A completely wasteful TV campaign from the makers of Maxx Mobile. It stars Indian cricket team captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In each commercial, the man cribs and carps that people are forever stealing his Maxx Mobile. So irresistible is his precious cell phone. And he then goes on to urge people to buy their own Maxx Mobile! Sometimes he’s complaining from inside an airport, at other times from malls and cafes. And not much else happens in the commercials.
This sort of nonsense advertising only helps highlight the cluttering levels in the Indian mobile phones market. The mad glut which is now compelling marketers to sanction some really bizarre advertising material. In fact, even as Maxx Mobile goes about its ‘robbery’ business, another phone with a totally similar sounding brand name called Micromax has hit the market! Thus adding to all the confusion. So for both marketers now, not only do they have to tell their own stories, they also need to make sure viewers don’t mistake one with the other! Total madness!
And as if all this wasn’t bad enough, Dhoni has only till recently been plugging another cell phone brand called Aircel! Confusion, confusion, confusion! Guess the captain managed to get bigger bucks from Maxx Mobile, and so, as he says in the Aircel ads, ‘it was time to move on’. Which he gleefully did, but what about all the resultant chaos?
Here’s the problem with the ad creative: In every single commercial, Dhoni simply complains about his stolen phone. This means, nothing actually registers about the brand itself, all one notices and recalls is the whining cricketer. Totally incredible when you consider Maxx operates in the lower end of the mobile phones market. Another thing: after a couple of exposures, it gets damn tiring to watch him relate his sob story. The least the creative ought to have done was to weave in interesting stories around his stolen phones. So that, at the very least, each commercial appears fresh.
But here’s the bigger picture: I really think ‘desi’ mobile phone marketers, in their desperation to be noticed, are totally losing the plot. In a highly cluttered category, distinctive, path-breaking, high involvement and memorable advertising is extremely critical for success in the market place. And having watched Vodafone show the way with its zany Zoozoos, it’s unforgivable that rival brands have learnt nothing.
So as Mr Dhoni keeps losing his cell phones, makers of Maxx Mobile will keep losing their big ad budgets on wasteful advertising spend. Wonder who’s the one being robbed out here! — Anil Thakraney