This is the month of celebrations when many companies launch campaigns to rejoice the independence. One such campaign that went viral was the thought-provoking commercial launched by Ufone.
A successful telecom operator with Pakistani roots, Ufone is a brand associated with humour. Hence, this take on emotional communication has really made it standout. Ufone celebrates the month with bursting enthusiasm, urging every Pakistani to raise the national flag with pride and honour and further emphasising that we should feel proud of our nation and all that it has accomplished.
Using the flag, the symbol and strength of our country, Ufone has managed to reach out well to its audience with this soul stirring commercial. It evokes the relationship our present has with our past and reminisces about the glory of our beloved flag and as a nation how fervently we used to hoist and proudly wave it.
It made many of us recall how we celebrated this glorious day in the past, when wearing green, buying flags and badges and decorating our houses with flickering lights and flag streamers was almost like a yearly ritual. Over time, this tradition has faded away, leaving us devoid of the excitement, pride and courage it used to instill within us.
Wasim Akram is shown leading the way. For many he is the national hero, and his statement “Kyunke agar aaj hum dobara jhanday lehrana shuru kardain, tou yaqeenan dobara jhanday gaarna bhi shuru kardaingay”, triggered emotions in many and personally touched numerous hearts.
Having said that, let’s pull away from the audience for a minute and stand on the other side.
Can you see what’s happening?
Bringing the idea of this correlation into light and persuading the nation to gloriously celebrate Independence Day, has not only promoted the day – but most importantly promoted Ufone itself. Clearly, this is exactly what every brand does, but why play with the nation’s emotions? It has now become a common practice in Pakistan to promote brands using the national spirit on occasions like Ramazan, Eid and Independence Day.
Most people must have bought a Ufone sim rather than a flag after this commercial, specially since Ufone promised to give its customers a surprise gift. Ufone succeeded in doing what they wanted, at the expense of a nation that fails to see beyond the obvious. Giving them 14 free minutes (which they were supposed to utilise the same day) was not a gift to celebrate the day but to make the customers utilise the services. They are fully aware that people tend to get carried away and would certainly need more than 14 minutes to wish people Independence Day.
Moreover, after a senseless escape from prison in his previous Ufone commercial, Wasim Akram now wants us to be loyal to our nation?
Yes, most of you will say that these are just commercials which aren’t even linked together and we shouldn’t take it seriously. But have you realised companies spend a lot of time and money on concept, sets, production and brand ambassadors and they definitely expect people to take them seriously. Why would they spend so extravagantly otherwise? And if they must, why not spend on a concept that stays, rather than emotions that will eventually die a few days later?
No doubt the commercial was brilliantly shot with a gratifying message, perfectly set for the occasion. But I wish more commercials were made with a concept that would have immediate brand recall rather than using the safer option of playing with our emotions.
The writer is a New Media Design Manager at Dawn.com