mantri (minister) to build a shopping mall in khet (agricultural land literally – but I guess they are referring to village as a whole). Here the IDEA man Abhishek Bachchan suggests that janta needs to be asked about their opinion. So he sends sms to all the janta (using IDEA!! Voila!!!) for their opinion. And as if to pacify the communists in India, all the poor farmers seem to be dead against it. Only one man sitting in car in a suit is positive for the shopping mall.

WTF. Do you really think villagers would not like to have their own shopping mall. Infact, they would want everything that a city people enjoy. This kind of psyche is precisely why economic reform in our country is almost a mission impossible. It is so ingrained in us that logical thinking has taken a backseat even in a completely irrelevant ad. With the same concept, it could have been the other way round where the minister says we can't have a shopping mall in khet and the public votes positive for it. Would have been the same irritating ad but at least they would have gotten their economics right!


  1. WTF...thts the appropriate line came in when i finished reading your crap...
    U are seriously idiot..think baby...
    ever saw the ads of TATA Tea? Use your brain..they r not trying to sell u a f****ing sim card..they r just trying to tell u..guys this is wrong..
    U are insane!!!

  2. Mohit, I could not perfectly decipher what you are trying to say in between all those arrays of "..."'s , but i can tell u one thing buddy, no company which spends crores on ad spends, is just "trying to tell", but THEY ARE SELLING THEIR DAMN PRODUCTS, which in this case happens to be a SIM card (btw, Idea is a cellular service provider, just in case you dont know). Even a class 10 student will agree to that. I think the entire concept of this ad itself sucks and is an absolute waste of talktime and public time.

    I agree with the authors point that its the leaders and people like you who fail to understand the problems of the country and hence can't think of solutions..

    so i would suggest u have some Tata tea, and get yourself some "Taazgi" so that you can think from a new persprctive...

  3. Mohit, dear, I want to thank you for your feedback, but have u even read what I wrote? I just said there is no connection between their product and the magnanimous plot they chose to sell it. And, yes they are trying to sell their product, they are not out there to do social service. Social message is a media to reach out to the customer to buy the product. And dude, its not a TATA product now; its Birlas.
    Coming to your second point, "They are trying to tell you... guys this is wrong"? What is wrong? That opening shopping mall is wrong? The one thing which India needs most now is the opening up of agricultural sector. We need shopping mall in villages. Not just shopping malls, but factories and industries. It creates employment. It helps move farmers out of their poverty. Farming is not a profession many want to pursue but are forced to pursue because of their inability to produce and sell products at competitive prices. The whole point of this blog was to point out that the morons like you have got it all wrong in their minds. It would do you well to read what happened in Singur.
    Thirdly, learn some economics and English, will do you good.

  4. Hey Anju... Nice thought...
    Apologize for butting in unnecessarily... Found it an interesting discussion though... Isn't the idea of the ad is to convey following:
    1. Empowerment: (That politicians ko Public ka opinion matters and that they can if they want to take their opinion)
    2. Connectivity (& the simplicity)
    3. Honesty: Clean way of doing business by politicians (Doing what is right, rather than what they "feel" is right)
    and in relating to such values trying to improve its impression (which you rightly said is second fiddle) and relate to a consumer as a choice for doing something different!

    On the second premise, I find that the intention is not as much to oppose or to support an argument, it is more about being able to have a say. And for villagers; who want or not want to share their land, I think you can have a nice mix of both the sides in India and it need not be a question of mindset. Villages have waste lands and land that is used for agriculture (which honestly, an increasingly grains deficient country like ours can not afford to loose anyways). So I think their addressing of land as "Kheton waali zameen" means taking away productive land, which will hurt both the village and country... So a capitalist trying something novel and touching some sensitive topics can actually be quiet an event ;-) although a cliche... I dunno if I actually confused myself more.. But a thought nevertheless from a (now) rusted marketing student!!!

