Debrief: Zzzzrfan Khan

22 Nov,2011

By Anil Thakraney


Vodafone has decided that people with, let’s just say ‘limited means’, but with a mobile phone in hand must do more on their phones than just talk.


This makes sense. A whole lot of Indians at the bottom of the telephony pyramid use basic handsets and are averse to experimenting with features. They are happy to use it purely as a speech device. If some of them convert and do more voice-based things, it expands the market. So no issues with the strategy.


In order to communicate this to the lower end of the consumer spectrum, Vodafone has gone back to the ‘aam aadmi’ actor: Irrfan Khan. A series of TV commercials have been unleashed. I watched two. In one, the actor cribs that people invite him to parties just to get an update on the latest Bollywood gossip. And he says they should use their Vodafone connection for their gossip needs. In the other one he complains that his missus cooks cauliflower all the time. When all she has to do is use Vodafone to learn new recipes.


Now while I understand that the intent is to keep the communication simple given the target audience, that does not mean the ads have to be dull and witless. The problem is the scripts aren’t funny, and the continuous stand up drone of Khan can get really irritating after a point. And even if you are the sort who smiles at such stuff, you will not do so on the second exposure. Also, for some strange reason, Irrfanji mumbles his way through the ads, as if they woke him from deep slumber. I had to watch the ads many times to even comprehend what the man is saying.

Bring the Zoozoos back, I say!



Rating: (On a scale of 1 to 5): 1. Only good for putting you to sleep.   

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