Max, Lola Kutty, KBC 2

What pulls a viewer towards a particular show or channel? In all likelihood, it's the hype built via publicity and promotions around the show. Right from interesting on-air promos to the teaser outdoor campaign to viral marketing and human banners - today there are no dearth of options available when it comes to promoting a show. These promos familiarise viewers to programmes and channels and are sometimes claimed to be even more exciting than the programming itself.

Moreover, the trend that was seen last year was that paid for advertising commercial time on television saw a drop, whereas promo time went up by leaps and bounds. Hence channels are putting more energy and moolah behind promoting their own shows at the cost of advertising revenues. The ultimate aim - to garner maximum eyeballs.

It is keeping this scenario in mind that introduces a new section Promo Power.

Promo Power will take an in depth look into: Which are the best promos? What goes behind each one's making? What is the idea behind the promo? What were the the techniques used?

Promo Power will give you the best promos on TV as selected by an advertising professional as too the reasoning behind the choices. This will be buttressed by insights from each promo's creator in the same article. So stay tuned in.


Euro RSCG vice president, creative Ashok Karnik

In the first of the series on Promo Power we have Euro RSCG vice president, creative Ashok Karnik giving us his views on the Top Three on-air promos of his choice. Karnik is the man behind the memorable Max Rangoli ad wherein we saw a traditionally dressed South Indian woman replacing Sanskrit words with the names of cricket stars while drawing a rangoli in the form of a cricket pitch.

Says Karnik: "Firstly, let me tell you honestly that there aren't too many interesting on-air promos for any shows or channels you see. But what comes to mind easily are our Max promos (that's because we have done them, he says jokingly). Apart from that there are a couple of them that come to mind."

One of the three on his favourite list is the KBC 2 promo where we see a robbery in Chaudhary's house. "It's a rap, which ended with the lines: Don't lose hope is the moral of the story. Also there were others in that series - a cricketer, an actor and a music director. All these people were shown as losers. And finally in the promos it said -- Hot seat pe milega bhaiyya umeed se dugna."

Don't lose hope is the moral of the story! 'KBC2' Cricketer on-air promo with Bachchan


Here's presenting Mr Vijay Nazare... The rising star of the cricketing world!


He's never hit a boundary in his life


And there's no place for him in the team! If he enters the ground, it's with the drinks trolley


He saw all the matches sitting in the pavilion but he never gave up hope! One day while doing jharu-pocha....


Coach ne poocha - "Ever thought of being an umpire?" The rest as they say is history...


Aaj bhi hai padke ummed ki dori... Don't lose hope is the moral of the story!!

"These promos really stood out in the clutter of commercials. Firstly, they were long in duration. Perhaps 45 seconds. For the first time we heard Mr Bachchan rapping. It was highly entertaining. Thankfully they didn't show Mr Bachchan as a central character. The objective was to communicate that the most popular quiz show was back again. The promise of 'Umeed se dugna' was not only relevant to the participant but also to the viewer."

According to industry estimates, the cost of making the three TVCs for KBC 2 with the actor, cricketer and musician was in the region of Rs 3 - 4 million.

The creative brain behind the TVCs, Ogilvy & Mather senior creative director Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar said, "The real challenge while making the promos for KBC 2 was to make the show more successful than the first time round. We had to provide something different and interesting to the viewers as the show and the anchor (Amitabh Bachchan) were the same."

"The entire premise of the show was based on the hope factor and that's when we zeroed in on the strugglers in day to day life. The fact remains that there are more strugglers in the world than winners and hence we picked up people from different walks of life, who had a zest to make it big in life," said Mahabaleshwarkar.

The promos took about one and a half to two months to shoot and were directed by Rajesh Krishnan. "The transition from the outdoor location to the studio in the promos was seamlessly done and that was the beauty of it," added Mahabaleshwarkar.

Another interesting aspect of these promos was that initially, the channel and the agency wanted Bachchan to play the roles of the actor, musician and cricketer but the idea was to use him smartly in the promos and hence he was then used as a guest in the promos. Also the names of the characters in the TVCs are Vijay - Vijay Hazare (cricketer), Vijay Kumar (actor) and Vijoy Da (musician).

Not that it was a coincidence. It's no secret that in most of his earlier movies, Bachchan's character name was Vijay. Remember - Vijay Deenanath Chauhan (Agneepath), Inspector Vijay Khanna (Zanjeer), Vijay Kumar Srivastava (Shahenshah), Vijay Pal Singh (Kaala Patthar), Vijay (Don), Vijay Singh Rajput (Aankhen) and the list goes on...


Please Stand Up!!!!

The effervescent Lola Kutty of Channel [V]

The second on his list is none other than the promos around Channel [V]'s South Indian dame Lola Kutty. "Channel [V] has been doing some interesting promos too. For a music channel it is very challenging to get in the eyeballs or to retain viewership. Because they show film music or videos that they don't own. You can watch them on any music channel. Hence they have to create a difference through what is shown in-between the videos. For example my favourite is the Lola Kutty TV promos," Karnik opines.

According to him what fascinates him most about the Lola Kutty promos is the fact that the character of Lola Kutty is so real and funny at the same time that you can't help but watch her promos. "But historically Channel [V] has created such characters like Udham Singh or Quick Gun Murugun. I think everyone remembers them even today. Interesting part about these is that more often than not viewers came to watch them instead of the songs. And that's the differentiator. That is what creates the attitude and the personality of the channel," Karnik says.

