By: Boing - Focus
An astronaut in a space station is about to have a meal when he realises his homemade pickle is over. As he exclaims that, the word goes out to Earth, which is then shown going in a tizzy. Newspapers say ‘No spice in space’, loud news channel anchors sensationalise the subject, the Prime Minister mulls sending the pickle in a rocket and a celebrity calls to ban pickle at a press conference. As the astronaut ‘Babloo’s’ mother watches this, she fixes five ground fans in her yard, facing upwards, and creates a whirl which carries her domestic help, Ramu kaka up to the space station with the pickle. ‘Mind blowing’, the copy at the end reads.
There is advertising that polishes and packages its product... and then there is advertising that lights a rocket under it for it to explode in stunning colours in the sky. Pune based public company Finolex, often a generic name for pipes and cables, has entered a brand new category – fans, a month after its founder PP Chhabria passed away.
Hyperbole in advertising is one of the oldest tropes, and among the riskier ones too. It treads on the thin line of cleverness and stupidity, and often the audience feels it’s the latter. It is best practiced in India by Fevicol, whose spots have been giving the product superpowers since the past two decades and leading to hilarious results. For Finolex to announce its entry, it had to do a Fevicol.
And it did well. The story of ‘Babloo the astronaut’ is a 150-second slapstick film with a beginning, middle and a climax. It has a hero and a funny situation too, and a desi one at that. ‘What happens if an astronaut runs out of pickle in space?’ might not sound like a premise to sell fans but herein lies the brilliance.
The over-reaction of the world to Babloo’s predicament is the meat of the commercial, and is produced well. It features a Times of India lookalike, a Times Now lookalike and my favourite, a Rakhi Sawant lookalike who calls a press conference to ban everything – and later takes a selfie. Ear to the ground! That said, there are at least three to four shots which don’t say anything new and the TVC would be crisper.
The spot isn’t a commentary on our times but simply a build-up to a hilarious climax. Just like the Fevicol ads threw a terrific visual punchline toward the end, Finolex reveals after a big build-up that the secret to a ‘Ramu Kaka’ flying in space to deliver pickle is actually the power of a few of its fans. This is like the climax of Kung Fu Hustle, only in reverse.
End of June is a wrong time to introduce a fan range but who cares, this is India, right? Well done Finolex, now you have Havell’s brilliant spots to match up to.
(To watch this spot, enter this link into your browser - bit.ly/finolexTVC)
Your regular dose on the shifts in the social media universe
Did news sites really lose 100m page views?
Among the stories going viral last week was one about Indian news publishers losing about 100 million page views to their websites and apps. And nobody realised how until it emerged – most of it was Facebook driven traffic. Turned out Zuck’s network had tweaked an algorithm in May end, which hasn’t happened for the first time. But this time, FB started giving less visibility to third party content on users’ walls. According to a study by SocialFlow, news stories published on FB reached 42 per cent fewer people. Comscore, a traffic tracker said that the top 100 Indian news sites lost about 90 to 100 million page views in May-June. The alarm? Well, even if I assume that every news story has five ad slots, it’s a loss of 500 million ad impressions. Wicked.
Zucker likes this
YouTube’s live-streaming, Tumblr’s live video
YouTube India announced on Friday that its new ‘mobile live streaming’ feature will be set right into the YouTube mobile app. You will just need to hit the big red ‘capture’ button in the corner, take or select a photo to use as a thumbnail, and they can broadcast live to fans and chat in near real time. While this is a big move, to be launched with AIB, it might just be too late given the live-streaming space is already filled with Periscope and Meerkat doing awesome work. Meanwhile, my favourite blog network Tumblr has played it clever – instead of launching its own live video, it has simply made an integrated platform to support streaming services. This means Tumblr has the chance to add more ‘streaming partners’ – imagine it getting FB and Periscope on board. Go check out!
AIB likes this
Instagram sorts new channels to watch
It has been no secret that Instagram, like its parent social network Facebook, wants you to watch more video. The company is adding new topic-based channels a la YouTube so more of us spend more time watching curated content. In the ‘explore’ section of the app, we will soon see these channels labelled ‘picked for you’, and will include everything from comedy and food to fashion and sports. There are even superspecific channels such as um, hair braiding and ‘special effects makeup’ and ceramics. The 23 new channels are generated via algorithms, and I don’t see much info on how Insta decides which ones to show to whom. This is a dig at both Snapchat and YouTube.
Vela Public likes this