  5. Hey manav, indeed good to see that you are one of my readers :)
    I do agree with you that the idea of the ad is to illustrate a very noble and an innovative way to use connectivity to improve the lives of people. My problem is that I feel that this product somehow doesn't carry this philanthropic kind of image beyond this 30 sec ad. The advertising idea does not suit the product. It not even that its connectivity is known to reach every nook and cranny of the country like VSNL or MTNL (this ad could be better suited for VSNL). Since I am not marketing student I may be wrong. But whenever I see that ad I go "oh humbug!" The point is if I were IDEA's advertising consultant, I would possibly not go for such a heavy concept for IDEA. Or may be the same idea but not so much political.
    On the second point, I do agree that we can’t afford to lower our food production. However, our agricultural efficiency is abysmally low. There is a very large proportion of population engaged in it than is warranted for agriculture as a business to be efficient or be profitable for a common farmer. But they are still in the business because, more or less, they do not have many options. We are in dire need to modernize our agriculture… bringing in more modern techniques of farming… like contract farming… ending our dependence on monsoon… land reforms… free markets… and indeed moving the extra work force to other sectors so that the efficiency can improve… which is possible when other sectors move closer to villages. It all a simultaneous process… one without the other may not make sense. Of course, as you say, the point of this ad is not oppose or support this argument. But I thought when they got their marketing strategy wrong (according to non marketing self) they should have got their funda right….
    Again thanks to drop in the comment…. :)

  6. Well,this is my take on the subject.The owners of the company struck upon a "IDEA" to enter the cellular business and couldnt come up with any attractive name.Hence they named it "IDEA".
    Now they are struggling hard to sell their product,because people find it difficult to associate "IDEA" with telephone.Hence their brilliant marketing guys ( brilliant cos they still manage to get the management to spend on such ads)are trying to sell IDEA with some social message.The IDEA of having schools in remote location was one such thing.Now for this ad,the plot could have been different.Say the minister could even check with the people if the PDS system is working properly.The advertisers are only trying to propagate the message of democracy,that the people will decide what they want.Do not connect it to the topic of debate-whether to have shopping malls or stuff.It is just to convey that people are the decision makers.
    The very fact that there are so many arguments over this ad makes it sure that the ad is complicated.Hence it is not a great ad.
    Seen the Sun DTH ad,a direct take on the two wheeler ad.Simple and to the point.
    Woooha..i have started having views on marketing as well...

  7. An Ad campaign has a budget.

    An Ad works the best if its recall value is high.

    e.g. Recall Ad on Nirma from the 80s.
    What rings? The tune "Nirma, Nirma, Nirma Washing Powder, iske jhaag ne jaadoo kar diya..." Right? I am sure most of us can recall that.

    Now try to recall the 501 Washing Soap ad? Anyone recalls that? No? Why?

    ANSWER: Recall value.

    Cut to the present: The main objective of Media and Advertising Companies is to catch your attention, hold it and possibly leave a mark. This is Recall value.

    Now recall the latest Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Ads. Which one is clearest?
    I am sure you recall the Airtel Tune (ala A R Rahman) or the Animation Couple of Vodafone or the Hutch Puppy. But those are not the most recent ones. Airtel and Vodafone are busy advertising Voice SMSes nowadays.
    But the IDEA ad will stick.

    No doubt, Rajesh is right. They did not get the name right and are trying to make sense out of it.

    But the recall value of the Ad is indeed high.

    The TATA Tea campaign has also achieved the same.

    Objective achieved?

  8. Hi Anju,

    Sorry dear friend but i disagree with some of your views. I think Idea Ad has left a remarkable impression on the minds of viewer.The reach of this ad is great too. One of the main intention of Ad agency while preparaing any campaign is to leave a lasting impression on the minds of viewer and then comes educating about the product. I think the Ad agency has done a pretty good job as you can hear this punchline from every second person - What an Idea sirjee.

    Similary, if you look at the Air tel boy and toy Ad, they have not talked about the Ad anywhere in the campaign but still it is a huge success..

    Just drop in to my blog to express your views on Airtel Ad whether you agree to it or not.


    By the way, good posting.