The pandemic has taken over our real lives and on most days, a digital connection is all we have with the outside world. While that may sound like a good thing, some brands think otherwise. OnePlus has created an ad to highlight why we need to go on a digital detox right now the most. Yes, the brand that wants to sell you a smartphone is telling you how you should use it less in its latest advertising in as many (make that many many) words featuring Kalki Koechlin. The ad also showcases the OnePlus 8T’s video shooting ability.
An almost two and a half minute long ad, “Stop at Nothing” features Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin and her spoken word poetry that puts a lot of emphasis on how one needs to take time to disconnect and use the technology around one to connect, create and communicate. The ad starts with text on the screen that reads, “Stop at Nothing”, “Written by Kalki Koechlin”, “Shot on OnePlus”. The visuals are basically of artist’s with a lot of visual effects while she recites her spoken word poetry.
The first part of the poem talks about how we use our phones to keep ourselves distracted and how this ends up making us anxious. The second bit of the verse talks about how there is pressure to stay active and how there is a lot of hate out there and you have to deal with it. Then she goes on about how this machine in one’s hand can actually do more good if put to the right use.
Irony dies. A thousand tiny deaths.
We are here to mourn the death of beloved irony.
Which dies on multiple occasions in these two and a half minutes.
Imagine a television brand ad telling you to stop watching television so much and how reading is better. Or a car ad that suggests you leave your car behind every other day and take a walk or use public transport because it is good for you and the environment. We get that the sentiment or the intention behind these kinds of ads might be noble, but it does seem to make very little sense, as the same brand is literally trying to make a living out of selling you this product or service it is asking you NOT to use.
This is not the first time we are seeing a brand get into preaching mode. Brands like Nokia, Motorola have tried taking up a similar approach to but what we cannot seem to understand is the goal here – what are they aiming to achieve? You literally are advertising a phone and telling people that they need to digitally disconnect?
Celeb trap: All Kalki and little OnePlus makes for an odd ad
Even if we look past this, and see this as OnePlus tapping into the potential of the brand’s equity and taking the moral high ground, the fact is that even then, the ad does not really showcase OnePlus. The ad is all about the artist, Kalki Koechlin. Aside from the little “Shot on OnePlus” and ‘Zen mode’ party trick, the ad does not even say anything about the phone or the brand or show anything even remotely related to the product. If anything it vilifies all things digital for the major part. And then tries to rescue people from the burning building, that the ad itself sprayed gasoline on in the first place.
Time and again we have mentioned how featuring celebrities can actually go either way if the ad does not hero the product or brand very well. And that is exactly what has happened here. The poetry is strong, bold, and beautiful and so is Koechlin’s performance but how any of this does any good to OnePlus is a little beyond our imagination. It is basically Koechlin’s ad where she shares her spoken word poetry with the world, that is shot on a OnePlus.
Also, for a smartphone that takes pride in being super smooth and lag-free, the ad had a lot of glitch-like visual effects which some might see as being super stylish, but we think is so ironic because it is literally one thing you would not want people to associate with your phone or brand. We get that some might derive aesthetic pleasure out of it but if you really think about it, it is actually the exact opposite of what you wish to see in a ‘smooth’ and ‘ultra-fast’ smartphone’s ad.
OnePlus, kindly stop literally at nothing!
When it comes to advertising, OnePlus has had a bit of a mixed track record. The brand has created some really off-topic ads that have time and again seemingly not tried to highlight the very product they were trying to sell. And guess what? Unfortunately, “Stop at Nothing” has not put a full stop to this streak.
OnePlus has been in the advertising field for a while now and we think it is time the brand started delivering ads that actually helped it do what ads are supposed to do– help it sell the product! We have seen ads that seem to talk of bringing families together, the strength of community, and even the benefits of martial arts (Robert Downey Jr. helped) but we really feel that it is time the products took center stage here.
OnePlus has brilliant products and it is such a shame to see all that serious product brilliance being bundled with ads that so often seem to ignore it altogether! If OnePlus is planning to create similar ads in the coming days, we have a tiny request— literally, kindly ‘stop at nothing.’