Raahil Chopra
Apr 25, 2016

Lava gets Babbar and Dhoni to do a 'Drop Test', goes beyond specs to pitch quality checks

View the film by Soho Square; read the conversation with marketing head Solomon Wheeler and agency SVP Dip Sengupta here

Lava Mobile has rolled out a series of three commercials featuring Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Bollywood actor Prateik Babbar. The films have been conceptualised by Soho Square and will air during the ongoing IPL season and the new show of comedian Kapil Sharma on a Hindi GEC.
One of the films is on air currently and shows the banter between the duo to showcase the tests Lava's mobile phones go through. 
The film features Babbar as a Lava representative with Dhoni in a locker room. Dhoni asks Babbar why he should promote the brand. Babbar says that each Lava phone passes through thousands of tests. When Dhoni asks him to prove it, Babbar asks the cricketer to check it himself and throws the phone across. Dhoni intentionally drops it and sarcastically says he dropped it by mistake. He picks up the phone and asks whether it's broken. Babbar responds in the negative and says that they've carried out a 'drop test' too. After a voice over explains the tests the phone has undergone, Dhoni asks if there's any specific test that they haven't done. To Dhoni's surprise, Babbar says it's only Dhoni's catching skills that they haven't tested.
Campaign India caught up with Solomon Wheeler, VP and head, marketing and communications, Lava International, and Dip Sengupta, SVP and head of advertising, Soho Square, to learn more about the campaign.
On the idea behind the campaign, Wheeler said, "In the space we operate, the under-Rs 12,000 category, it’s a rat race leading to extreme commodisation. There’s no differentiator as everyone is selling Androids. Everyone is trying to be the first off the block for a new feature. That doesn’t help in the long run to create a differentiator. You can’t endlessly have this ROM, megapixel and the works (features) battle because it can be duplicated in two to three months. We wanted to create real value. The segment is seeking value. It can have a price dimension. It can have a product feature or specification. It could also have something like peace of mind. Backed by surveys, it gave us confidence that our product is seen as reliable and one of great build quality. Our brief was to harp on this and help us build a campaign that would go beyond specifications."
Sengupta said, "The safety and reliability was a great place to start with. The brief was close to what the brand was doing in the factory. The sheer rigour of making a Lava phone, made our task easier as there was a story sitting there. Lava as a brand goes through due diligence and testing to bring models that are extremely reliable. They have tests for all features. That was a great starting point for us. It’s a smart phone that won’t die on you. It’ll stand by you and be true to you. It’ll do all functions that it’s supposed to do. It’s got one of the lowest failure rates in the market. The brand stands for rigorous thinking." 
He added, "In advertising we’re always interrogating the product. When we did this, it was unbelievable. It’s a quiet product that’s underwent hundreds of tests and came out on top in all of them. So, we’ve used Dhoni to interrogate the product and check out if it’s as good as it claims to be and every time Lava comes out on top in the banter."
Wheeler attributed the reliability to the company's ongoing efforts in R&D. He said, "Lava owns the process end-to-end. We are probably the only company that does this from research to design. We have teams in China and India. We want to invest in Rs 200 crores in R&D in India. We are hiring people here who are undergoing training in China. They’ll come back here and work from here with the team based in India. This allows us to own every step. It gives us control."
Wheeler informed us that the campaign will run through the IPL and after it too. Besides populating social channels with the films, Lava plans to build on the reliability platform with blogger associations. 
Client: Lava International
Agency: Soho Square
Campaign India

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