Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Using Celebrity... A recent example

A couple of weeks back I happened to see this TVC for TVS Star city a 100cc 4-stroke bike from TVS. At Rs. 29,990 and 109 kmpl of petrol it seemed like any other bike. My curiosity swelled further when I happened to see Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the latest poster boy of Indian cricket on one of the press ads. In Hindi the headline read “Jitna Dum, Utna Style” loosely translated “Like Power, Like Style”.

Frankly it disappointed me, here you are in the automobile 2-wheeler market. In a very cluttered 4-stroke, 100cc category after 12 years you still talk about power?

How powerful could a 100cc bike be? And that too a 4-stroke engine.

Dhoni cut a sorry figure in that press ad. in a boxing glove in the background. An image of the vehicle in the foreground. What is so special about this bike? Is it about power?
No it is not. Is it about style? May be yes and may be not.

In my opinion, having a stylishly shot Dhoni doesn’t bring the product benefit or differentiators out. For me it reminded me about “Burnout” the burning issue of Indian cricket for which Dhoni is one of the champions. If Dhoni continues doing silly ads like these, he would soon burn out like Saurav.

While I was thinking what the differentiator could be and how this celebrity could have been used better, I got a mail from one of my classmates. Sajan, now a copywriter with the same agency that handles TVS Star City. He told me about a TV commercial he had done for Star City using Surya, an actor in the Tamil film industry. I wasn’t too kicked about it. The reason being the Dhoni ad I had already seen. But I had hope on two things

1) Surya is an actor by profession, so he would do a good job.

2) Sajan is a very talented young man with lots of common sense, so he would definitely know how to handle a commercial with a celebrity. He had done many before.

Sajan didn’t spoil my hope. His is probably one of the powerful ads on TV I have seen in the recent past. Lots of commonsense.

1) Surya the actor had already endorsed TVS Star the elder brother of Star City

2) Surya is fresh after a hit movie where he plays a vengeful hero who has amnesia, he forgets every thing. So to remember things he clicks photographs of whatever he has or sees and has it with him. This film was a major hit and no Tamil would forget this film for another 6 months at least

3) The differentiating proposition of this vehicle is not power (poor 100cc), not price (all 100cc’s cost nearly the same) or the looks (the elder brother had a near similar styling) but it was the alloy wheels the vehicle has. No other 100cc 4-stroke has this feature as I know.

So the commercial goes like this…

A guy sitting on top of his TVS Star City, brimming with pride is ready to roar from a parking lot

Surya in his “vengeful amnesia character” get-up jumps from this guys back, threatens him saying it is his bike this guy is sitting on

The guy frightened argues saying it is his bike. Surya pulls out some photographs shows them one by one to this guy. The last photo is of the wheel. Alas the photo is of a conventional wheel and this bike has an alloy wheel (Establishment of the proposition).

The guy is jubilant, Surya disappointed goes back.

Cut to a TVS showroom where Surya is busy photographing a Star City’s wheels.

Next shot is the parking lot again and the drama where Surya threatens this guy again.

The guy laughs saying he has already once told Surya that this is his bike.

And now the differentiating proposition clearly comes out. Surya takes a picture of the alloy wheel he had taken from the showroom, shows it to the guy (reestablishment of the proposition).

Surya pushes the guy off the bike and gleefully rides it off the parking lot

Cut to super for all the other superfluous details.

Now summing up the positives of the commercial…

1) Unlike other commercials where a celebrity plays himself saying I use this product and so why don’t you, here Surya plays a character he had played in one of the greatest hits of 2006 in the Tamil movie industry. It is a very good usage of a character played by the celebrity which people for remember for long.

2) The celebrity plays a part in the commercial, but more than him it is the character he played dominates. So the product is not dwarfed in the middle, it is seen prominent

3) The proposition that differentiates this bike from others is the alloy wheels and that proposition comes out aplomb.

Good work mate. May you cook more like this in the years to come.

1 comment:

Sajan said...

Thanks Baradwaj for an extenstive, positive feedback. It really pepped me up.