Just Dial Amitabh!

Idealess brand managers have gradually destroyed the enigma and the legend of the Big B. Just Dial is yet another example

One thing about Indian advertising that depresses the most is the blind, thoughtless use of celebrities. It's like: Don't have an idea? The product is boring? Not sure of your creative skills? Cool! Just Dial a Celebrity!
 


And among the celebs, the most unwatchable, irritating choice has to be Amitabh Bachchan. You'll notice, across most campaigns, he doesn't fit into the brand or the category from any angle. Plus, he looks the same, acts the same, and the humour, when used, is so forced it makes you cringe. And yet, the Bachchan mania rolls on. Quite frankly, I am flummoxed out here.

Here's a theory: Most of today's marketing directors and ad agency heads grew up on the Bachchan blockbusters of the seventies. When he used to play the angry young man. Perhaps it's a hangover of the spell he cast on young men, who are now middle aged leaders in the corporate world. Perhaps more than relevance to the brand, it's the 'joy' of shooting with the legend that drives these guys. This may sound over the top but I really can't think of any other explanation.
 
The latest brand to fall sick on account of 'Bachchanititis' is Just Dial. There is a series of commercials on air, where a hamming, bumbling, babbling Bachchan explains the advantages of the brand. Which essentially involves him breathlessly rattling off telephone numbers for Just Dial. And how your desperate need for plumbers, caretakers, maalis, travel agents, etc, is now easily dealt with.  
 
One thing immediately strikes you when you watch these ads. What IS the reason for using Bachchan? What does he bring to the table? Where is the brand connect? There is very little chance of Bachchan ever dialling to seek the number of a plumber. Any little known actor or model could have done these ads. In fact, giving a fresh face to Just Dial would increase its brand salience. Rather than confuse it with the million other brands the ageing actor endorses.
 
I recall doing an interview with Bachchan a few years ago. Where he admitted that one of the reasons for doing as much work as possible is that he never has to ever face the days of bankruptcy again. And therefore I don't really blame the man for signing on any brand that knocks on his door.  
 
What upsets me is idealess brand managers who have not just made TV viewing a daunting task, but have gradually destroyed the enigma and the legend of the Big B.

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COMMENTS

Jose Kottanani

3 years ago

Believe me Mr Anil, when Mr Amitabh Bachchan comes on the screen, people sit up and look up. whether they will in the end use the product or not, is entirely dependent on the product itself. But, yes personalities like Mr Bachchan and SRK bring the product into notice of the people. It is called pigging riding on the Brand Amitabh Bachchan, for which Just Dial has paid a lump sum amount to Mr Bachchan. You just showed that you have no ideal about consumer's mentality and nor anything about advertisement. Period.

Anonymous

6 years ago

very well written article.
offers a great insight into the psyche of the legend and the people who are actually using him for selling anything from a hair oil to just dial...!!

Ankur

6 years ago

totally agree..even with Shah Rukh Khan..it's just "Dial a Celeb"

aanal

6 years ago

money life will loose its credibilty if they continue with people like mr. anil

deepak

6 years ago

it seems mr. anil has some personal enmity with mr. bachchan.

jamna v

6 years ago

My be it is for the money, though, by now he must have enough in his kitty for the next seven janmas.
I feel it is for his son who is brand ambassador

Priyanka

6 years ago

I am 23 and love to way amitabh any time. Justdialnos annocon in it\'s business like amitabh in the world. What better connect do you want? Please write responsibly and keep your frustration in control.

Positive thinker

6 years ago

Anil, your claim to fame Is one interview with Amitabh Bachchan. Brand managers know their job they get sacked if they don't deliver. Of course bloggers like you can be irresponsible endlessley hurt other peoples feelings. God bless you dear.

Probe money-laundering charges against Amar Singh, Allahabad HC tells ED

The Court gave the direction while dismissing a petition filed by Amar Singh, former Samajwadi Party general secretary, who had challenged an FIR  lodged in Kanpur nearly two years ago, accusing him of various financial irregularities

Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court today directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate charges of money laundering against Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, saying that the probe should commence within two weeks.

The Court gave the direction while dismissing a petition filed by the former Samajwadi Party general secretary who had challenged an FIR (First Information Report) lodged in Kanpur nearly two years ago accusing him of various financial irregularities when the party was in power in Uttar Pradesh, reports PTI.

A division bench comprising justices Imtiyaz Murtaza and SS Tiwari asked the ED to commence the investigation “within two weeks” and submit a status report before the court within a month of the commencement of the probe.

Mr Singh had moved the court challenging an FIR lodged at Babupurwa Police Station in Kanpur on 15 October 2009 by a local resident Shiv Kant Tripathi under various sections of the IPC, the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Mr Tripathi had also moved the Court with the prayer that the issue be probed by the ED.

The petitions by Mr Singh and Mr Tripathi were clubbed together and heard by the bench which had reserved its judgement on 28th March.

Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who had argued on behalf of Mr Singh, had described the FIR lodged against his client as “clearly an act of malice and fraud” aimed at “settling political scores” and, hence, was “liable to be quashed.”

However, the Court said it found “no substance in the submissions that the proceeding is liable to be quashed on grounds of mala fide and political rivalries.”

