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Quikr’s ‘Bob Biswas’ ad misses the plot

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Quikr’s ‘Bob Biswas’ ad misses the plot

Online classifieds site Quikr has unveiled a new TVC to highlight its missed call feature. Conceptualised by Scarecrow Communications, the ad uses the ‘Bob Biswas’ character enacted by Saswata Chatterjee in the film ‘Kahaani’ to spread the message.

The previous campaign for Quikr featured a series of three disruptive 10-seconders with the proposition that the website helps in buying and selling in minimum time. Through the latest campaign, Quikr aims to reach out to a much wider audience, including those who are not active users of the internet.

The proposition is based on the insight that sellers (especially of cars and homes) can go to any extent to get the best value from the sale. Chatterjee is depicted as one such desperate seller, who is trying hard to find a reliable tenant for his flat.

The film opens with ‘Biswas’ seated in a cafe, where he observes people for some time and then starts stripping his clothes. He stands on the table to get everyone’s attention and announces that he has an apartment and goes on to list its features. When he asks if anyone would be interested in renting it, a man replies, ‘Quikr ko missed call maar na’. The ad then goes on to state how instead of logging on to the website, one can make a missed call to the toll free number and the call centre will respond, providing the relevant information in minimal time. The ad ends with Biswas surrounded by many people interested in renting his apartment once he makes that missed call.

Aparna Mahesh, Brand Head, Quikr elaborated, “We are trying to make it easier for people, because research showed us that for many people in India, the act of posting an ad online is perceived as time-consuming. With that in mind, we launched the missed call service. We have used Saswata because he is a cult figure and everyone is curious to know more about him.”

Social media focus
She further said, “We are a very social media focused brand and we wanted to create a high- level of engagement around the social media platforms.”

The campaign was unveiled after a high engagement teaser phase on social media with five short teaser videos on YouTube and Facebook. Several conversations began about what Bob is possibly up to, a hash tag #WhatisBobUpto was also promoted on Twitter. The hash tag was also around the new ad where all the people who had seen the viral ad went on to see the complete ad. There was a short quiz and people gave their feedback on the new TVC.

Raghu Bhatt, Founder Director, Scarecrow Communications said, “The objective is to dramatise the new innovation in this category, which is missed call, and communicate the message in the same manner. Due to the previous campaign, Quikr has created a high brand recall and hence, it was important to leverage that and build on the main value of Quikr, which is reducing the transaction time.”

“The main challenge was to communicate the disruption of missed calls in an equally disruptive manner that is also fresh. In this genre, everything is very category-led, so we had to effectively mention the category as well,” he added.

On using the Bob Biswas character, Bhatt said, “We needed someone who could communicate the value of quirkiness very cleverly. We thought of Boman Irani, Paresh Rawal and then we thought why not Saswata (Bob Biswas), because he had captured the imagination of the country through ‘Kahaani’.”

The campaign will be on air for at least three weeks.

‘The ad misses the spot completely’
Commenting on the ad, Vipul Thakkar, Executive Creative Director, DDB Mudra South said, “You have an OLX doing a fantastic job of communicating the insight so clearly in this category. This ad doesn’t make sense at all when you see a man trying to draw attention by standing on the table and taking off his clothes. It tries to be funny, but misses the spot completely.”

He further said, “Advertising has moved to a completely different zone if online is considered, and if you see the eBay and Flipkart ads, they have done some phenomenal work. The earlier short films of Quikr were even tolerable.”

Commenting on the usage of Bob Biswas, he asked, “How many people know Bob? How many people have seen ‘Kahaani’? If you are talking to the East and the Bengalis, then it is a different thing. He is just a one-film wonder. You are not using Boman Irani or Paresh Rawal; you are not using someone who is an icon as far as humour is concerned.” He feels that the commercial is not working at any level.

On the other hand, Chetan Sharma, Creative Director, What the Hell?, said that overall it is an “okay film”. “It has a nice build up, where we see Bob in the typical ‘Kahaani’ style. After that it falls into a bizarre zone. The script does not have anything strong to support the sudden change of Bob’s character into a funny man and getting people’s attention,” he added.

Sharma believes that the film doesn’t have any good insight or ground for Quikr’s proposition of giving them a missed call and buy/ rent/ sell things quickly.

However, according to him, “Using Bob gives viewers an instant connect, and he/she ends up seeing the entire commercial. But, he could have been used better.”


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