Monthly Archives: May 2010

After A Break – 2.

This is a spillover from the previous post, which also celebrates the wonder years of advertising. The only difference is that this post is especially reserved for the telecom companies whose sole purpose of existence is to gently stuff one of their lifetime postpaid plans down their customer’s throat. Service with a smile.

The invaluable heritage of bloodsucking advertising started with Vodafone (then Hutch (previously Orange)). If you recall, they pioneered telecom business in India by means of their heralded ad campaign, which basically had a hideously ugly dog going around and sniffing everyone’s arse until they finally gave up and purchased one of their lifetime postpaid plans out of frustration. Inclusion of the catchy “You and I” song was enough to attract the kewl crowd*, and the Happy To Yelp dog was an instant hit with bitches who find those repulsive things cute. The doggedness paid off, huh?

They later revived their ad campaign with some popular characters called ZooZoos. I thought these were just products of computer animation, but after reading this article, I was struck dumb.

The article says:

the film-maker had to use adult actors—all slim-built women—as opposed to children, who would have been better suited to play the part of the Zoozoos.

Oh my. Just look at that sexist statement: All slim-built women, who would have been better suited to play the part of the Zoozoos. I thought the “part of ZooZoos” is, in essence, just mumbling unintelligibly and stumbling about like developmentally delayed children. So answer me this: are the ad creators equating women with these cretinous characters by saying they are best suited to play only such roles? What a sorry excuse for a career!

In any case, the Vodafone guys win my respect. Think about it: they succeeded in capturing the whole market with just a dog and slim women in white suits. The last time someone pulled off such a remarkable feat was when… Arsenal the won the League back in ’03-’04.

***

Then it was the golden age of Airtel with their eternal plea to ‘Express Yourself’. Who can ever forget their wonderful series of commercials starring the Award Winning actors R Madhavan and Vidya Balan?

1. Watch this. I chuckled when I noticed the Airtel “STD” in the title, and how it sounds almost prophetic when Vidya says, “Din mein 10 baar… 50 baar” in the ad.

2. And this one. It’s like someone swallowed a cheap romantic novel, suffered from violent indigestion, and vomited this ad for 41 excruciating seconds.

3. One more. I feel sorry for Madhavan. Even after turning off the lights and checking the house for open windows like a loyal domestic servant, he still gets cards thrown in his face. Poor sod.

Statistics show that a lot of people were left incapable of ever expressing themselves clearly after witnessing this artificially induced diabetes.

***

Next to arrive on the scene were the ironically named Idea, who launched upon the world the most intelligent ideas you’ll ever expect from people who choose Abhishek Bacchan as their brand ambassador. Whether it was the incredulous ‘mobile schooling’ and ‘mobile democracy’ to the recent ‘Walk when you talk’, one can only wonder where they get all their ideas from. My respect to Sirjee, whoever he is, for starting this legendary series. What a fucking genius, Sirjee.

The tragic end of Idea: 2 days ago, an Idea customer (their only customer) was killed when he was crossing a busy highway while still talking on the phone. Reports say that the person at the other end asked him to wait and the dumbass took it literally. Idea have since announced that they will be generously offering the deceased person's family lifetime postpaid plans at 2.5% discount.

***

Small fry like Aircel also came in to grope in the dark, but were left empty handed. When they couldn’t get a single customer to buy their service, they spent most of their free time in “saving” the remaining 1411 tigers instead. However, the tigers were less than thrilled over being saved by unknown fakeass mobile networks.

The tigers’ official spokesman has this to say:

Children, gather around! No retreat, no surrender; that is the Royal Bengal lore. And by Royal Bengal lore we will stand and fight… and die. A new age has begun. An age of freedom, and all will know, that 1411 Royal Bengals gave their last breath to defend it! HA-OOH! HA-OOH! HA-OOH!

And with that, the tigers started attacking and maiming Aircel’s staff.

The Indian government attempted to organize a campaign to save the remaining 11 to 14 Aircel employees, but pulled out when nobody gave a fuck. Oh the irony of life.

***

And finally, the torch has been passed over to the good people at Tata. How thoughtful of them to ask the Spastic Society of India to create a jingle for their Tata Docomo ad campaign. The resultant product of the spastic creativity was the extremely addictive tune, “Doo doo doo, doo doo doo, doo doo doo, doo doo doodoodoodoodoo”. In fact, the “doodoodoodoo” part keeps on going till a little blood comes out of your ears and for a moment you consider turning to religion to find solace from the pain.

The Docomo Friendship Express. I read somewhere that the train driver was so disturbed by the singing that he jumped out of the moving train. The passengers continued singing unaware, until the train went off tracks and crashed into a Docomo signal tower, killing everyone on board and disrupting Docomo’s network for over a week.

Tata, Docomofos.

Further reading

1. For all the tortured souls who have long endured the annoying barrage of SMSes such as “VL death pack: recharge for only 50,000” or “VL dwnlds: dwnld sxy bkini models 4 Rs 15. Thn beg 4 4giveness by dwnlding Bible for Rs 20”, I urge you to do this (if you haven’t already): SMS ‘START DND’ to 1909 to shut them up for at least a while. More details here.

