Airtel recently launched a newer version of its calling card service for NRIs in the US, Airtel Call Home. To promote the service, Airtel is running an online video contest with the theme, It Happens Only in India.
The contest is being hosted on the website, www.ithappensonlyinindia.net, in association with Rediff.com's video sharing site, Rediff iShare. The contest, which has been on for the past eight weeks, invites participants to upload videos that depict something uniquely Indian. The videos are then rated by other visitors on the site and the most rated videos win weekly prizes. The bumper prize at the end of the contest is a return ticket to India.
Explaining the contest's concept, Arun Bhardwaj, head, calling card services, Bharti Airtel, told agencyfaqs!, "Our research indicated that what NRIs miss most about India are the things that are unique to the country such as the local trains and the streets, so we decided to go with this theme."
According to Bhardwaj, since the Airtel Call Home service is being distributed online and the customers are Internet savvy, the telecom company has launched the contest only on the Internet.
He adds that Rediff.com is popular with NRIs in the US and thus the tieup with the site. "Also, Rediff iShare gave us more control over the content, which we could not have had on a YouTube." Though Airtel received more than 300 videos in response to the contest, not all of them have been uploaded as they have been screened for appropriateness.
To promote the contest, Airtel is running banners on Rediff.com and also sending out emailers to its customer base. The company has put up postings on social networks, Orkut and Facebook, to invite people to participate in the contest. It has also created a community on Google Groups.
Bhardwaj maintains that the goal of the contest was not entirely commercial, but to involve people in sharing what is "uniquely Indian". "Through the contest, we are not compelling anyone to use our service. Therefore, even the URL of the site does not mention our brand name... the generation today does not want hard sell, and viral marketing is the best way to appeal to them," he says.
Airtel Call Home has around 1,50,000 subscribers and Bhardwaj hopes to double that number in the coming six months.