A Mu­si­cal Ode

The tele­com player’s lat­est spot is a cause-led ‘brand song’ that recog­nises ef­forts of un­sung he­roes of Durga Pujo. By Abid Hus­sain Bar­laskar

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL -

The brand recog­nises ef­forts of the un­sung he­roes of Durga Pujo.

Asong ded­i­cated to sac­ri­fice, an ad film for a tele­com com­pany, and fod­der for all the con­tenthun­gry souls on the in­ter­net - ‘Miss­ing Stars Of Pujo’ is what Bharti Air­tel calls its lat­est ‘dig­i­tal ad film’ (that’s what we’re call­ing it for now) for Air­tel TV. The three-minute-long film is a Durga Puja-spe­cial, sung by Anu­pam Roy and cre­ated by ad agency J. Wal­ter Thomp­son.

The song is and ode to all the peo­ple who miss out on their Durga Pujo cel­e­bra­tions year after year to keep the sys­tem run­ning. Yes, the sys­tem, mean­ing the jobs that need to be done when the rest of the world is out cel­e­brat­ing. The ad film looks and sounds no dif­fer­ent from a mu­sic video, full of close-up shots of the singer, the stu­dio, the mix­ing deck and a mu­sic di­rec­tor. But the vi­su­als and lyrics are laced with sto­ries of 16 kinds of he­roes who’re mak­ing things work out there.

In­ter­est­ingly, the brand punc­tu­ates the song with the fa­mous ‘Air­tel jin­gle’, that was put to­gether by AR Rah­man many years back. The sig­na­ture brand tune is wo­ven into the mu­sic to­wards the end - and that’s what got our at­ten­tion.

With so many blur­ring avatars (it’s an ad, a piece of con­tent, a brand song, a cause-led brand film, and a mu­sic video) - we won­der which one comes through the most. More­over, at some level, it’s a 180-sec­ond-long dig­i­tal film as well. Also, we won­der what as­pect will stand out most when peo­ple en­counter this piece of com­mu­ni­ca­tion - the ‘ad’ part, the song, the mes­sage or the sto­ry­telling?

Not to for­get, the tele­com realm has a very few play­ers, mak­ing it easy to spot and com­pare the ad­ver­tis­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion ef­forts of the brands that com­prise the seg­ment. Will this com­mu­ni­ca­tion ef­fort stand out amid the com­mer­cial mes­sages of ri­val telco brands?

In a press re­lease, Sameer Ba­tra, CEO, con­tent and apps, Bharti Air­tel, says, “... At Wynk Mu­sic and Air­tel TV, we are al­ways ea­ger to col­lab­o­rate with stars to bring the best of lo­calised con­tent for our users...” promis­ing more such mu­sic tie-ups this fes­tive sea­son.”

Ar­jun Mukher­jee, VP and ECD, J. Wal­ter Thomp­son says, “Pujo songs are al­ways about cel­e­bra­tions and fes­tiv­ity. But no one spares a thought for those who miss Pujo gladly, so that we don’t miss out on any­thing. This song is ded­i­cated to all those stars of Pujo, who are lost be­hind the bright lights of cel­e­bra­tion.”

OVER TO EX­PERTS

This is not the first time a brand has rolled out an ad fea­tur­ing the un­sung he­roes of so­ci­ety. We got in touch with ex­perts for their take on this ini­tia­tive.

Ra­jeev Raja, founder and sound smith, Brand­musiq, a sonic brand­ing agency, main­tains that while the con­cept of un­sung he­roes has been done, the theme of ‘Miss­ing Pujo since...’ is quite fresh and im­pact­ful.

“I think the brand has treated it well. It will touch peo­ple and will stand out amidst the clut­ter. The song is the key to this film and I like the com­po­si­tion very much. It’s sim­ple, hummable and the lyrics con­vey the trib­ute to these un­sung he­roes well. What I par­tic­u­larly liked was the way it nat­u­rally segued into the Air­tel brand tune. It didn’t sound like a manda­tory brand el­e­ment has just been added on, but like a nat­u­ral con­clu­sion to the en­tire song,” Raja says.

Re­gard­ing ads vs. dig­i­tal con­tent, Raja says, “It needn’t be ei­ther or. There is a place for both and it en­tirely de­pends on the mar­ket­ing strat­egy of a brand.”

“Fewer play­ers could mean it’s eas­ier to stand out. But, a brand’s ad­ver­tis­ing is never seen by con­sumers in a ‘tele­com only’ con­text. It com­petes with ev­ery other ad out there and there­fore should have a strong idea that re­in­forces a brand’s po­si­tion­ing. It’s al­ways about the idea. The more rel­e­vant the idea is to the brand’s ethos and has been uniquely ex­e­cuted to en­gage the con­sumer’s at­ten­tion... the bet­ter it will stand out,” Raja adds.

Nis­hant Jethi, ECD, Publi­cis In­dia, is of the opin­ion that al­though it’s a trope used by sev­eral brands, it is a sweet idea. “Cel­e­brat­ing peo­ple who work through­out fes­ti­vals to en­sure that oth­ers don’t have to com­pro­mise on their cel­e­bra­tion, is al­ways heart­warm­ing,” Jethi says.

“I don’t re­mem­ber any such cam­paign that has been done for Durga Puja. It might work well since it will strike the right chord with Ben­galis who have an emo­tional con­nect with Durga Puja. Hav­ing said that, what it lacks is mem­o­ra­bil­ity. In­stead of do­ing just a song, if they would have cho­sen to tell sto­ries of the un­sung he­roes, it would have grabbed more at­ten­tion. The brand con­nect would have been a lot bet­ter. How­ever, it is a sweet ges­ture com­ing from a brand,” Jethi adds.

He adds, “There are enough and more play­ers in this seg­ment, with ac­cess to con­tent from around the globe and within the coun­try. But the chal­lenge is just the same. It’s still about the art of sto­ry­telling and how well it con­nects to the brand. How ef­fi­ciently and provoca­tively that is done, and how much au­di­ence mind space it owns.”

The song is sung by Anu­pam Roy and cre­ated by J. Wal­ter Thomp­son.

“I think the brand has treated it well. It will touch peo­ple and will stand out amidst the clut­ter.”

RA­JEEV RAJA

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