My favourite ad is Hutch network campaign, says Mindshare's Ajay Mehta

Topics Vodafone

A screenshot from Hutch's advertisement
Which is your favourite campaign and why?

Honestly, it is difficult to choose. But if you ask me to pick one among some of the best, it will be one which has a great deal of stickiness and has worked well for the brand too. It was the Hutch network campaign with the pug in it. It terms of simplicity and breaking the clutter, that network works the best for me. The visual perspective with the pug analogy to depict the network and its reach is also great.

At a time when all network players were attracting their viewers' attention through tactical communication about tariff games etc, Vodafone came out with a very differentiated kind of offering. Even the track in that communication which says "wherever you go, our network follows" made it a package with immense recall value, something like the Fevicol ads are known to be. So lot of people come with messaging which is more in your face kind but this was more creatively and innovatively done.

On what parameters did you base your decision?

Like I said purely the simplicity in the communication and the message it delivers and the never seen before analogy of a kid and a pug in their own world. It cuts across all genres and appeals to all age groups — from kids to senior citizens.

What do you think was the key idea the campaign was trying to drive home?

The one idea was the network superiority of Hutch (now Vodafone) at that time. This one has given a very emotional, interesting spin to a very functional attribute.

Sometimes because of the emotional element in a campaign, there is greater recall for the story than the product or service advertised. Do you feel this campaign suffered because of that in any way?

Anything that's emotional cuts it and it is relatable from a consumer standpoint. So if there is no emotion in a particular piece, you and I won't recall it. And again why I remember this even after 15 years is because it touched a chord somewhere. But coming to the question of being overpowering, not only in the TVC but in the whole 360-degree communication which used all the media available in the day, the pug was used to depict the network. Now people struggle to create characters for their brands and out of the blue came this cute looking pug. So the messaging was conveyed in such a simple form that the communication enhanced the message for the audience to understand a complex attribute such as network.

Did the campaign win any awards? Do you think advertising awards serve any purpose?

Of course, the campaign won a lot of awards for the client and the agency but for me the biggest win for a campaign like this is when even after so long, when you and I sit at our homes talking to friends or relatives and they still talk about the campaign, it’s a bigger win that winning an Abby. So the real win was the client took a risk with dog as a metaphor and left a lasting impression. Having said that, winning awards is a way to say that your work is also worth it and that the industry is recognising it. With well-known people and the market judging your work and it emerging a winner, it is a pat on the back for everyone involved. In those days when the social media was not that big, the campaign was talked about so much for not only the awards but for its quality. 

What else could have been done to make the campaign better?

Nothing. If you ask anyone in the world that any Indian telecom brand you remember because of a campaign, they are likely to say this one hands down.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel