It is raining cats and dogs and ads. Well, if not everywhere (definitely not in the Indian capital, where we could do with rain), this definitely is the case when it comes to Vivo India. The Chinese company that recently roped in Bollywood’s Mr. Perfectionist, Aamir Khan, as its brand ambassador has launched a series of ads for its newly launched Vivo V9. And of course, Aamir Khan features in them. But believe it or not, he is not the star. There is plenty of competition for him in there and not just from the phone he is endorsing.
The three Vivo Musketeers
The three ads, titled, “Bokeh Mode”, “Shot Refocus with Dual Rear Camera” and “Bokeh Mode” are all 31-second ads. In the first ad, Aamir Khan walks into his home and gets shocked to see it all messed up. He then looks at his cat and dog, both of which are sitting innocently on the floor after a heavy duty day at work (even creating mess takes a lot of effort, after all). Suddenly a message pops up on Khan’s Vivo V9, reading, “Are they behaving themselves?” Thinking right on his feet, Khan takes out his smartphone, points it at the dog and cat, and using Bokeh mode on the smartphone, blurs out all the mess in the background, only keeping the two very disciplined furry kinds in focus. He sends it across with a caption saying, “Of course”. A message then appears on the screen which reads, “Great portraits under any condition.” Followed by a voiceover and text on the screen saying “Bokeh mode with dual rear cameras. Vivo V9”. The ad ends with IPL and Vivo logo.
The second ad in the series, “Shot Refocus with Dual Rear Camera”, starts with Khan sitting in the middle of a couch with his dog on one side, the cat on another and with his phone in his hand. In an already taken a picture of his cat and dog, he first shifts the focus to his dog, blurring out the cat, shows the picture to the dog and tells him that he loves him so much, complete with air kisses. Of course, the dog is overcome with joy and starts licking Khan’s hand. Aamir then moves the focus to the cat and blurs out the dog. He then shows the picture to the cat and repeats the routine (oh yes, the air kisses too). Cue hand licking from happy cat also. As he repeats the process, words on the screen appear: “ Change focus even after you shoot.” This is again followed by a voice-over and text on the screen saying, “Shot Refocus with Dual Rear Cameras. Vivo V9” and the ad ends with IPL and Vivo logo.
The third ad, “Bokeh Mode, Vivo V9”, begins with the cat and dog both growling at each other, even as Khan walks in the room. He looks at his Vivo V9, gets a couple of candles, places them in front of the dog and cat, turns on the bokeh mode on the smartphone, blurs out everything except for the two furry friends and the candles, and takes a picture. He then puts a caption on the picture, “Look who’s enjoying a romantic evening” and then posts it on his Facebook (aha, he has clearly not deleted Facebook!!). As he smiles, text on the screen appears saying, “Focus only on what’s beautiful”. And yes, the voiceover with text pops on the screen saying, “Bokeh Mode with Dual Rear Cameras” followed by the IPL and company’s logo.
No fault in our stars: the right mix of everything
Ads have a love-hate relationship with celebrity endorsements, we feel. No matter how much companies may believe that celebrity faces can sell products, this mantra is often unsuccessful, especially when it comes to smartphones (ironically Samsung attained smartphone supremacy after it dropped a certain Aamir Khan as brand ambassador, remember?). And one of the major reasons for this is the fact that celebrities often end up getting more attention than the product they are trying to endorse. Our Law of Celebrity Endorsement reads: “The chance of a person in an ad getting more attention as compared to the product in it is directly proportional to how big a celebrity the person is.”
Now, when it comes to Bollywood, there are many who believe that Aamir Khan is in a zone of his own. So when it comes to a superstar like him, for most people, it would be a no-brainer to think that all eyes and attention would be on him, rather than the product. But that is not the case with Vivo V9’s ad campaign. In the three ads that the company has released for its flagship, the company has managed to keep the product and its key highlight in the spotlight. Yes, Aamir Khan is present in all three ads, but unlike many other celebrity-driven ads, these have Aamir Khan in the supporting role while the phone leads the way – all three ads focus on functionality and features of the Vivo V9 instead of going gaga over Khan. In each case, Khan just uses the phone. He does not speak too much (he is totally silent in two of the three ads, and only makes petting sounds in the third).
We also really liked the plot of all the three ads. The storyline in each ad was very clever, full of gentle humor, and was all about the product’s USPs. All the ads showed how easy and useful the features of the product are, and did so in a manner which was entertaining, which is exactly what an ad is supposed to do.
Time and again we have appreciated Apple for its attention to detail and in this campaign we think, Vivo has taken a page or two off Apple’s ad book. All the three ads were precisely 31 seconds long. Not only this, to maintain continuity, the company also very smartly concluded all the three ads in the same way – a text appears on the screen with Aamir on the side, then a voiceover and text take over the screen, topped off with IPL and the company’s logo.
All the three ads possess our three favorite advertising Ss’ – they are simple, short and straightforward. There is no confusing element in the ads, all of them serve their purpose are not at all complicated and are just long and entertaining enough to make you smile and put the Vivo V9’s image in your head.
All the three ads are a part of the campaign and have a lot of things that build continuity. But because each ad highlights a feature of the device using a different idea, the company can easily use each on its own, and no one will miss the siblings.
We also love the subtlety of the ads – one of them is even remotely loud. They are not flashy, do not bombard your head with details about the product, show celebrity stunts in overdrive, and do not hard sell the product like it is a fish in an overcrowded fish market but let the information slide in easily. The company has taken a piece out of everyday life and has very easily created a space for its product, which is commendable. And we really like the use of background music. It is not constantly there but pops up at the right time to add more entertainment to these ads.
Viva, Vivo: Such ads, much wow!
Vivo that has created its fair share of flashy, celebrity-focused product ads, so seeing such well thought out and intelligently created ads, come as a breath of pleasantly fresh air. The company has chosen a very high profile brand ambassador but has still kept the spotlight shining on its product, the Vivo V9. Not just this, the ads are entertaining, clever and relatable which are all huge positives. We love the understated manner in which Aamir Khan and the cat and dog have been used. Each has their own attraction and yet they all combine to highlight the product – awesome never blended better with awwwsome. In fact, many people ended up remembering the cat, dog, and phone more than the superstar endorsing the device. Now, THAT’s being a secret superstar.
Cat, dog, and product: 1
(Not that he would mind)