Oct 31, 2008

Mktg - India;Teaser season for DTH players

Devina Joshi

Think DTH and you’ll think teasers now. The Indian TV landscape has several new DTH players entering the space with dramatic teaser campaigns.

Recently, Airtel digital TV was launched amidst much fanfare with the high frequency ‘See You At Home’ teasers, followed by the mega celebrity packed revealer, which is currently on air.

In between Airtel’s teaser-revealer journey, its three month old competitor, Big TV, decided to have some fun of its own, and launched a revealer to Airtel’s ‘See You At Home’ teaser.

Now, Tata Sky, the oldest player among the three, has unveiled a campaign for its new Personal Video Recorder (PVR) service, which allows you to record shows and pause live TV.

The two Tata Sky teasers show brand ambassador and Hindi film actor Aamir Khan performing what are traditionally considered ‘womanly’ tasks, such as washing the dishes and laundering the clothes. When the camera zooms in on him, he declares indignantly that he is just helping his wife.

The teaser ran for just three days before the revealer was launched, reveals Vikram Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky, because “the thought of a man, that too a celebrity like Aamir, performing mundane household chores is bound to grab attention quickly”.

The revealer shows Khan surprising his wife by waking her up, whipping up breakfast for her, buying vegetables on his way back from work, and offering to make tea for her. Finally, his pleasantly surprised wife (played by actor Gul Panag) reads the newspaper and understands that the whole charade is so that her husband can watch a cricket match final on TV that night. She explains to him that with the help of Tata Sky’s PVR service, he can hog the remote, while she records her favourite TV soaps. He can even pause a live match – and restart it later – if something else requires his attention in between.

This done, Khan calmly hands over the task of making tea to his wife and lunges for the remote. The ad ends on Panag realising she has been duped and swiping at him playfully.

The ad, created by Anup Chitnis, Vivek Kakkad and Nitin Pradhan of O&M, has been shot by Vinil Mathew of Footcandles Films. The chief task before O&M was to, in a sense, launch a new feature in a nascent category, the Personal Video Recorder service. While there are applications like TiVO abroad, the concept is fairly new here.

O&M was asked to develop everything from scratch – from the feature name, to its identity, brand positioning and communication. The agency worked on the insight that because India is largely a single television market (only some 16 per cent of SEC A homes have more than one television), a fight for the remote is inevitable, and this may escalate into a battle of the sexes (news and sports versus soaps). The problem grows to crisis proportions on days when there is a cricket final.

Using this basic drama, which takes place in homes across the country, as a context, the ad aims to build relevance for the product by establishing that you no longer need to miss a show because here’s a feature that allows you to watch one programme while recording another. “The brand thus plays the role of a peacemaker,” says Mehra.

Some men compel their wives to give up the remote, others take the charm route; the charm approach was used for Khan for greater appeal.

Mehra is quick to clarify that the service doesn’t target only single TV homes. “Even in houses where there are two TV sets, people tend to watch shows together, so in that sense, someone may end up compromising on his favourite show at times,” Mehra says.

A four minute ad film is also running on Channel 100 (Tata Sky’s own network channel), which has Panag educating existing subscribers about the service.

The ad clearly shows the extent to which a man will go to secure his cricket match viewing experience. This insight was arrived at after extensive research by Tata Sky in small towns, where the war for the remote was found to be the most common TV viewing problem.

The TV commercial is being supported by outdoor, print, radio, Internet and on-ground activation.

When asked why the teaser route (now synonymous with the category, dare we say) was adopted, Mehra says, “Tata Sky was launched in October 2006 and we used the teaser format then as well, and it has worked well for us in the past also.” The ads then showed people throwing TV sets and dish antennae out of their balconies, as their “TV viewing experience” was all set to be “redefined”.

“So really, a teaser was the best way to generate curiosity about this feature,” says Mehra.

When afaqs! sought the neutral opinion of an ad agency executive – Nitesh Tiwari, executive creative director, Leo Burnett, in this case – this is what he had to say: “Teasers per se are good, as long as they have relevance to the brand and are creative enough to generate curiosity. What’s happening in the DTH space is coincidence.”

That said, he is a bit disappointed with Airtel digital TV’s teasers (‘See You At Home’), which he says “failed to get me to be curious about it”. But he points out that at least, it looked like a teaser, which Tata Sky’s PVR ads don’t.

“When I first saw Aamir doing the dishes, I thought it was part of the ad playing before it. It was difficult to discern that it was a separate ad altogether,” says Tiwari.

While that’s Tiwari’s opinion for you, we’ll have to wait and watch how well the rest of the population receives Tata Sky’s latest recipe for domestic bliss.

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