Channel [V]'s Lola Kutty 'stands up' a la Eminem in this on-air promo


Lola Kutty puts Eminem to shame when she raps on "I'm Slim Shady!"


Here's Lola Kutty's version of the song for you...


May I harv yorr adinshen, please. May I harv yorr adinshen please! I ahm Lola Kutty, And yes, I ahm the real Kuddy...


And you other Lola Kuddies arr jusd eemitatin', So won'd the real Lola Kuddy, Please Stahnd Ub, Please Stahnd Up!

To talk a bit more on the ever-so-talkative Lola Kutty, the most amazing thing about the Channel [V] resident beauty-on-duty is that what you see is what you get. Lola is the official 'spoofed' music video censor board for Channel [V].

Here's what Channel [V] head honcho Amar K Deb has to say about the effervescent Lola and the thought behind the promos made on her. "The promo showcases Lola Kutty in a manner that was prevalent in the lone DD days when one got to read sign messages like 'rukawat ke liye khed hai' or 'sorry for the interruption.' We have given that whole idea a humourous twist and her promos are a spoof on those state run television days. Lola has a whacky and crazy sense of humour and at the end of the day, it's all about a great idea," Deb reveals.

The Lola Kutty promos were made by the Channel [V] in-house creative team. When queried as to what goes behind creating a promo, Deb highlights, "The idea has to be so strong that it has the power to dictate the creative and ultimately the success of the promo."

Not venturing into the moolah that goes behind making one-such promo, Deb however said that a channel may not spend as much as a Rupee on a particular promo and sometimes end up spending in excess of Rs 5 million. "It really depends on the idea. But I can surely say that most of the Channel [V] promos that have worked for us have been made extremely cheap."


Moving on to the third promo on Karnik's list, it is none other than a promo made by Euro RSCG for Max. The promo was around the Australia versus the World XI cricket matches held in September last year. Here's what Karnik has to say about it…

Before the Australia vs The World XI cricket matches last September, Euro RSCG created very interesting on-air spots for Max. Four commercials were created around the theme of "How to beat Australia." The films were named: 'Kelawala', 'Nagging wife', 'Dhobi ghat' and 'Bhai'.

"These four promos done for Max, were not dependent on any techniques because the script didn't demand any. They were simple scripts depending largely on performance. Hence casting was very crucial. We used theatre actors and the characters looked real. Directors Amit and Aliya of Chrome Films did a good job," said Karnik.

It had ordinary people giving ideas to beat the Australian team in a very funny and honest manner. We avoided showing any cricket props or actions. The situations of all the spots were very real. You will see those characters and the situations if you looked out of your window. The campaign theme was extended to a contest asking people to send ideas for 'How to beat Australia.' This was done to basically reinforce the channel promise of 'Deewana Bana De'.

Max vice president on-air promos Avanish Agrawal says, "The idea was to arouse interest among viewers. One major thing to keep in mind was that India was not playing as it was Australia versus the World XI. We thought of the best way to arouse interest was to involve the viewers so we came up with the How to beat Australia campaign. The thought was to make these ideas as bizarre as possible without being repetitive. We shot four promos in Mumbai, three of which were shot at actual locations and one in a studio. The promos were made such that aside from giving the idea on how to beat Australia, they also informed the viewer about the telecast date of the matches."

Max Super Series on-air promo for 'How To Beat Australia' Idea No 302 with the Nagging Wife


This one's a hugely irritated wife! She angrily get tea for husband and tells him that he reads the paper the entire day and has never bothered to take her to Chowpaty.


She complains he doesn't know what romance is and asks him to keep reading his paper.


Meek little husband wonders if this is the end of it or is there more coming. Thump comes an underwear from inside, which is bowled on his face. Wife's keeps shouting from inside that he is not supposed put the underwear out to dry


Hubby finally finds his voice and says she should be sent to Australia as she would transform the Aussie cricketers into kangaroos within seven days.



Going on to the cost of making these promos, Agrawal said that there was no benchmark as to how much it costs to make a promo. "It really depends on what the story is and how it has to be presented. Sometimes shooting on-location can cost more than shooting in a studio or vice versa. It really depends on the script and varies from campaign to campaign," he adds.

However, Karnik is of the belief that while there might be more such examples he, for one, hasn't seen any that are as distinct as the ones mentioned in his list.

He goes on to say that, "The mistake most channels make while making their promos is that they don't base the spots on ideas. They usually show the clipping of the content of the show or a very sleek montage of the characters from the content. There is no motivation or any reason to watch the program. There is no difference between selling a toothpaste or a TV serial or a channel. You've got to have an idea. An idea to engage the viewer. To entertain the viewer. Give the viewer a reason to watch or buy into the product."

A person is subjected to 3,000 messages a day on an average and according to Karnik "if you are not going to be interesting to him you are wasting a lot of channel time. In fact most general entertainment channels (GECs) don't promote their properties very well. In fact their product is as perishable as vegetables (daily soaps, for example). They make a lot of investments in the show but don't focus on making a compelling advertising campaign," he emphasises.

Creative words of wisdom: To put it simply, if one was to take a 30 second clipping from a Charlie Chaplin movie... it can make a more entertaining and engaging commercial than anything you get to see these days.

We tend to agree! Stay tuned for our next Promo Power special from yet another creative hotshot!


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