Samsonite India has made it a habit now, with its topical films, all of them through their agency Autumn Grey (they started with AutumnWorldwide and are now with AutumnGrey, post the acquisition!).
This is a nice partnership where the agency knows what kind of topical situations to mine and how to subtly plug the brand without making it seem intrusive while retaining context. These films get shared wildly for the emotional content they deliver, but there is a trojan horse hidden inside – Samsonite luggage that gets used fully in context.
After the ‘Kerala Is Open’ film (I loved it!)…
and the ‘Ek Din Ki Chutti’ (I didn’t like it as much as the first one, but still, worthy watch)…
…here’s the 3rd film, for Diwali 2019.
The narrative device used is brilliant. You start watching it, make certain assumptions in your mind based on what you see (what is shown to you!). And then the narrative perspective shifts, breaking down your assumptions because of what was not shown (or shown incidentally, without focus).
For sure, this is a kind of deception, but one which we audiences like being in because of the emotional payoff it delivers, and because of the empathy it seeds inside us.
When you see the film for the 2nd time, you’d perhaps notice (and after reading this note) how the old woman’s dialogs cut to a man getting into a bus with a phone attached to his ear, while the actual recipient of that mother’s conversation is the bus driver, who does not have a phone. This is entirely intentional, of course, and such cues are peppered all through the film where the voice-over names someone, the visuals focus on someone who is not being spoken about!
Yet, despite the obvious deception, you may not be angry with the effort because of 2 reasons: one, the intention, of course. It makes your heart gooey. But the second reason is that the agency could still explain it convincingly that it was you who made those assumptions (even if the script was tweaked to make you see things that way).
On a related note, is there no way for agencies and clients to work together on how these pieces of work are shared online? Autumn, the agency, fumbled on this last year with the Kerala Is Open film. I wrote about that clumsy situation last year: Autumn Worldwide’s work for Samsonite India on #KeralaIsOpen and an irony about agency’s brand reputation.
Nothing seems to have changed. The Diwali film has already been ‘claimed’ by the production agency before Autumn could do so!
Now, I understand they have all worked together on this, but there has to be some process to ensure that appropriate credits are shared when all kinds of vendors are sharing the work online.
For example, the Project Streedhan video that I wrote about yesterday, has also been shared by the production house, but they have worded it well, giving credit to the advertising agency that is responsible for it!