2. For everyone else who want to have some fun, this is something you can do:

(I got a call when Manchester United were playing against Portsmouth)

Vodafone Customer Care: Hello sir, I’m calling to inform…
Me: That United are leading 4-0. Yes I know; I’m watching the match too.
VCC: No uhh…
Me: Oh alright. 2 own goals, but Berbatov’s goal was great. Should silence the critics till the next match at least.
VCC: Sir you can top up with Rs…
Me: You’re a Portsmouth fan, aren’t you?
VCC: No.. what? You can top up with..
Me: It’s ok. Even Leeds got relegated and it turned out great for them. If you guys play well, you’ll be back in Premier League in no time.
VCC: (silence)
VCC: Sir you can now top up with Rs. 555…

(Another call from Vodafone Kerala: this guy kept on speaking in Malayalam)

VCC: Njaan Vodafone Cuzdhomer Gare aano blah blah… postpaid ille? Ramble ramble.
Me: We’re no strangers to love. You know the rules, and so do I.
VCC: (Some more rambling in Malayalam.)
Me: A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of. You wouldn’t get this from any other guy…
VCC: Malayalam ariyo?
Me: I HAVE BECOME COMFORTABLY NUMB.
VCC: Eeeh?

VCC: Hi, I’m from Vodafone Care and-
Me: I don’t care.
VCC: Heehee, actually I wanted to verify-
Me: I could care less.
VCC: But this is to-
Me: Not a care in this world.
VCC: Uff, sir will you please listen?
Me: …as much as I care about Careless Whisper. (hangs up)

VCC: Hello Sir? My name is Priya. Sir, would you be interested…
Me: Oh Priya, I thought you’d never ask! Yes, I’m interested. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
VCC: (nervous laughter) Umm, no… sir…
Me: For once in my life, Priya, I’m not mistaken. I fell for you the instant I saw you dancing at Mansukhani’s farmhouse party.
VCC: (few moments of silence) No I’m calling from Vodafone, sir. I’m calling to tell you about our new…
Me: Oh? Sorry, not interested. (hangs up)

VCC: Hello, my name is XYZ. Are you a post paid customer?
Me: No, I am Batman and you have reached the Batcave. Kindly state the nature of emergency?
VCC: Umm… sorry?
Me: You should be sorry for what you did to Gotham city.
VCC: Sir… what? I don’t get…
VCC: (confusion, silence)
Me: Why so serious, son? Let’s put a smile on… (hangs up)

VCC: Good evening sir. I’m calling from Vodafone.
Me: Good evening sir. You have reached Airtel’s customer support hotline. My name is Sachin. How may I help you?
VCC: (confused) Uhh…what?
Me: If you guess my name right, you win 1000 Zimbabwean dollars. No taxes.
VCC: Uhh.. hello.. what?
Me: Wrong. It’s Voldemort. You lose and are hereby assigned 2000 hours of community service in Zimbabwe.
VCC: (hangs up)

I understand that they are trying to make a living by selling their shit, and I’m not against that. However, when they stop respecting people’s privacy and call at unearthly hours to explain their lifetime postpaid plans, they can certainly expect entertaining replies. I’m usually polite on the phone, but calls early in the morning and late at night? How can we let this go on?

Refuse! Resist!

*Kewl crowd: People who love to take pictures of themselves holding a guitar in various positions, at various angles. When asked to play a song, they will choose to play “You and I” because the lyrics are not too complicated, they just have to strum on random strings, and poof! Instant guitar Gods!

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After A Break.

I am putting together a list of some brilliant ads that nearly missed out on bagging a Cannes Lion this year. Nevertheless, they were good enough to earn critical acclaim from the judges and the audience alike.

Liril 2000

A soap claiming it can “refresh 2000 parts of your body” makes the top of this list. I’m very surprised because I didn’t even know we have 2000 parts in our body that could be washed with a soap. Amazing, isn’t it?

Unless you are talking about Optimus Prime, the rest of the Autobots and the Decepticons, I don’t think too many regular people have 2000 body parts to clean up. I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars: We use Liril 2000, and we smell awesome.

Seriously people, even 206 bones + 650 muscles + 32 teeth + 6 vital organs + 1 (optional) soul don’t add up to 2000.

I find it extremely puzzling when people try to be elite in selling a product as trivial as soap. Do you really believe that the average Indian ‘tard who watches Saas-Bahu serials on Colours and Imagine would even get the schmancy psychedelic “concept soap”? It would make more sense to drop all the unnecessary gimmick and pretentious bullshit and just show a hot semi-naked model rubbing your soap all over her – you know, stuff that regular, normal people can relate to. Trust me, it is easier to sell more soaps this way than trying to convince people that a soap can refresh parts they don’t even have.

You remember how Priety Zinta bathed with your soap under a waterfall once? Yeah, those were the days. Simple, delightful visuals; an easy-to-understand message. Where has all the clarity gone nowadays?

