BY ALI NAQVI –
When I saw Haier’s Refrigerator TVC, aired recently, I had thought that no brand could surpass this level of unimaginative mindlessness. But I could not be more wrong. The latest Bata TVC is a case in point. Featuring Maya Ali and Sheheryar Munawar Siddiqui the Surprisingly Bata campaign is meaningless, hopeless and utterly tasteless.
It is an exclusive campaign developed for the brand’s Spring Summer collection 2020. I saw the ad on the brand’s Facebook page. The status of the post read “Time to be mesmerized and surprised! Latest Spring Summer collection 2020 is now available in store and online”. The range may be mesmerizing, maybe not, but the TVC is certainly surprising rather mind boggling. How could a brand ridicule itself in so blunt a manner? How could you be so loud about all the negative perceptions of your own brand in a matter of seconds? This ad appears to have done more damage to itself than all the criticism of the competition put together could ever do.
In no more nor less than 45 seconds Bata dishes out its worst fears and insecurities. These fears and insecurities are not implicit rather blatantly explicit coming from the mouth of Sheheryar Munawar, a celebrity people are more likely to trust and follow. At the very beginning of the TVC we see Maya and Sheheryar about to leave for a film premiere but Maya apparently has not a single pair of shoes to go with her gorgeous red dress. When she tells Shehreyar that she wants to go to Bata he replies in a very derogatory manner saying “film premiere per ja rahay hein ya school” (are we going to a film premiere or a school). At this sentence the jaws that drop stay dropped for a long time.
The jaw dropping exercise does not stop here. As the celebrities move to Bata store we are in for more surprises and the biggest of them all again comes from Shehreyar when while examining and standing inside Bata outlet asks “ye Bata ha” (is this Bata). The expression looks satirical, sarcastic and ignorant. It means first that Bata is not the top of the mind brand and secondly that Bata is not reputed to make stylish and quality footwear.
‘Surprisingly Bata’ comes after a long hiatus of more than two years. One cannot help but compare this ad with the previous ‘Star & Comfortable with it’ campaign featuring Maya Ali. The campaign was developed by JWT-Lahore and was shot in various parts of Europe. That campaign was grand, graceful as well as meaningful. But this time around tables have turned, the ad is Claustrophobic, Atelophobic and Atychiphobic that is most certainly going to weaken the brand on many levels.
A campaign like Surprisingly Bata is never going to work. Bata needs to wake up and reconsider its brand strategy before the ever vigilant competition in the footwear industry pounces on it and devours a sizable chunk of its market share by smartly playing with market dynamics and consumer perceptions.