BPL celebrates becoming 13

By Abhishek Chanda , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | October 27, 2008
The brand has launched a signature campaign to announce its 13th anniversary

BPL & #BANNER1 & # Mobile, Mumbai's longest standing mobile service provider, has completed 13 years. To announce this achievement, the company has launched a signature, single ad campaign across Mumbai. The creative duties of the brand are handled by McCann Erickson Mumbai, while the media duties are handled by Maxus.

Speaking exclusively to afaqs! about the campaign, Arif Ali, head, brand and communications, BPL Mobile, says, "This is a purely brand led and imagery driven initiative, designed to serve our objective to announce this milestone and acknowledge and thank the contribution of our subscribers in helping us hit this landmark."

Click on the image to enlargeElaborating on the brief given to the agency, he says, "We wanted to leverage our 13th year as an occasion to convey our anniversary to the public at large as well as thank them for their support. To do this, we wanted to portray the world view of a 13 year old, carrying forward an earlier version of the same creative strategy used for our ninth anniversary. However, we wanted a very stylish, contemporary ad that would begin the process of rebuilding and regaining the brand equity for BPL Mobile. We have a six-eight month window set for ourselves to accomplish this and then review our achievements."

For those who are wondering if there is a specific reason associated with announcing the 13 year anniversary - whether superstitious or a feat of sorts in terms of revenue or subscriber base - Ali clarifies, there's none.

Arif Ali

Ajit NayarWhy did BPL choose a 13 year old boy as the face of the campaign? Again, BPL has many firsts to its credit: the first cellular service provider to offer the lowest lifetime prepaid; the first to offer Re 1 calling for both local and STD calls; and the first GSM operator to offer the Mobile Tracker service in India. Is there a connection somewhere?

Ajit Nayar, senior creative director, McCann Erickson, says, "BPL wanted to celebrate its 13th year in a dramatic manner. Apart from announcing the anniversary, we had the task of creating a campaign that would retain BPL's top of mind recall. So, the creative leap from our end was seeing things from the point of view of a 13 year old. There are a lot of 'firsts' attached to turning 13. For example, your first crush, first date, first mobile, first trek, so on and so forth. The copy is reflective of these thoughts. After all, it 'feels good to be 13'."

The brand has been portrayed as youthful and edgy in the campaign. It uses stylish photography, a handpicked location and an unconventional young boy - all deliberately to achieve its objective. It is targeted at key opinion makers as well as the youth in general. The overall media mix comprises premium print and OOH properties.

When asked about competition from other major players and the communication strategies adopted to tackle them, Ali replies assertively, "BPL Mobile is essentially a Mumbai based operator, with a subscriber base of over 1.7 million in the city. So, it doesn't make sense for us to use national television as a medium to communicate the brand. Sans TV, we deploy our campaigns in all possible media vehicles and engage in all kinds of activities that our competition would also typically do, to compete with their 30 second TV blitzkriegs."

Last year, BPL Mobile had launched the 'Get in the Loop' campaign to refresh and re-energise and give itself a more contemporary look and feel. The campaign was created keeping the youth in mind, since they form the provider's largest consumer base. The brand had used both above-the-line and below-the-line activities and had also engaged in an interesting outdoor activity, in which a gang of youngsters were given the opportunity to appear on a billboard in Mumbai.