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Becoming the butt of a joke

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | August 29, 2006
The latest TVC made by Euro RSCG for travel portal Travelguru conveys its message in a short but effective manner


Probably one of & #BANNER1 & # the most embarrassing moments faced by a person is being laughed at publicly. Euro RSCG has used this insight in its new ad for travel portal Travelguru. Euro RSCG has not only made the point about Travelguru offering cheaper tickets than its competitors, it has also done the job in a remarkable 15 seconds.

"Yes, that's all we were allowed!" exclaims Siddhartha Bindra, creative director, Euro RSCG. "The first brief we were given by the client was to keep the duration of the film as short as possible."

This is quite a challenge for any adman, as consumers are increasingly hard-pressed for time and not given to patronising long ads.

The story in the ad film goes like this: Two men are sitting at an airport lounge. One of them starts laughing uncontrollably, much to the discomfort of the other. The other person tries to divert his mind by reading a newspaper, hoping that the fellow's laughing fit will pass. But that doesn't happen.

In between bouts of laughter, the fellow manages to ask, "How much did you say you paid for your ticket?" Before the other man can respond, he resumes his loud guffaws. The other man is speechless, embarrassed, perhaps because he paid a much higher price for the same ticket. A voiceover concludes: "Everyone knows where to find the best travel deals. Get smart. Get on to Travelguru. Great Deals. Always."

Today, it is common for air travellers to compare the price that they have paid for their air tickets. With various price tags for the same tickets, the one who gets the lowest price is considered to be the smart guy and the one who has paid a higher price is scoffed at, declared a loser.

"Travelguru is a late entrant in the market which already had a few established players, such as Makemytrip," Bindra says. "Therefore, the communication had to be short, direct and clutter-breaking all at the same time."

Euro RSCG thought of several ideas before zeroing in on this one. "We could have gone with the strategy of simply talking about the offer of cheaper fares," Bindra reveals. "But then we thought, why not let the consumer decide for himself what the smarter option is."

It was a conscious strategy to use slapstick humour in the ad for the agency believes that humour has a deeper connect and delivers the core message in the most impactful manner. "So, we thought of this situation where the guy who doesn't log on to Travelguru to buy his ticket is the butt of the joke," Bindra explains.

Travelguru is a comprehensive travel portal and, apart from providing good deals on airfares, it also provides its customers with deals on hotel accommodation and holiday packages in India and abroad. But according to Devyani Nagpal, chief marketing officer, Travelguru, the reason why only airfares have been highlighted in the commercial is because air travel forms the first phase of any travel plan for a customer.

Nagpal adds that the idea behind the TVC was to pull in consumers from other travel portals, not from airline websites. "We wanted to lure customers into trying the cheapest air tickets, which is Travelguru's forte," she says.

A hotel lobby was passed off as an airport lounge. Says Priya Thakran, producer, PS Films (the production house that made the film), "We had to find the perfect place where people would be talking to each other about certain common topics. We considered shooting inside an aeroplane or somewhere outside an airport. In both situations, we realised that people would be more reluctant to come out of their personal space and interact."

Eventually, the airport waiting lounge seemed to be the ideal interaction point as people would have more time to make small talk while they were waiting to board a plane.

2006 agencyfaqs!