The Court took a serious note of the allegation made by the petitioner that Mr Singh, when the Samajwadi Party was in power in UP and he was the Chairman of the UP Development Council—a post equivalent to that of a Cabinet minister —“had indulged in money-laundering business by creating a web of shell companies.”

“Money laundering poses a serious threat to financial system integrity. It may emerge as a parallel economic system within a country controlled by a few. This may destabilise and perish a sound economy,” it said.

“We are of the firm view that it is a pre-eminently fit case for exercise of extra-ordinary power and the matter needs thorough probe by Special Cell as the matter has national ramifications,” the Court said.

Taking note of the fact that “the companies which are alleged to be shell companies are registered in various states,” the court held “the ED being a Central agency shall be the appropriate cell capable of carrying out a thorough probe.”

It is, therefore, directed that the entire papers relating to this matter shall be entrusted to the ED within two weeks and immediately after receipt of the papers the ED shall commence investigation. The first status report shall be submitted by the ED within one month after receipt of papers,” the Court said.

“List this matter in the first week of July on which date the authorities-that-be shall appear in person and shall submit the first status report,” the order said.

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Posco land-acquisition process disrupted in Orissa

Activists of the United Action Committee, who earlier backed the mega steel project, opposed the land acquisition drive, a day after 30 of their members were arrested for trying to disrupt the acquisition process yesterday

Paradip: Land acquisition for Posco’s mega steel plant in Orissa was disrupted today when a group of villagers, who had earlier backed the Rs 52,000-crore project, staged a sit-in at the proposed site.

With villagers showing reluctance to come forward to hand over land, teams engaged by the administration of Jagatsinghpur district for land acquisition conducted measurement of betel vines, fish ponds and plantations, reports PTI.

“We want people to hand over land voluntarily. No force will be used in acquiring land for the Posco project, which was resumed on 18th May after a gap of nine months,” said Additional District Magistrate (Paradip) Saroj Choudhury.

The land acquisition teams visited Polanga and Bayanala in the Gada Kujanga panchayat area and carried out measurement of different sites including betel vines, he said, adding if “anybody volunteers to part with his land, compensation would be paid.”

Activists of the United Action Committee (UAC), who earlier backed the mega project, staged a dharna at Gada Kujanga to oppose the land-acquisition drive, a day after 30 of their members were arrested for trying to disrupt the acquisition process yesterday and later released.

UAC president Anadi Rout said that though their outfit “supported the project”, it would “oppose the land acquisition work” till their demands are fulfilled.

He said the dharna by UAC activists would continue till 30th May when the revenue divisional commissioner has convened a meeting to discuss the demands.

“We have been successful in acquiring 16 betel vines till yesterday. The work will continue,” a senior revenue official said.

There has been no untoward incident in any part of the proposed Posco project site during land-acquisition work, according to Jagatsinghpur District Superintendent of Police
S Devadutta Singh.

Over 700 police personnel have been deployed in Balitutha, Gobindpur, Gada Kujanga, Nuagaon and other areas in order to ensure smooth land-acquisition work and prevent any untoward incident in view of the threat by anti-Posco activists and outfits to oppose the process, police said.

Though activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti blocked the road to Dhinkia and Gobindpur and supporters of Bhitamati Suraksha Manch (BMSM) staged a blockade near Nuagaon, the situation was peaceful, according to the police.Paradip: Land acquisition for Posco’s mega steel plant in Orissa was disrupted today when a group of villagers, who had earlier backed the Rs 52,000-crore project, staged a sit-in at the proposed site.

With villagers showing reluctance to come forward to hand over land, teams engaged by the administration of Jagatsinghpur district for land acquisition conducted measurement of betel vines, fish ponds and plantations, reports PTI.

“We want people to hand over land voluntarily. No force will be used in acquiring land for the Posco project, which was resumed on 18th May after a gap of nine months,” said Additional District Magistrate (Paradip) Saroj Choudhury.

The land acquisition teams visited Polanga and Bayanala in the Gada Kujanga panchayat area and carried out measurement of different sites including betel vines, he said, adding if “anybody volunteers to part with his land, compensation would be paid.”

Activists of the United Action Committee (UAC), who earlier backed the mega project, staged a dharna at Gada Kujanga to oppose the land-acquisition drive, a day after 30 of their members were arrested for trying to disrupt the acquisition process yesterday and later released.

UAC president Anadi Rout said that though their outfit “supported the project”, it would “oppose the land acquisition work” till their demands are fulfilled.

He said the dharna by UAC activists would continue till 30th May when the revenue divisional commissioner has convened a meeting to discuss the demands.

“We have been successful in acquiring 16 betel vines till yesterday. The work will continue,” a senior revenue official said.

There has been no untoward incident in any part of the proposed Posco project site during land-acquisition work, according to Jagatsinghpur District Superintendent of Police S Devadutta Singh.

Over 700 police personnel have been deployed in Balitutha, Gobindpur, Gada Kujanga, Nuagaon and other areas in order to ensure smooth land-acquisition work and prevent any untoward incident in view of the threat by anti-Posco activists and outfits to oppose the process, police said.

Though activists of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti blocked the road to Dhinkia and Gobindpur and supporters of Bhitamati Suraksha Manch (BMSM) staged a blockade near Nuagaon, the situation was peaceful, according to the police.

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