British Airways talks the Indian way

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | November 21, 2005
In its first attempt at mass communication in India, British Airways puts out a TVC that declares that the world is welcoming Indians with a 'Namaste'

What can be a better & #BANNER1 & # way to welcome an Indian, than with folded hands. And British Airways has just done the same to reach out to the Indian outbound travellers.

In the latest TVC for British Airways, one can see people from different parts of the world welcoming India with folded hands in the traditional 'Namaste' gesture. And the tagline goes: 'For India, the world is waiting… British Airways'.

The TVC opens with a little boy gazing out of a glass door at an airport. The next shot shows a schoolgirl hopping happily; London Bridge forms the backdrop. A French chef gestures to her, calling her.

The next shot is of a British female stockbroker busy on her cellphone. The schoolgirl attempts to fold her hands in a 'Namaste'. The stockbroker, though busy on the phone, shows her how to do it the right way. The next scene shows the chef folding his palms. The stockbroker follows suit. And the girl is shown doing a perfect 'Namaste', bowing her head slightly.

Next, a Chinese family is shown standing with their hands folded. An American basketball player also has his hands folded, as does an artiste at the end of his act.

Cut to the little kid at the airport. A hand taps him on his shoulder. He turns and sees an air hostess, who is saying 'Namaste' to him with folded hands. The boy replies first with a 'Yo' and then a 'Namaste'. The voiceover comes on: 'For India, the world is waiting... British Airways'.

Abhinav Dhar, executive director, M&C Saatchi, India, says, "General perception was that British Airways does not focus on Indian travellers. And the challenge was to this myth by communicating this message that the airlines was taking various initiatives to ensure comfort of Indian travellers."

Kamal Oberoi, chairman and managing director, M&C Saatchi, India, says, "What makes the commercial unique is its simplicity, which touches one's heart."

Oberoi adds, "We used people of different nationalities to deliver the message that the entire world is welcoming the Indian travelers, who has now gained importance in the global arena. It even establishes the fact that the international carrier offers great connectivity."

However one is bound to feel that the 'Namaste' style is quite similar to that of ubiquitous Maharaja of India that also welcomes the world to India with folded hands.

Oberoi clarifies, "Folding hands is just an endearing gesture to convey a popular Indian tradition."

Dhar adds, "Folding hands brings out the warmth when one culture acknowledges the other. It is just a creative device."

The music composed by Rajat Dholakia accompanying the commercial highlights also upholds the Indianness. The commercial has been filmed by Nikhil Advani of 'Kal Ho Na Ho' fame.

Advani says, "The trick was on that one line of the commercial that got me to do the commercial. For India, the world is's a simple idea based on the line."

The tagline was written by Naren Kaimal, now executive creative director, Dentsu Communications. He says, "The brief was to be brutally simple and that is what is reflected in the uncomplicated script. The simplicity gets translated on screen and that is why the ad strikes a chord with people."

Advani adds, "The music and the casting were really important factors for this commercial. It was tough to convince the people involved that we needed to use an Indianised form of the British Airways theme music." For the record, BA uses the 'Flower' duet from the opera, 'Lakme', as its theme music.

Advani continues, "I actually sent the 'Swades' soundtrack to get home my point that Indian musical instruments, especially the 'shehnai', could be used innovatively in the commercial.

"I was also clear that we needed everyday people, not models. A warm smile was the deciding factor, as we were looking for faces that would bring a smile to the viewer's face."

© 2005 agencyfaqs!

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