A simple, easy to comprehend way of showing the strength of the telephony network using a dog following a kid.
Around 2004, a couple of years later after Hutch set foot in India, it wanted to roll out a national film showcasing its pan-India footprint. The brief to the agency was simple: a story that showed the size and width of the network. Telecom companies were competing for a share of the mobile telephony market. Hutch wanted to establish its superiority.
The agency was Ogilvy. Mahesh V & Rajiv Rao, creative directors, were developing the idea. “We did not want to talk about technology, & we consciously avoided showing people talking on the mobile”, says Mahesh.
After going through multiple ideas, they imagined a little kid and his annoying little sister, both of whom represented the consumer and network. They refined the idea further by replacing the sister with a dog since what was needed was something that followed the boy while simultaneously indicating unconditional support – and dogs do it best!
That’s how they then hit upon the core idea, “Wherever you go, our network follows”; a dog that follows a boy to many places – roads, ponds, farms etc.
Renuka Jaypal, who led the team on Hutch at Ogilvy, has an interesting story of the idea being presented to Asim Ghosh, CEO Hutchinson Max. He heard her out and stared at her for 20 seconds and asked her, in his clipped British accent “So this one boy represents the millions of customers and this dog represents the millions that the company has invested in India?” Renuka said yes! She gave all her justifications for why this would work. All that he said was, “Renuka, please leave the room before my courage leaves me. Go and make the film.”
The 60-sec ad was shot, in lush green Goa. The boy was played by an 8-year-old Jayaram (Prakash’s neighbour in Bangalore), who was walking, along with Chika, the pug, scampering along behind him. (Actually, Chika was the third choice. The first choice was a fox terrier who refused to budge and then another pug who refused to budge too. Chika came next.)
The agency mandated that a dog lover needed to produce the film & it went to Prakash Varma (Nirvana films). The campaign became a hit & was followed by a print version. The simple & apt lyrics were written by Sneha Iype (Prakash’s wife and business partner) along with Mahesh. Suraj Jagan sang the song set to score by Roopak.
When Piyush Pandey saw the completed film, he stood up, hugged and kissed the creators. That’s how much he loved it.
The campaign was followed by a rise in the popularity of pugs in India, & the sale of pugs more than doubled.
Cheeka was the wallpaper most often downloaded by Hutch customers onto their phone screens for some time.