Sucheta Dalal :Tata Docomo: Netting buddies
Sucheta Dalal

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Tata Docomo: Netting buddies   

February 26, 2010

Tata Docomo has launched a sound marketing strategy. The concept is born out of the fact that people like to share thoughts, deeds, jokes, problems, even crimes, with buddies. That explains the huge success of Facebook and Twitter in our social lives. Which is why they have launched a mobile community product called ‘BuddyNet’.
With BuddyNet, as per their claims, pals can share talktime, music and social networking sites over their Tata Docomo mobiles. Two commercials are on the air at the moment. In one, a young teen, in a ‘chummery’ dwelling, is seen searching for something. He’s lost his boxers, you see. A guitar-strumming pal wickedly points in the direction of the third room mate who has stolen the stinky chaddies. The pissed teen gives the robber a nice kick on the arse. Good situation. This often happens in hostels, dorms and shared apartments. The other commercial features a black-eyed dude complaining to his pals that he got beaten up by the college bully. The buddies rush out gallantly to seek revenge for their injured pal. And all the boys land-up with black eyes as well. Nice one, this too happens on the campus all the time. I have first-hand (eye) experience of it!
Good example of how well-thought-out, relevant, slice-of-life commercials can deliver a good return for the marketing buck. Youngsters, the key market segment for cellphones, should be able to connect with these situations easily. Tata Docomo is a late entrant in the cluttered Indian mobile phones market, and will need to think seriously out of the box if it hopes to occupy the consumers’ volatile mind space.
Because until now, the brand has been running what is probably the worst piece of Indian advertising seen in recent times. I speak of their very, very irritating ‘Friendship Express’ commercial. The one that features people from different nationalities aboard a train, complete strangers coming together to recite Tata Docomo’s jingle! Can you believe that? People coming together to sing their maha tired, maha trite, maha cacophonous music track!!! These folks need to get a life if this is their idea of bonding on a train.
The worst thing, and I repeat, the worst thing a brand can do is to get self-conscious and desperate about hearing its own name being sung out a zillion times at the cost of the hapless viewers. This is advertising at its lowest form. Where a selfish brand gives a damn for the viewers’ entertainment.
Anyways, good to see at least for their product innovations, the Docomo chaps are thinking a bit more clearly. 

— Anil Thakraney


-- Sucheta Dalal