The children are given shelter by two distinctly different families. One family is obsessed with cricket, to the extent that even furniture is designed like cricket gear. The other household is movie-mad. The drapes are film posters and they only speak in dialogues from Hindi hits.
The two brothers grow up to become cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hindi film superstar Shah Rukh Khan. With one small change, though. Khan becomes the captain of the Indian cricket team, while Dhoni is a hero in Hindi films.
As in real life, both get various brand endorsement contracts for products ranging from pressure cookers to paint. While shooting for - what else? - a commercial, each sees the gold locket both of them wear.
The brothers are reunited and the entire country is gripped by the emotional coming together. Everyone now wears a similar gold locket and Khan's voice comments that whatever role life gives, you should play it big... even if it is a role reversal.
Consumer durable major Videocon's tag line "new improved life" finally hits the screens at the end of this 90-second commercial. And the locket? A diamanté-studded, gold version of the Videocon logo.
The Videocon ad is the latest in a series of corporate brand campaigns by some of India's largest companies.
Like Coca-Cola and the Future Group's commercials, this long ad does not try to sell any product; in fact, no products are shown. Nor does it communicate brand attributes (Coca-Cola) or make any larger-than-life statements (Future Group's harbinger of good times). Instead, the ad is pure entertainment.
Says Shekhar Jyoti, vice president, marketing, Videocon Industries, "We wanted to bring our two brand ambassadors together to reflect our brand values."
The brief given by the company to its year-old advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) was to reinforce its new brand statement "new improved life" and highlight brand values, "think big and do big".
Until October 2006, Videocon called itself "the Indian multinational". When O&M came on board in January 2007 (taking over from R K Swamy BBDO), the agency opined that the tagline, although suitably corporate, did not strike a chord with consumers.
"We realised that by delivering high quality products at reasonable prices, the company was enabling users get access to new technology at affordable prices. As it was improving lives in many ways, the new tagline offered a stronger connect with consumers than the fact that Videocon is a homegrown MNC," says Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather.
Besides, Videocon has been trying to fight back into the mindspace of the youth. Analysts believe interest among the core consumer group - 21 years and more - had waned as Samsung and Sony created aspiration among youth.
Now, as Videocon is planning a diversification into the personal computing space with branded laptops and PCs, it is imperative that it reconnects with this group. Bringing together the country's biggest two crowd-pullers, then, is a masterstroke.
Film star Khan is basking in the success of his latest film Om Shanti Om, while Dhoni's ratings have soared after he led the Indian cricket team to win the 20-20 World Cup.
"Khan and Dhoni became successful by dreaming big and following their dreams. We have tried to use this thread to connect with the million of Indians who are today driven by similar aspirations," says Chattopadhyay.
However, making the advertisement was a challenge in itself. "Getting both the stars together at the same place and time was a tough task," recalls Jyoti.
Videocon gave the agency a formidable deadline. It wanted the new campaign to hit television screens immediately after the Diwali shopping season, as there would be less clutter before competitors began their next ad blitz in time for Christmas. The entire film was made in under three weeks by the agency. After looking at various other executions like Shah Rukh Khan and Dhoni playing themselves, the company settled for the twist in the tale script as it would make the narrative more interesting.
The sequence featuring the stars was shot in a single day amidst early celebrations of Khan's birthday at Yash Raj Studios. The rest of the ad, with the children, was shot separately at Film City studios in Mumbai.
The ad was launched in the last week of November, with Videocon spending about 10 per cent of its annual marketing budget on this campaign.
All major TV channels will run the 90-second film for two months, after which shorter edits of 60 and 30 seconds slated for later. Print ads will appear in leading national and regional newspapers and magazines. For the Internet and outdoors, Videocon has tied up with Yahoo and Rediff, while hoardings are planned in metros and mini-metros.
At points of sale, large cut-outs of the stars are being placed to build a 360-degree connect with the communication. Videocon has also tied up with FM channel Radio Mirchi to air its ads and give away gold "V" lockets as prizes on shows. Perhaps Videocon hopes real life will imitate reel life and we will see the glittering pendants around every neck. That will be some branding.
Who Did What
Client: Videocon Industries
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
Creative: Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Sukesh Nayak and Heeral Desai
Client Servicing: Dharam Valia