In the real world, it doesn’t matter what you want to sell. As long as a barely clad hot girl is holding it in her hand/ rubbing it on herself/ sleeping on it, people WILL buy your shit. But no, you want ignore the time-tested formula and use your brain instead.

The new ad self-righteously states that 2000 is “a creative expression to denote large number of body parts.” In response, I can think of just 1 creative expression about the ad makers: they had 1999 of their body parts shoved up just 1 body part when they conceptualized this ad.

Airtel

The story in this exceedingly well-made commercial is really touching, and it reminds us of how we used to be.

Saif is separated from his childhood crush Sarah Jane, who moved away when they were kids. Many years pass, and they are all grown up now, but Saif still can’t get over the memories of the little girl who he recognizes only by the ‘titli’ necklace he had gifted her back then. He looks for her on many different channels and uses many different cable connections, but alas! She is nowhere to be found.

Then one day, our lovelorn hero happens to catch this really pretty girl on TV. Something clicks. Something clocks. Thanks to Airtel’s Digital Clarity picture quality, Saif notices two things:

1. Sarah Jane maturity because she is still wearing a plastic titli necklace from childhood.

2. Sarah Jane’s maturity because her butterflies have blossomed from mere larvae to these full-fledged beauties that have taken flight from her chest.

And with Airtel’s MPEG DVB-S2 technology, one can now estimate cup sizes on TV. Notice the overjoyed look on Saif’s face as he fixes his stare on Sarah Jane’s cleavage and runs over to meet her.

Phir story mein twist. Just as he is about to profess his wish to bang the living titlis out of his childhood flame, Kareena sashays on to the scene. Life takes an unexpected turn as Kareena’s ‘tit’lis force Saif to change his mind again. Sarah Jane, the mature lady she is now, understands the situation, shakes her head and smiles poignantly at her luck while thinking: “Fucking C cups, bitch! Mine were bigger!”

Dil titli, dil titli

Surf Excel

For a change, here comes some archive material in terms of its uniqueness. I always wonder how it made past the censors despite all the objectionable content.

The ad starts with a young school boy looking for his missing teacher. A classmate informs him that she’s away because “unka doggie mar gaya”.

A teacher bunking work over a dead dog isn’t the only thing that is wrong here. Read on.

The boy goes to the teacher’s home and waits near the porch. A lonely old lady is shown sitting there, longingly staring at an empty leash.

This is when it gets frightfully creepy.

The boy puts the leash around his own neck, almost as if he’s been trained to do it on cue, and pretends to be her bitch. He elaborately impersonates all bitch-actions including rolling around in the mud, raising the hind leg and pretending to pee, and playing with the dead dog’s ball (ewww), which actually brings a smile to the old lady’s face. The closing scene shows them sitting real close, holding each other, with an impassive middle-aged woman’s voice telling us, “Agar daag lagne se kuch accha hota hai toh daag acche hain”.

Just what the fuck man! What in the dead Michael Jackson’s name is that even supposed to mean?

Full marks to the person who conceived and directed this psychotic ad. I’m guessing it was either Eli Roth or Quentin Tarantino. But even that shouldn’t stop an anti-abuse organization from investigating this issue, don’t you think?

Hero Honda

Ah, my personal favourite. This ad stars an exceptionally gifted guy who rides his bike to his girlfriend’s home every time she sends him a text message.

Guy riding bike to girlfriend’s home to reply to SMS. You can almost sense that there has been a misunderstanding somewhere.

I was not really sure about the misunderstanding, so I did some extensive research on this: I contacted the top 10 telecom companies, conducted a few surveys, talked to the Tech team at a renowned mobile phone manufacturer, tested the most popular cell phone models. After around 2 months of exhaustive investigation, I came to this definitive conclusion:

We have enough evidence to confirm that there is a “Reply” option in all cell phones through which you can reply to the sender instead of actually going to their home to reply. There you go. Misunderstanding fixed.

If the ad intended to make dumb girls go “awww, he’s so fucking sweeett naaa? Like he came all the way to my fucking home to like just say good night teeheehee!” it landed straight on its ass. It came across more like “awww, look at the poor unemployed twat! He has so much time to waste and he can’t even operate a bloody cell phone!”

Birla Sun Life Insurance

A dark, grim ad featuring Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh. The weird camera angles, the dull hues, the heavy pseudo-philosophical dialogues and the “sort of ominous” direction make this look like that i-pill ad with Tanaz Currim and her husband.

Notice how Yuvraj and Sehwag say, “Jab balla chalna bandh ho jaye tab…” and then suddenly go quiet, look down and shake their heads.

Wait, has somebody confused life insurance with erectile dysfunction again?

Honorary mention

This is the ad that came so close to winning, but unfortunately lost out – just like its protagonist always does in real life.

It’s the Bournvita “l’il champs” ad with Sania Mirza dressed as a school girl. A school girl with pig tails. Yes.

I won’t say much about it except that a grown woman dressed as a school girl rings a very loud bell somehow.