Vodafone’s ZooZoos, stars of IPL ad breaks

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Merchandise, bags, T-shirts to be available soon.

Wooing audience… the Vodafone way
Wooing audience… the Vodafone way

Our Bureau

New Delhi, April 30

It is not for nothing that Indian advertising is seen as coming into its own. And Vodafone advertising campaigns have been at the forefront of it all.

First there was that dog in Hutch campaigns, which captured the imagination of millions. It survived a $19-billion buyout and reached such levels of popularity that it even led to kidnappings of that breed of dogs, called pugs.

And now come those nutty and entirely endearing little men in white, called Zoozoos created by the agency O&M for Vodafone, one of the main broadcast sponsors of the Indian Premier League. They are wowing audiences, and ZooZoo merchandise, bags, keychains, T-shirts will be available soon.

Fans on Facebook are rising by the day. “Day before it was 8,000, yesterday I am told there were 14,000 fans,” says Mr Harit Nagpal, Marketing & New Business Director, Vodafone Essar. It crossed 28,000 on Thursday.

Going the whole way

“When you are spending four months’ advertising spend over one month you might as well make the most of the high, non-repetitive viewership,” says Mr Nagpal. Instead of the traditional repeated ads, Vodafone decided to launch a new film everyday during the league. “There were two barriers to that, one was continuity, the other the cost of producing so many films,” says Mr Nagpal.

In about 10 days, O&M completed the campaign shooting two-three films a day, each selling a product or a service offered by Vodafone. A dozen more films are expected as the league progresses.

The characters, which look like distant cousins of the Pillsbury dough boy, were enacted by professional ballet artists in white body suits. “What makes them so endearing is that they are innocent people living in a simple world unlike ours, who laugh loud when they laugh. And who seem to be in an in-between world of animation and reality,” said Mr Rajiv Rao, Executive Creative Director, O&M.

The strategy is generating a buzz that lives up to the brand’s image of great creatives and clever marketing. The company spends about Rs 250 crore on advertising across mediums according to industry sources.

“In the first ten days IPL has, despite a few matches being washed out by the rains, reached a cumulative 89 million people, higher than the 70 million last year,” says Mr Nagpal. He would not comment on the role of the ZooZoos after the IPL.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 1, 2009)
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