By Malay Desai
By: JWT India
The commercial for a new housing portal is made to resemble a horror film from the 80s. It begins with a couple driving to a deserted location,complete with the movie title and typical music. They encounter a watchman there, an old keeper who later turns out to be a killer ghost. Their walk in the house is filled with spooky moments, such as spiders, creaky doors and bats. Later as the killer watchman turns into a ghost and casts a spell on the lady, ‘Peter’ the man gets an enlightened ‘key’ over his forehead, before flashing out his smartphone with the Commonfloor app. ‘Bhula do darr, yahan milega ghar,’ the narrator says.
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From the producers of the silliest tagline of the year yet comes this ode to the ugly 80s, Benaam Ghar. It’s the first splash of the company that’s been making its space in the property portals market from six years,over a year after it received a $7.5 million Series C investment. That said, the production costs of this film don’t seem even one per cent of that.
Realty portals today are clamouring for the attention of the 30 somethings with incomes worth some EMIs, and it there’s enough attention coming likewise as well. To make things interesting, even your OLX and Quickr have jumped in the fray, although we don’t quite know how many are buying/renting homes through them as opposed to 99acres or makaan.com.
To sweep the clutter away then, a totally different approach was necessary, especially when the firm was promoting its app, something we’re getting used to seeing on primetime. The Ramsay route, quite literally, is worth spending your minute or so on (the director’s cut is 90 seconds), because the treatment is amusing. Anyone grown up watching the Khooni Dracula genre on local cable channels (Zee Horror Show and Aahat were much classier in comparison) will get the title art, the jarring zoom-ins and tacky/hilarious ‘special FX’ of flying bats and colourful spells. After grabbing all that attention, the film cleverly moves to the brand, the saviour. The smartphoneis the hero here, not ‘Peter’, and it banishesthe evil of Badar Ghat.
The background score adds to the treatmentbut it is the narrator who tells the tale and winds up with a punchline that explains the spooky route. As someone who’s hunted for homes, I agree the experience can be awkward, and leaking walls and pigeonholed bedrooms are scarier than Ramsay’s ghosts.
The film did make me visit the site, and that’s a job well done. I doubt I’ll ever download any property app, mainly because one cannot decide where to live based on pictures on your four-inch phone.
(The Director’s cut of this film is funnier, watch it on bit.ly/ViewTubeAug18)
Your regular dose on the shifts in the social media universe
Did you #icebucket it too?
Every once in a while, a social media trend breaks out and snowballs into something so huge in the middle of the week that we feel it pointless reporting it to you on a Monday. Nevertheless, in case you want a crisp summary of the ALS Ice-bucket challenge, here: The concept isn’t new, several ‘cold water’ challenges have been carried out in America for the benefit of firemen, special Olympians and more causes. The focus shifted to the motor disorder in June-July this year with a Golf Channel getting a celeb to do it. Now, hundreds of people across the world, from Justin Bieber to DalerMehndi have done it, and reportedly donated to the cause. Our hat-doff to SonakshiSinha though, for recognisingin her video that a bucket of water is valuable in our desh. And in case you haven’t figured yet, another full-form of ALS doing the rounds is Americans Losing Sanity. +1.
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Indians high on Quora and Omegle
Our new favourite leisurely reading website Scroll.in reports that by the end of this year, Indians will overtake Americans in number of Internet users. The story however is about a few social networks which have a stupendous number of Indian users already. The report quotes internet traffic engine Alexaand says that Quora, the question-answer based social network has more Indian visitors than Americans. No really, sign up, post a curious question and find out for yourself how it may be answered quickly, mostly by a desi only. Then, Omegle, the anonymous internet relay chat site that’s spurned off several offshoots in the past few years has nearly as many users from the US as here. Which also means that if you log on, there are high chances of you running into a webcam of a horny pot-bellied uncle from Bhopal.
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Happy New Year trailer claims big numbers
It’s been less than 10 days since the launch of the trailer of Farah Khan’s film Happy New Year starring Shah Rukh Khan, but it’s made news, with the producers Red Chilliesclaiming that it has reached seven crore people over seven digital platforms. How it helps us want to watch the movie more, we don’t quite get, but apparently this is the language one must speak for the box-office figures obsessed fans nowadays. We also read that HNY’s was the first trailer to be released on Whatsapp, and would want to correct that it was the much smaller film Bobby Jasoos which did it, and with a clever campaign. Anyway, while FK, SRK and co. are going to spam us over the coming weeks, we will plug ourselves only in to whatever’s coming from the Vishal Bhardwaj stable.
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