The IPL season is here again but it is not just carnival time for cricket fans. It is the time of the year where various tech companies make the most out of the crazy coverage that these matches receive. Many of the companies sponsor such events while others sponsor the teams. Motorola which has recently added two new devices to the G family has also sponsored one of the IPL cricket teams, the Rising Pune Supergiant. And the company is trying the squeeze out every bit of value in terms of marketing it can from the investment. We not only see the company’s branding on the team’s jersey, Moto has also launched a series of new ads around its very own IPL team starring its players. But is this going to be a hard hit home run for the brand or will the three ads strike the company out? Let’s find out…
The ads: Differently Better is the theme
There are three ads in the series and all the three revolve around the same concept: Different does things better. The three ads, “Different performs better with Moto and the Rising Pune Supergiant team”, “Different captures better with Moto and the Rising Pune Supergiant team” and “Different shoots better Moto and the Rising Pune Supergiant team” are all very brief ads. The longest one out of the lot is 22 seconds in duration.
In the entire series, the company has tried to show how the G5 Plus can do things in a different and better way. All the three ads start with the same Hello Moto signature tune but try to push out different plus points of the phone. “Different performs better” shows one of the cricketers (Steve Smith) playing a high-end game on the smartphone with other players around him looking on. Seems routine? Well, after a while, the camera zooms out and shows Smith handling the game with one hand and playing keep uppy with a bat and ball with his other hand.
“Different captures better” shows two players trying to surprise a player reading a newspaper, and taking his picture for good measure. One of the player bowls while the other one hits the ball towards the player engrossed in the newspaper (none other than MS Dhoni). But instead of getting surprised or even shocked, Dhoni nonchalantly catches the ball without even looking, even as his picture is taken.
“Different shoots better” again has three players. The first comes in to drink water from a bottle, the second one sets up the G5 Plus’ camera and nudges the third one (MS Dhoni again) to hit the bottle with a ball. Dhoni hits the water bottle with the ball as soon as the first player puts it down, and the bottle falls directly into a basket kept on the ground. All this is captured by the second player on the phone.
What we think: More cricket-y than phone-y
While Moto has not been consistent with the length of the ads (not that it really matters), it has paid attention to a lot of small details in the three ads. All the three ads are very well synchronized and one can easily make out that they are a part of the same series. And although all of the ads are a part of the same campaign, the fact that each one can be aired alone also adds another plus in Motorola’s scorecard.
All three ads are pleasant and colorful and have the same background music. We also noticed how the company had just used three players in each ad and has not crowded the frame with way too many personalities, pretty much justifying the demands of the screenplay. But unfortunately, this is the place where we think all the good things end.
Moto has been previously very clever with the Moto Z and the Moto Mods ad and we really loved that ad for its simple approach with a subtle touch of humor but we think the company somehow lost that in these IPL ads.
While Motorola has really tried very hard to make the most out of its IPL team, we think the whole idea of having cricketers and how they are doing things in the ads took over and steered the ad in a different direction. We think the ad which should have been about the phone ended up being more about the cricketers and while it is not such a bad thing, considering the love for cricket in the country, we do not think it helped the company as a brand or the phone as a product.
There was no copy (yes, there is zero dialogue in the ads) and it is always very difficult to put a point across without this – another factor which made the ads a lost cause. We do not think, the ad highlighted the phone well enough or delivered the message.
Motorola clearly wanted to show how the G5 Plus is different and how “different is better” but we think the difference was just in the titles of the ads. How the phone did things differently or what the results were was not really pushed across. Out of the three we think, the performance ad was the best one for the simple reason that it showed how well the phone performs and how easily one can handle it (even while tapping at a ball) whereas the other ads did have the phone for a while in the frame but we think all the other things that were happening around really drove the attention away from the phone – we were not even shown close ups of the pictures the phone allegedly took (which sort of defeats the purpose of highlighting the camera).
Verdict: Clean bowled by the IPL, not Moto!
In the past we have loved how bubbly, colorful and “different” the Moto ads have been and have appreciated the way in which the company generally pushes its message across but we think that element was missing in this series of ads. The company had celebrity faces, a high-profile tournament and a theme around which things were built but we did not really feel as if the dots were being connected. There was an undertone of humorous appeal that we think failed to hit the mark, and the series in general really did not justify the purpose of its existence. Which was (duh!) highlighting the phone. We think because of the ads, people might connect to the Rising Pune Supergiant as a team but connect to Moto? Not so much.
Yes, the ad shows a different approach from Moto – celebrities, cricket, no copy and hey, not a single reference to a tech spec (how cool is that!). Different may perform better, may capture better and may shoot better, but it certainly did not feel better, in the strict ad sense. We actually prefer the non-cricket Moto G5 ads, thank you very much.