Ad Review: Naukri spurs war between bosses & mobiles

A look at’s new campaign and whether it opens up a new chapter in the boss-employee relationship after creating the phenomenal ‘Hari Sadu’

e4m by Deepika Bhardwaj
Updated: Jan 30, 2012 2:15 PM
Ad Review: Naukri spurs war between bosses & mobiles

I was recently invited to an event where Ankit Fadia was releasing his latest book 'How To Unblock Everything On The Internet.' I thought the cyber geek has once again touched a subject which impacts a large number of youth today, deprived of accessing various sites of importance due to restricted access in offices or colleges. The same day i came to know that has launched its latest campaign promoting its presence on 'Mobile' with a new app and also a mobile friendly site which can be accessed and used by job seekers without any hassles. I had to rethink - with everything on mobile these days, does one even need to unblock anything on internet?? Keeping that in mind,, a site that's usually blocked in organizations (for obvious reasons) is playing smart and playing it big on mobile!

Medium: Television
Agency: Draftfcb Ulka

The Brief: has introduced a mobile app and a mobile friendly site to enable efficient and effortless job hunt on the go for the job seekers. The main objective was to convey this idea and thus mobile had to play a significant role in bringing out the friction between boss and employee –’s basic premise for every communication.

But this time it was not just about showcasing frustration, but a demented behaviour that defined a bad boss, said Sanjay Sharma, Group Creative Director, Draftfcb Ulka. “While the main brief was to convey that we have launched mobile app for anywhere anytime jobs, we wanted to showcase the ‘behaviour’ , the demented side of a frustrated boss who can go to any extent in order to dominate his employee. The whole objective was to show to what level an employee has managed to frustrate his boss,” he elaborated. has come up with a campaign after quite some time. “We wanted to come out with a new campaign, and since mobile is a very important platform for us, we thought why not build the whole communication around it. It’s not a mobile ad, but a brand ad. We have a huge customer base, which has welcomed the mobile platform, as Naukri is usually blocked in various orgnisations,” said Sumeet Singh, Senior VP, Marketing and Corporate Communication,

The Execution:
The campaign comprises three short commercials, where a boss is making repeated attempts to destroy his favourite employee’s mobile phone. Different ways of destruction add to the entertainment factor, showcasing levels to which the boss can go to deprive his employee of a mobile phone.

But when ‘Hari Sadu’ has become synonymous with and also of a bad boss, why keep the ‘iconic’ name away? Sharma explained, “Hari Sadu is not a face, it’s a caricature, a fictional character, which signifies an unreasonable, frustrated, angry boss. It is the behaviour which is important to us than the name. Earlier commercials were more in the thematic space, but this time we have a product to sell. It was an excuse for us to communicate another fun side of the employer-employee relationship. Everyone knows the story of boss-employee relationship, but this time it’s a notch higher. The whole set-up is very intriguing, with each commercial stepping up in terms of the scheming going on in the boss’ mind to get rid of the cell phone.”

One may feel that the employee doesn’t seem so empowered in these commercials like the earlier ads, where the euphoria was quite visible, but Singh clarified quickly, “The commercials are not standalone, but a combination of instances where the boss tries to break the phone and the employee comes back with a new one again, mocking his boss and taking his frustration levels to heights.”

Media Mix
The commercials that have been premiered online will be launched on air by the first week of February. Apart from online and television, the campaign will have a strong on-ground leg to it. Singh shared that while’s annual marketing budget had a media mix of 65 per cent online and 35 per cent offline. This campaign will see 85 per cent of the budget spent on offline and remaining on online and on ground.

Experts speak:
So has the new friction between employer and employee created any rub off on our experts’ minds? exchange4media finds out...

Soumitra Karnik, National Creative Director, Dentsu India Group, felt that the new commercials did not match up to the Hari Sadu ads. He remarked, “Ideas like the Hari Sadu commercial come only once in a while. Which is the reason why even today it retains its tremendous refreshing quality and oodles of charm. This series, though attempts to be different, doesn’t quite measure up to the Hari Sadu commercial. It does not have the vulnerability of the employee and the cocky confidence to unleash revenge on the horrible boss. Something that the commercials have as a part of their grammar. I miss these emotions terribly. Also, the mobile app message also doesn’t come through clearly.”

According to Neeraj Bassi, Vice President - Planning, Ogilvy & Mather, “It’s an interesting execution that takes forward the theme of love-hate relationship between bosses and juniors. But what I missed in these specific executions is the interplay of the relationship. I found them one sided – from the boss’ perspective and the junior comes out more as a prop. Hari Sadu struck a chord as it established tyranny of the boss and the ingenuity with which the junior got back. The chemistry of the relationship was palpable, which added to engagement of the communication. In the current execution, the focus is only on the vengeful boss. While it establishes the point of bosses hating mobiles, the tension of the relationship does not come through for me. And according to me, it is that tension, that desire to be one up on the other that has made’s communication stand apart from others.”

On the other hand, Rohitash Srivastava, Director Planning, Leo Burnett, applauded the new treatment. He commented, “Funny, and drives home the point. The characterisation of the boss, the refreshing track and the comic situations do surely make you want to see it again. The thinking is sound too as it builds on the simple insight that most often you look out for jobs because you hate the boss - and the tyrannical boss, in turn, would keep you enslaved forever if it were left to them. on your mobile would surely be the most unpleasant thing for such a dictator. But still, the satisfaction of giving it back to the devil on your last day of work is missing in this campaign.”

Our Opinion
Hari Sadu ads not only convey the euphoria of an employee who has just heard from Naukri, but also create a strong connection with each person who wants to give it back to his boss in the same way. The new campaign drives home the point that the bosses will hate mobiles now, but do not create the same connection with job seekers. However, the extent to which a boss can go to ruin the employees’ association with Naukri is quite interesting.

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