In 2008, Vodafone had unveiled its Happy to Help series during the first season of the Indian Premier League (IPL). In the second season, Vodafone has given birth to ZooZoo a special character created specifically to convey value added service (VAS) What’s interesting is that there are some 25 such commercials planned under this campaign, 10 of which are already on air. The aim is to release approximately one ad a day to sustain interest till the end of the IPL.
It’s no mean feat to unleash so many commercials at a go, with the risk of consumers not grasping them as fast as the brand churns them out.Explains Harit Nagpal, chief marketing officer Vodafone India
We’re acquiring customers at a very fast pace, but a large number of them are unaware of the range of services we offer. I mean, phone backup, which we’re advertising now, was launched two years ago, for instance!
Six months ago, Vodafone briefed its agency, Ogilvy India to create uncommon characters – a common thread to link the ads in the campaign together. Rajiv Rao, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy India, tells that the only starting point for the team was that the character had to be simple to a stupefying level. And thus, the Zoozoo was born.
The idea is to tell the VAS stories in a world akin to, yet different, from humans. The creatures were then given a characterization. They are to lead simple lives, speak a language of their own (something that sounds like gibberish), move in a certain way, and even emote like human beings, with big frowns or big grins to do the trick. The execution is almost like emoticons. “We even limited the number of emotions to be used, to keep things easy,” says Rao.
A completely Indian concept, Rao lent these characters a name: the Zoozoos. There’s no science to it, he explains – the name just had to be something fun, memorable and catchy, and not a clever one that’s difficult to pronounce. Ironically, nowhere in the communication does the Zoozoo name pop up, but Rao doesn’t feel that’s much of a problem: it wasn’t a task to popularize the name in the first place.
Currently, some10 films are on air, for service offerings such as Cricket Alerts, Beauty Alerts, Phone Backup, the IPL Contest 1, the IPL Contest 2, Chhota Credit, Vodafone Maps, Vodafone Call Filter, Live Games and Musical Greetings. Each film, shot against a Grey backdrop, has these characters interacting with one another (some story lines even have Zoozoo families) with the product story weaved in.
For instance, the Phone Backup ad (the first in the series) has several Zoozoos lined up to have their faces photocopied through a photocopier, while a tetris towards the end (the messenger in all the ads) announces how Vodafone allows for creating a phonebook backup.