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Survival in the time of the new normal

The Coronavirus global pandemic-inflicted lockdown has changed all things for all people. In India, with no certainty about when the lockdown will be lifted, ‘stay at home’ and ‘work from home’ have gone beyond fashionable mantras and become lifestyle imperatives.

People are slowly,even if painfully, learning to adapt to this new normal. But, especially for the youth, weeks of watching TV, surfing the net, cooking, cleaning, sleeping… and then repeating the same cycle over and over, have exhausted all indoor options of entertainment and is slowly ushering in a sense of utter boredom and restlessness. Suddenly, everyone is craving the life they took for granted – simple things like going out for a stroll or a spin, meeting friends, shopping…

In this scenario, even the silver linings – such as purer air, cleaner environment, Mother Nature reclaiming her space through flora and fauna – are turning into minor irritants in the minds of bored youth. The positives are degenerating into negatives!

Where there was a challenge, Water Communications saw an opportunity to leverage the situation for their client’s brand,Cornitos Nachos. The agency created an engaging film for the crisps brand, simply by empathising with the target audience in their lockdown situation. Creatively and resourcefully too – the entire film shoot, production and editing was carried out without compromising any of the stringent lockdown rules of social distancing and leaving home.

The huge lockdown negative of boredom or boriyat, was turned around to become the hook and the positive of the film.

In gist, the film revolves around a group of young friends, separated from each other because of the lockdown; each feeling like a prisoner in their own home. In expression, word and mannerism, the utter boredom of the situation oozes out of them. Over a concall, each expressing their views on the current situation in tones of boredom, laced with sarcasm. Tired of things they once enjoyed, even positive things have become negative irritants, simply because they are overwhelmed and overdosed by them.

Enter Cornitos Nachos and everything changes.Its analogy of different, delicious and exciting flavours translates into adding fun and zing to their boring lives. Suddenly there are options to doing routine things in fun ways. Suddenly they are enjoying their stay at home, and beating the quarantine blues. Suddenly life is beautiful!

Conceptualised by Water Communications and produced by The Moon Studioz, the entire film has been shot during lockdown. Each scene involves only one artist in their own home, thus staying true to the social distancing and stay-at-home protocol. Complete post production of the film was also handled from respective homes – grading, editing, music etc.

The film, created entirely during lockdown, is a powerful statement in itself. The media itself has become the message! Boldly proclaiming to the industry and world, that creativity and ingenuity know no boundaries – even when, ironically, they are restricted by severe boundaries. There may be a restriction on movement; but movement of creative juices remains unstoppable! The world may have paused for the moment, but Water Communications has proved yet again (to paraphrase Steven Hawking) that adaptation is the highest form of intelligence.

In working around severe limitations of movement, location and resources, Water Communications and The Moon Studioz have, with this lockdown film, opened up further horizons in what may fast become a new trend in the film business – creating high engagement films on low budgets and within high resource restrictions. This could become the new normal, even beyond the lockdown era.

Finally, staying with the first principles of marketing communications, Water Communications has kept its client’s brand in the TG’s mindspace – more than that, cheerfully engaging and empathising with the audience by putting a positive spin on a negative situation.

To draw from Charles Darwin this time, for both agency and brand, survival in the time of the new normal, is all about who can be the nimblest in ideation and communication.

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