Please read this Symphony. I injist!

Related context: Why should Hindi written in English be the pan-India norm in advertising?

Symphony, the air cooler brand, recently launched its summer 2019 campaign with 2 films conceptualized and directed by Manoj Tapadia, the writer of films like Cheeni Kum and Manorama Six Feet Under, for his own outfit called New Symphony Films (what a coincidence!).

Both films have million+ views on YouTube, an easy assumption about efficient media spend, combined with the fact that the comments are very, very few, and more about one of the actors from TVF’s Kota Factory.

I like both the films – there’s a nice situational humour in both films, and the core messages – a wall-mounted air cooler, a touch-enabled air cooler and Shimla-like cooling in fan-like electricity consumption – come across very well.

Where I have a problem is not in the writing, but in other areas.

[1] Film-to-print translation:
The print ads literally is a menu card of the kinds of coolers available. But they also make the assumption that people who see the ads have previously seen—and remember—the ad films on TV. For those who haven’t seen the ad film, it wouldn’t make any sense why 2 funny looking guards, speaking intentionally-mocking English are recommending Symphony air coolers.

Related: Why context in communication is a necessary devil.

[2] Hindi-centricity of the entire campaign:
The following are ad insertions in Southern print media. They all have the same ‘I injist’ + ‘Garmi ko karo Symphony’ + ‘Pankhe Jitti Bijli mein, Simla Jitti Thandi’ on top. There is no attempt to bother either localizing the sentiment/caption to any regional language or even turning it in English, for broader comprehension.

Click on the image to see larger version.

It’s not a question of effort, however. The ads are not the same across regions. Do notice the footer which has availability information – that differs from region to region. If the brand can put in that effort to ensure that availability is customized to each region, and they don’t put the same effort to make their ad. speak to audiences of a region in a language they speak and love (using regional language headline in English/Roman script or simply English) to convey the thought and core message, that says a lot about how much they assume on behalf of the audience they are talking to.

This also goes on to show the on-going disdain for regional sensibilities in national advertising. More than disdain, the lost opportunity to communicate in a way these audiences like and appreciate is a bigger miss. The fact that… a national brand creates Hindi-first communication, does not consider regional variants as a necessity or a need at all, and simply ends up running the Hindi communication all over India… seems like a wasted opportunity to make their advertising budget work harder. That, and the arrogance/ignorance of ‘Let them understand what they want – there is a product menu anyway, no?’ is rather unfortunate.

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