Ad Nut
Jun 17, 2020

Tata Motors Finance celebrates lockdown tranquility, en route to ruining it

Contradictions abound in 'The Sounds of Lockdown' campaign.

Many of us lead contradictory lives. Take Ad Nut for example. This rodent loves the tranquility of the forest, broken up by occasional animal chatter or birdsong and the gentle scraping sounds of claws on bark. At the same time, Ad Nut can't help but addictively watch noisy advertisements played out at elevated decibels with their jarring jingles.

In similar vein, Tata Motors Finance has brought its latest film to Ad Nut's attention, which is an acoustic celebration of the gentle sounds of daily life, yet seems contradictory in purpose. The film, 'The Sounds of Lockdown' released in the middle of May during the height of the lockdown, focusses completely on the audio experience. It takes listeners on a journey through the early morning hours of a typical day with only minimal graphic clues representing the birds singing, a gentle alarm ring, the sounds of showering and getting dressed followed by the slurping of tea and the munching of breakfast. 

Listening, one can't help but feel that the 'sounds of lockdown' reflect a much simpler life for everyone involved. As the film's press release suggests, "while we are learning to adapt and face the challenging situations, the ongoing situation has taught us the importance of the minutest things, to appreciate the small gestures."

But wait, what happens next? We hear the sound of descending stairs, of getting into a vehicle and starting it up. Wait... why are we going out, and who said this was a sound of lockdown?  

Turning to the press release we come to understand that despite the film's title, we actually are listening to the sounds of pre-lockdown. "The power of sound and the amalgamation of the everyday activities was perfectly blended in this film to relive the memories of normal life that everyone is missing these days," it says, noting the work takes users "back in memory lane". The film ends with the message "COVID-19 has put us on a brake for now, but we will be back on the road soon!"

Not so fast, says Ad Nut. You just took us on a beautiful audio journey, made possible by the slowing down of everyday life. We heard all those wonderful simple sounds because there was no noisy traffic and commercial activity to drown it out. Now you want us to look forward to everyone getting in their car again? Ad Nut is confused whether you wanted people to miss the sounds of lockdown, or pre-lockdown. Please explain. 

“In the current scenario, storytelling the normal way has become a bit challenging. A fresh approach is required so that your content piece stands out from the clutter of stock shots with a baritone voiceover," says Manesh Swamy, the VP of creative at marketing firm Logicserve Digital, behind the ad. "While creating this digital film, we kept in mind the brand ethos and the current emotional health of consumers. We then used a messaging technique that is able to gain consumers’ attention in the hyper-digital distraction of the lockdown life."

Excuse Ad Nut's double-shake of the head. Hyper-digital distraction of lockdown life? Do we really need to get out of lockdown for things to return to a simpler time?

Here what Ad Nut thinks. The ad sounds nice. Really nice. Which is why its creators were married to its novel format to break through the COVID-ad clutter. But in doing so they succeeded in making consumers nostalgic for a simpler world without cars, which runs contrary to the brand. 

Parminder Multani, marketing head of Tata Motors Finance, disagrees. "We were eagerly looking for a way to spread a message of optimism among our customers and stakeholders without being preachy," he says. "This digital film aims to hit the sweet spot of our brand values while using an engaging format to communicate with the audience." He continues: "We want our partners to understand that this situation is temporary, and we can overcome the current situation with each other’s support.”

But what if you made your customers not want to 'overcome the current situation' at all?

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.

 

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