Fight­ing the Chi­nese

A look at the brand’s re­cent ads - in­clud­ing the one re­leased around Fa­ther’s Day - and com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy.

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL | CONTENTS - By Sankalp Dik­shit sankalp.dik­

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.


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

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