Vodafone: Zoozoo gives way to parrot

The commercial is much too ordinary, given the high standards Vodafone has set with the zoozoos.

Er, where did the delightful zoozoos disappear? Vodafone is back with a brand new creature, and this time it’s an animated parrot. For now, I happened to watch just one commercial. The parrot has been used to sell Vodafone’s Rs4 bonus card offering for prepaid consumers.
The talkative parrot plays the role of the owner of a typical Mumbai Irani eatery. The voiceover, not surprisingly, is that of actor Boman Irani, who is a bawaji, and did run an Irani joint at one point in his life. And this renders the parrot pretty true to life. The parrot rants in disbelief that you can’t get a thing on earth for Rs4 in today’s times (the BJP would agree… the beleaguered party has been parroting this issue for a while now).

So the parrot cribs that you can’t get the sali of the sali boti for four bucks. You can’t get the gilli of the gilli danda for four bucks, and that leave alone eat, he wouldn’t even allow you to smell his delightful mawa cakes for four bucks, and so on. Tied in with this cynicism is the Vodafone offer of a bonus card that delivers a laundry list of value-adds for just Rs4.
Yes, it’s an okay commercial. Though Boman’s voice does up the fun ante a bit, the commercial is much too ordinary, given the high standards Vodafone has set with the zoozoos. This sort of stuff we have seen before, in ads and in them movies. I suspect Vodafone managers have decided to leave out the zoozoos this time, possibly because they believe that sort of humour is a little up-market. And the Rs4 scheme is clearly targeted at the lower end of the mobile spectrum, and therefore they needed, what in advertising is famously called, an ‘idiot-proof’ solution.
I actually don’t agree with this thinking. Surely the zoozoos could have been used to speak to the lower-class segment; surely they could have used the creatures in a format that works for that market. That’s what lateral thinking is all about. Having spent millions creating a power brand identity with the zoozoos, it makes little sense to create an all-new property, which will cost both time and money to be established. In fact, Vodafone already uses actor Irfan Khan for cards and schemes targeted at the bottom end, and funnily enough even that route wasn’t utilised here!
Net-net: A needless creation of a new identity. And wastage of some serious investments to nurture it. And the parrot doesn’t even capture the imagination. Tsk, tsk.  


PM's panel forecasts 4.5% growth for agri sector for FY11

New Delhi: The Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) today pegged the farm sector growth rate at 4.5% for 2010-11 fiscal on the expectation of a strong rebound in foodgrains output on the back of a good monsoon, reports PTI.

Agriculture and allied sectors grew by a mere 0.2% in last fiscal due to a widespread drought, which caused a 16 million tonnes or nearly 7% dip in foodgrains production from a record of 234.47 million tonnes in 2008-09.

"On the basis of a normal monsoon forecast by the Met Department, one may reasonably expect a strong rebound in crop output in kharif and rabi in 2010-11," Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) said in its economic outlook for the current fiscal.

The panel noted that the expansion in horticulture and animal husbandry and a low base effect should generate a farm sector gross domestic product (GDP) growth of around 4.5% in the current fiscal.

It projected the sector to grow by 4% in 2011-12.

"So far the indications are that the monsoon would be normal. On that assumption, we are making a forecast that agriculture growth would be 4.5% in the current fiscal and this comes after two years of low growth," PMEAC chairman C Rangarajan told reporters here.

In the first three years of the current Plan period, the farm sector has achieved an average annual growth of 2.16% and if the PMEAC's projection for this fiscal and the next proves to be correct, then the average annual growth for the entire 11th Five-Year Plan Period would be 3%.

The government had targeted 4% growth in the farm sector for the current Plan period ending March 2012.

Food and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar had earlier said the country was likely to have bumper production this year on the back of good monsoon.

"The latest sowing report shows that compared to last year, the area coverage is more for rice, oilseeds, pulses, cotton, sugarcane and jute," Mr Pawar had said.

Farmers have sown paddy in an area of about 124.78 lakh hectares till 16th July, against 122.40 lakh hectare in the same period last year.

India had produced 234.47 million tonnes of foodgrains in 2008-09 and 218.2 million tonnes in 2009-10 crop year.


EGoM may not allocate gas to new customers

New Delhi: The much talked about meeting of a ministerial panel on natural gas next week is likely to deliberate on availability of gas in the country over next few years but may not allocate any fuel to any new customers, reports PTI.

The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on 27th July, is likely to discuss setting priority for usage of the gas that is likely to be available in next five years, two sources privy to the development said.

It may ask for requirements in power and fertiliser plants coming up in future to be put up to it for a possible allocation from the projected additional gas output at a later date.

"Currently, no power plant connected with pipeline network, is starved of gas. Those commissioning this year have already been allocated gas," one of them said.

The oil ministry will make a presentation on source-wise and year-wise availability of gas and will also present a synopsis of the recent Supreme Court verdict on the Ambani gas dispute.

It may mention about Reliance Industries' (RIL) eastern offshore KG-D6 field touching peak output of 80 million standard cubic meters a day (mmscmd) in 2011-12 as well as beginning of production from Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation's KG basin fields in 2012.

Over 15 mmscmd of gas from the KG-D6 fields is available for allocation on firm basis as the government has already fixed users for over 64 mmscmd. GSPC's field will produce 8-9 mmscmd while state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's Bay of Bengal fields would produce 25-30 mmscmd from 2016.

Sources said power ministry may put up the schedule of commissioning of new gas-fired power plants and their fuel requirement.

The EGoM would deliberate on how much gas and from what source can be allocated to plants commissioning sequentially, they said adding the issue of fuel for projects that haven't yet started construction may also come up for discussion.

Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) firm Reliance Power (R-Power) has sought 28 million standard cubic meters per day of gas for its proposed plants at Shahapur in Maharashtra and Bharuch in Gujarat and expansion of its Samalkot plant in Andhra Pradesh.

It was not clear if the EGoM can consider giving gas to the ADAG plants as such a move may open a Pandora's Box with several power plants at conception stage, too, would seek treatment at par with R-Power and allocation of gas.

Also, the EGoM has to consider the requirement of fertiliser plants that are switching from liquid fuel to gas as feedstock, sources said.

As per the Government's Gas Utilisation Policy, whose validity has been upheld by the Supreme Court, natural gas can be allocated only to an end user who can consume gas immediately.

Sources said the EGoM will have to decide if exceptions to the present policy can be made so that proposed power plants like those of R-Power can get fuel from KG-D6 fields by reserving or blocking certain volumes for it.

At present, the Gas Utilisation Policy does not provide for reservation or blocking of natural gas for future plants and all of the output from KG-D6 fields has been allocated to units that said could consume the fuel immediately.

Since the KG-D6 fields have finite resources, output will have to be capped and volumes above that reserved for production when plants like those R-Power are built.

Alternately, the government will have to cut supplies to existing customers to accommodate future plants.

RIL has till date signed up for 57.8 mmscmd of its output on long term contract. It has told the oil ministry that it can sign up for another 2.2 mmscmd on long term since output from KG-D6 can be sustained only at 60 mmscmd.

The apex court had in May rejected ADAG firm Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) plea to get gas from RIL at concessional rates of $2.34 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for 17 years under a family agreement, saying government alone has the right to approve the price and fix its users.

An oil ministry official had earlier stated that ADAG plants may be considered for allocation of gas six months prior to the commissioning.

"Anyone wanting natural gas for their plants, be it in fertiliser, power or any other sector, the allocation is to be made (to them) closer to the time when they can actually consume that gas," he had said.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)