Surely you have seen the new Vodafone advertisement, with the two “cool” old couple, parasailing, riding a bike, getting a tattoo and all in the hippest place in India, Goa.
But did you know that the couple shown in the ad is actually a celebrated couple, both accomplished classical dancers, running their own dance academy in Chennai. They are Padma Bhushan awardees Shanta and Vannadil Pudiyaveettil Dhananjayan. The couple, married for over 50 years is in their 70s and it is their son who ‘discovered’ them. Their elder son works in Ogilvy and his agency was looking for an old couple for this ad. After a long process of hunting, it was the son who suggested that his parents could give it a try. They gave an audition and the couple’s chemistry was palpable and they got the job!
The couple, despite being Padma Bhushan awardees says that they never ever got so much stardom. Post this ad, they say wherever they go, they get recognized and are known as the “Vodafone couple”. Most walk up to them and say that they loved them in the ad and find them to be very “cool.”
So what the Padma Bhushan and over 50 years of dancing could not get them, this ad campaign has done. That’s the power of TV! Sad but good that they got recognition at least now!