Fighting the Chinese
A look at the brand’s recent ads - including the one released around Father’s Day - and communication strategy.
A look at the brand’s recent ads and communication strategy.
The story of an ex-convict being narrated in an Indian consumer electronic company’s ad film may not sound like the quintessential assortment for a Father’s Day ad. Micromax clearly thinks otherwise. On the occasion of Father’s Day, the Gurgaon based company decided to tell the story of an auto driver, T. Raja in a threeminute-plus video film.
The video, which is titled ‘Meet Daddy: The Selfless Father to Thousands’ has no mention of the brand’s products throughout its long runtime. Only towards the end does one see the Micromax tagline ‘Nothing like Anything’. The ad film has been crafted and conceptualised by The Logical Indian and was released on June 16 by the brand’s YouTube channel.
Upon close scrutiny, one can see that Micromax’s TVCs focus solely on the product and its features (Remember Akshay Kumar’s flashy ad?) while the recent Mother’s Day digital ad film (What Mom Really Wants) utilised a strong emotional connect to advertise the brand’s mobile phones in an indirect way. Micromax even chose to associate itself with an ad campaign by Corning Gorilla Glass that followed the strenuous routine of Mumbai’s Dabbawalas. With the new Father’s Day ad, which is silent on the brand’s products, a clear divide can be seen in the way Micromax is opting to advertise its products on television and digital platforms.
In order to better understand the brand’s advertising strategy, afaqs!Reporter spoke to Shubhodip Pal, chief marketing and commercial officer, Micromax. He says, “We often ignore things and moments that matter the most. However the storytelling and narrative are different in both. In the Mother’s Day film it was the generalised story of a mother and son that many could relate to. In the Father’s Day film, it was a real story. It’s a moving and inspiring story that we thought had to be taken to millions of people. It’s a story that embodies our philosophy of ‘Nothing like Anything’,” he adds.
Pal, who recently re-joined Micromax, explains the new challenges in the Micromax universe. He says, “Earlier, we had the onslaught of the Nokias, Blackberrys and Samsungs of the world.” That challenge is now redundant as technology has helped homegrown brands like Micromax compete with global rivals on level ground.
Pal adds, “Now we have Chinese brands coming in so it’s a big challenge for me. It’s now down to (competing with) Chinese brands. I keep saying this and I’ll say this again - we’d love to have Chinese for lunch!” The current lot of prominent Chinese handset brands in India includes Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus and Gionee, among others.
There is a clear divide in how Micromax is advertising on TV and digital.
The ad follows the journey of T. Raja, an ex-convict, who founded the New Ark Mission in the year 1997, to rescue and rehabilitate deserted and dying people from the streets of Bangalore. The shelter home is located in Doddagubbi Village, Bangalore and around 200 residents live here. Raja is popularly called ‘Daddy’ by the inmates.
Speaking about discovering Raja, Abhishek Mazumdar, founder and CEO, The Logical Indian, shares, “We got to know about Raja’s work while interacting with an IAS officer in Bangalore. We were amazed to know the effort he has put in and the magnitude of change he has brought. Whatever is shown in the video, especially the helping moments, is all candid,” adds Mazumdar.
CONTENT VS THE BRAND?
In the recent past, we witnessed a wave of content-heavy ads that allowed the story to shine while the product was mildly advertised in a blink-and-you-miss-it format. (Remember Marico’s no-nonsense hair cream ad, Samsung’s #SapneHueBade video or LazyPay’s comedian gimmick?) But it remains uncommon for a durable goods brand to let content eclipse the brand.
We asked the experts. Pramod Sharma, executive creative director, Rediffusion Y&R feels that something is amiss. He explains, “The ad should have a stronger brand connect. A lot of ads having similar content are floating around - someone doing something for society. The Bajaj Invincible series is about individuals who help others. Even Vodafone’s ad had at least some connect to the brand. On one hand, everyone is telling you to go online but here’s a category leader that tells you to go offline with your father. I find no brand connect. That’s my biggest worry with the new ad.”
Our second expert believes that the ad strikes the right chord. Ram Subramanian, ad film-maker/peace and equality activist, Handloom Picture Co, tells afaqs!Reporter, “This video helps brand Micromax and deposits a positive emotion in the minds of the consumer for the brand name. What works for the video is Auto-Raja’s story, the execution does not have any production value but since the story is the execution, it works. It’s heart-warming to see that we have heroes like Raja who are making a difference in society and brands like Micromax are promoting such individuals.” ■
“It’s now down to (competing with) Chinese brands. I keep saying this and I’ll say this again - we’d love to have Chinese for lunch!” SHUBHODIP PAL