The Jumping Zoozoos
In the Indian ad industry, the name of this ad appeared in a completely different way. It opened up many other ways of creativity. Much else like Merchandise Events was shaped around one idea – and that was the central idea of the ad. Prakash Verma and his team created this memorable and exciting ad and this ad was Vodafone Zoozoo.
This idea came to the mind of Rajiv Rao and his team during the first season of the IPL. The main idea was to broadcast a new ad every day. It was decided to create this ad series on the problems of day to day life and on routine pressure. It is really hard to execute something which seems easy. The work was tough and challenging. In the beginning, Prakash and his team decided to create about six different Ads. ‘At this time we needed 30 different events or ideas that were out of human emotions and could showcase Vodafone’s services. I firmly needed the unique and interesting ideas for the ads. The Sketch of Zoozoo’s character started together for 30 different stories. In the end we made an egg-headed, weird but cute zoozoo.’
This rather unique name of zoozoo was also the product of Rajiv’s mind. They wanted to name something that was funny and people would immediately remember. There was no logic behind the name and thus the name ‘Zoozoo’ came into existence.
Is Vodafone zoozoo an Animation or drawing or something else?
After the script and all the other preparations were completed, the real game was about to begin. It was the beginning of a difficult journey to make zoozoos reach the masses. And boom … the real twist was right there. After watching this ad of Vodafone Zoozoos, almost everyone had a first thought about how this might have happened and they all got a natural answer, ‘Animation’. But this answer is totally wrong because zoozoos were not animation but living people! Rajiv’s vision was to create a live animation and he succeeded. After seeing the people wearing special suits almost made us believe that it was just an animation and nothing else! How creative!
After several efforts and some last-minute changes, the agency called ‘Closet’ prepared the Zoozoo suit. The suits were made of thick fabric to prevent wrinkles. There were no eyes or mouths on the face in the suit. Interestingly, Zoozoo’s various funny expressions found in ads were actually the cut-outs, which were also applied to the face separately. For this, they prepared several cut-outs showing different gestures such as laughter, anger, different dances.
“For two reasons, I decided to shoot in Africa. One, I wanted to do something new and different so I chose a different place and secondly we needed a certain kind of animated feel and look for this ad. Due to lack of time and technology, it was almost impossible to find those resources in India. It was all readily available in South Africa. We then auditioned for about a thousand local theatre actors and selected six of them for the ad”says Prakash.
On the screen, zoozoos were to be shown smaller than their actual size. For this, he used a cinematic trick to change shooting speed. He finally decided to shoot at 20 frames per second. To create a mental image, he made sets and props larger than normal and spray-painted the gray colour in the backdrop to distract anyone from the zoozoos.
Which language do zoozoos speak? Any guesses?
The story behind the language of zoozoos is also an interesting one. While performing such a stressful task, you need some entertainment for yourself also. For this ad, Prakash stayed away from his house for many years and he missed home-made Mallu food. Thus, the language that zoozoos speak is actually Malayalam in reverse which sounds normal but gibberish one at the same time offering fun feeling.
The shooting of 30 different ads took place in about ten days. It was enough to distract the animators a bit and leave the film-makers in awe. Ads got a massive response just after the launch, the Indian cricket lovers warmly welcomed these ads.
Thus, Vodafone Zoozoo became the unforgettable ad campaign in the advertising agency.