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Sequels aren't always winners in advertising world

Those lucky enough to have ad hits tap in to their equity to create sequels. But indiscriminate use will cause even the fullest barrel to run dry.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 25, 2012, 03.42 AM IST
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Sequels aren't always winners in advertising world
Here's a pop quiz for you (but no prizes for this one folks.) Name the motion picture that won the Academy Award for the best film in 1974? Clue: It was the first sequel to win that exclusive award and it was the only one in the generally sequelaverse award show till 2003, which brings us to Clue No 2.

The record ceased to exist that year when the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King, part three of Tolkien's epic tale of Middle Earth, won the very same golden statue. Come on, we are running out of crumbs. The correct answer: The Godfather: Part II.

The Corleones certainly did go to the mattresses to stamp their authority on that territory. Movie making has come a long way since 1974. Sequels certainly don't outnumber the "original film" releases in a year but they are a formidable bunch and none goes on to win Oscars.

Bottom line: sequels aren't always winners or rather (with the above exceptions of course) rarely are better than their predecessors. Nowhere is that truer than in the advertising world. However, it is a flimsy deterrent. According to Aditya Kanthy, senior vice president, strategic planning, DDB Mudra Group: "When done well campaign sequels are great.

Each one must be designed to reveal a different shade of the brand," Furthermore, he says, with more and more consumers open to more immersive brand experiences, sequels are just what the doctor ordered. But, the story must grow, characters and the world they occupy must develop and, along with top notch craft, they must embody the personality of the brand.

In 2009 Vodafone unleashed Zoozoos on an unsuspecting planet. They were a raging success. Vodafone, according to its brand makers, has strict metrics and guidelines when it comes to "ad sequels": keep it short, don't be afraid of the refresh button, multiple executions (blitz 'em) and don't be shy with the number and type of characters and elements.

This is simply a teaser pinched out of the How to Be a Winning Sequel handbook. After three installments of the bizarre yet cutesy creatures' antics around the Indian Premier League seasons the company decided to keep the Zoozoos off our Earth, for now.

Though the first campaign was the greatest success they did manage to maintain momentum on the popularity charts. The same brand's campaign for BlackBerry users wasn't as fortunate though and the sequel to The BlackBerry Boys TV ad campaign fell an inch short of expectations. Perhaps the most startling deviation comes from brand Volkswagen though.

A campaign called "The Bark Side" was the sequel to "The Force", the internationally acclaimed campaign created by Deutsche LA for VW's Passat in 2011.

The sequel failed to live up to its legacy and fell a tad flat, despite an intriguing albeit expensive teaser that fared better than the campaign itself. Even Dog and Darth couldn't quite save the day. Closer to home you have more examples of sequels that bomb on the creative sweepstakes. Nescafe went the mini-film route like personal care brand Pond’s before it. Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone is the hot neighbour and the crush of the lad across the hallway.



Add a generous slosh of another celebrity brand endorser (film director and chat show host Karan Johar) and a stand-up comedian and you get a campaign that can be stretched across multiple films released at regular intervals. In 2008 Unilever brand Pond’s created an ad-film, literally.

Actors Priyanka Chopra and Saif Ali Khan play the roles of young lovers who have been ruthlessly separated due to the young man's budding acting career. Circumstances land Khan's character in the arms of another, a beautiful fairskinned maiden with a dark side. This unfortunate turn in the plot leaves poor ol' Betty swimming in an ocean of rejection and self-pity. Just for a while though.

Because soon after she takes matters into her hands, decides to move to Paris and buys some Pond’s fairness cream. And voila! A chance encounter at the airport and she wins the final battle for his heart. Five TVCs later one can't help but ponder the biggest question of all. No, not questions related to the campaign's politically incorrect tone.

What we'd like to know is where did the final applause scene go? You know the one that generally, and precisely, pops up at the end of a love story — complete strangers 'awwing’ and clapping at the sight of reunited lovers near the flight boarding gate. Well, in part 6 perhaps? Or sometimes turning your back on the equity you have built just may be the noble thing to do, no?

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