Iconis Ads: Vodafone – Zoozoos

Zoozoo were cute characters which were relatable and could communicate with the audience successfully

In 2009, ZooZoos were launched during the IPL – Season 2 to promote various value-added services of Vodafone. The idea was to create one ad per day highlighting one feature, a total of 30 ads. This was suggested by Hephzibah Pathak, heading the Vodafone business in Ogilvy.

O&M’s Rajiv Rao created & came up with the name ZooZoo because it sounded “cute, lovable & mad like the character”.

They had a distinct personality: they lived simple lives, spoke their language, moved in a specific manner, and emoted like people.

ZooZoos were people in bodysuits. It consisted of 2 parts – the body & the head. The body was filled with foam, & the head made of Perspex, attached separately. Each facial expression was made of rubber & glued to the actor to reduce the time & cost. The effect was achieved through various ways – choosing the correct material for the body to avoid wrinkles when the character moved, shooting at a lower frame rate, using simple backgrounds & using neutral greys.

The backgrounds were simple so that the audience remained focused on the character. The set was made bigger than life to make the characters look small as the producer couldn’t use kids due to the schedule.

The gibberish which they spoke was Malayalam in reverse. Prakash, the director who is a Malayali was missing home food and hence used words like parotta, puttu kadala…in reverse!

They became a hit, official & unofficial merchandise to social fan clubs, the characters were everywhere.

Prakash Varma directed the 30 films. Nirvana Films shot these ads in Cape Town, through Platypus Productions based there.

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