The Zoozoos clearly seem to be the flavour of the season... a favourite amongst the ad fraternity and are a hit across age groups going by people's reactions and general buzz on the blogosphere. Welcome to the world of the Zoozoos!!!
Please read my blogs: "Here comes the Zoozoos!!!" and "The Making of the 'Zoozoos'!!!" to know more about these adorable alien-like creatures currently invading our TV screens (and our lives) during the IPL season 2 cricket matches.
In the past, too, 'Orange' and then 'Hutch' (the earlier avatars of 'Vodafone' in India) had made use of characters - an animated boy-girl duo - to whip up its value added service (VAS) offerings before consumers. But those characters were limited by their definition, unlike the Zoozoos, where an entire world of such characters has been etched. Zoozoos come in all shapes and sizes; kids, mother, friends, individuals… other characters... there does not seem to be a set format to use them.
Zoozoos storming the digital world! In the digital space, Zoozoos are currently featured on a specially created microsite - here, one can partake in quizzes and contests, including the "What kind of Zoozoo are you?" quiz. Each Zoozoo has a unique set of characteristics and traits allotted to it. The microsite also allows for goodies to be downloaded (including wallpapers, screensavers and ringtones), and offers details on the IPL. With a specially created YouTube channel on the site, the TVCs are provided there for people to watch and share.
Apart from the microsite, a Zoozoo fan page has been created on Facebook, where fans have access to special tag-me images, Zoozoo sounds (such as Zoozoo laughter and music tracks) and ad previews. Their fan page on Facebook has more than 35,000 fans now!!! People are also following Zoozoos on Twitter and get updates whenever new commercials go on air.
On the Zoozoos Facebook page, people can view new commercials, download images and wallpapers, and participate in a "What kind of Zoozoo are you?" contest. In the pipeline are a spot, titled "A day in the life of Zoozoo" on Twitter, and merchandise such as key-chains, mugs, T-shirts, and mobile phone stands. These folks will even beat the SRK marketing team by miles... when it comes to selling merchandise!!! What say?!!
Zoozoo ads are fast becoming popular on YouTube, and on certain days some of the videos even managed to figure among the most watched lot on the site, claims Harit Nagpal, Chief Marketing Officer, Vodafone India.
Know what kind of Zoozoo are you??? Take the Zoozoo quiz now! http://www.vodafone.in/ipl09/zoozoo.aspx
Some feel that the Zoozoos could well become a part of the brand story, instead of just being used for this VAS oriented campaign. But this comes with a warning tag: one has to be careful about letting the Zoozoos become bigger than the brand or the message. "Vodafone shouldn't get stuck with a format," says Brijesh Jacob, Managing Partner, White Canvas. "They did suffer this to a certain extent with the pug."
The 'pug' campaign (by Hutch) was iconic, and the Pug was very cute and adorable... na??? It also shot up the popularity of the pugs (and turned them into celebrities) among dog owners... a la that of the PWD after the most powerful man on the planet gifted one to his daughters! By PWD I mean the Portuguese Water Dog and not the Public Works Department!!! The Public Works Department, being a part of the government is closer to God... Why (???)... Haven't you heard "Government's work is God's work!!" (???) This pearl of wisdom can be found etched on a board outside the Vidhana Soudha, which is the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka and located in Bangalore (Bengaluru).
I also understand that of late the most powerful man on this planet, occupying the most expensive piece of real estate in the US of A has turned into an ardent animal lover and has publicly declared his preference for or rather his love for the 'majestic' buffalo... Moooo!!!!!
The iconic 'pug ads' (by Hutch) were masterpieces by themselves, with the tagline, "Wherever you go, our network follows." Cheeka (some say, Figaro) is the famous pug who appeared in the "You & I" advertising campaign of Hutch's cellular service in India, along with the child actor Jayaram. The dog follows the boy around in unlikely locations, prompting the tagline, "Wherever you go, our network follows." I remember the standard joke among my friends (with a Hutch connection)... whenever there was a connectivity issue or a network problem... we would unanimously say, "The pug is injured!" Ha Ha!!
Here is a link containing the video of one of these iconic 'pug' ads. The pug here is Cheeka/Figaro: http://vodpod.com/watch/658813-hutch-wherever-you-go-our-network-follows
A while ago, Cheeka/Figaro, handed over his modelling mantle to his son - Spike... hmmm talk about 'dynastic' succession!!! Since Hutch became Vodafone, Figaro's place has been taken by Spike, who stays in Bangalore... this was before the advent of the Zoozoos of course. Cheeka/Figaro lives in Gurgaon with his owner Mohit Gulati who had bought Figaro in the Philippines. The pedigreed Pug's father is from Australia and grandfather from Britain. Figaro was such a hit that his breed (a dwarf breed resembling a bulldog, the Pug has a flat nose and a wrinkled face) suddenly became one of the most popular in the country - selling for up to Rs 60,000 a pup! Figaro has won over a hundred awards. He has been named Asia's best Pug apart from winning the Indian title for three years. According to Gulati, Figaro got Rs 12,000 for the Hutch ad. Spike, on the other hand, got Rs 2 lakh for the Vodafone commercial. Truely a Hutchi-son enterprise!!! About the huge disparity in their respective remunerations (??)... ummm... must be the 'inflation'!!! Figaro has also appeared in a Microsoft ad. Gulati said a Kerala-based trader had once offered him Rs 12 lakh for Cheeka/Figaro - needless to say, he declined the offer. Smart, huh!!!
Here is the link containing the video of the 'Pug' ad, once 'Hutch' became 'Vodafone'. The pug here is Cheeka/Figaro's son - Spike. The tagline says, "Hutch is now Vodafone." Brilliant!!! http://vodpod.com/watch/658817-hutch-is-now-vodafone
Here is the link to yet another ad showing the transition from 'Hutch' to 'Vodafone'. Thats Spike again! http://vodpod.com/watch/599162-hutch-vodafone-india-ad?mp=1&pod=vodafoneads
Following is the Vodafone - "Happy to Help" video: http://vodpod.com/watch/658468-vodafone-happy-to-help?mp=1&pod=vodafoneads
That was Spike... yet again! Like father, like son!!!
Incidentally, the same combination of people also worked on the "Happy to Help" series last year, teamed up for the 'Zoozoo' ads as well. The films were shot by Nirvana Films in Cape Town, South Africa, with the help of a local production house there, called Platypus. When asked whether Cape Town is fast becoming a tourist spot for Vodafone and Nirvana, Prakash Varma, director at Nirvana Films, laughs, saying, "Oh no! It's just that we are very comfortable with the team there and know what sort of work to expect from them."
I found a link containing the videos of most of the Zoozoo ads and feel like to share it here: http://soumyadipc.blogspot.com/2009/05/vodafone-zoozoo-ads-complete-collection.html
However Mahesh Murthy, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pinstorm, a digital agency, sounds a word of caution. "While their media strategy to blast these ads during IPL has worked for the brand, the downside is that the characters are bigger than the story being sold. People have a limited capacity to remember features, so it may have worked to release the ads in a phased manner rather than hammer them out one after the other."
The Zoozoos are a rage now. We are not complaining!!!
Photographs courtesy: http://www.bollyadda.com/2009/04/zoozoo-wallpapers-zoo-zoo-wallpapers.html and Wikipedia.
Photographs: (in clockwise order)
1. Zoozoo wallpaper from the new Vodafone ads.
2. A picture of the classic Hutch ad - with the iconic tagline, "Wherever you go our network follows."
3. Another Zoozoo wallpaper from the new Vodafone ads.