Friday, 5 June 2009

Zoozooz Mania

Zoozooz - a character with big egg-shaped head with scrawny legs and thin body, looks like an alien, speaks a completely gibbrish language that appear in TV ads for Vodafone and have become all the rage in India.

Vodafone wanted to promote it's value added services and for that it wanted a charcter to form a link between their various ads. And hence, Zoozoo was created. Their movements, body language, emotions, gestures are all human like. The idea was to create a wrold which is very similar to humans yet very different.

 Zoozoo is definitely anthropomorphic, and was created by the creative team at Ogilvy and Mather (O&M) India.

Vodafone differentiates itself from other telecom operators through its value added services 

(VAS) and it wanted to educate the customers about it. Traditional commercial with adults to stress on the VAS didn’t appeal much although communicated the message very well.  ZooZoo ads by O&M - simply did the job of communicating the various VAS in a fascinating way. We can say they are simply the best.

So much so that the company’s launched to air 30 different commercials featuring the Zoozoos during the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) Twenty20 cricket series seems like a strategic masterstroke, although it is likely to come as a surprise to viewers that the ads aren’t animated—there are really people inside those Zoozoo costumes.

Zoozooz had thin limbs, contrasted with big bellies and a bulbous head, all add to the illusion that these creatures are ‘smaller’ than humans. Though the fact is that all the adult actors were used for shooting of these ads instead of the kids which would have been the perfect fit. So to make Zoozooz look small in size, big sets were created. Cinematically size was the trick. To make the Zoozooz look smaller, the speed of shooting was altered and the ads were shot in a high-speed format.

The stories told in 30 commercials are great. The greatest part about them is that Vodafone related these stories with the service they were promoting in a very intelligent way which made up for an intelligent advertising. Certainly better than those stupid commercials whose storyline has nothing to do with the product they are promoting.

  • Zoozooz were meant to endorse the value added services of Vodafone and they did that quite well.
  • Each of the 30 ads will promote a different value-added service on offer by Vodafone, from maps to stock alerts.
  • Several characters were drawn up and considered by executive creative director (South Asia) Rajiv Rao and his team at O&M India, before they settled in on Zoozoo.
  • With approximately 300 seconds of media being spent each day (on IPL), vodaphone had figure out a way to communicate as many services as possible in a way that would not cheese off the customer.

Zoozooz - a unique character that would always be memorable… somewhat alien and yet, very human. Created a big audience and open up a big market. Everyone would be talking about Zoozoo. People are crazy about Zoozoo these days. But some of the big questions are

  • How long Zoozoo is able to maintain this Zoozoo Mania?
  • How long this craze will stay?

In all the hype about the Zoozooz, the actual reason about their existence seems to be in a wilderness. They have overpowered the brand itself. This is because Zoozooz have themselves become a brand now.

It will also be interesting to see how Vodafone uses Zoozoo in the future. They have released 30 advertisements at a stretch. Zoozooz were meant to endorse VAS, but now it’s almost definite that they will get promoted to become full scale brand endorsers of the company. But how much Vodafone will be able to keep it’s identity in front of Zoozoo which has suddenly overpowered the brand itself.

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