Pathan brothers decide to listen to their heart

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | December 05, 2008
Tata Indicom has brought in the cricketing duo to endorse the brand


kids, the Pathan brothers would never listen to their teachers, parents or relatives, recounts their father, Mehboob Khan Pathan. But one day, they did listen to their hearts and excelled in what they do best, cricket, and were selected for the Indian cricket team.

Banking on this, Tata Indicom - the Tata Teleservices brand - has brought Yusuf Khan Pathan on board to endorse the brand along with Irfan Khan Pathan, who was already associated with the brand. A TV commercial featuring the two brothers has been launched as part of the ongoing 'Suno Dil Ki Awaaz' campaign.

Both the brothers carry the unique traits of being outstanding sportsmen. Yusuf Khan Pathan, an all-rounder, has made his mark as a hard-hitting batsman and off-spinner, while Irfan Khan Pathan is considered by many, with reason, as the most talented swing and seam bowler to emerge from India since Kapil Dev. They personify "new India", with their tremendous energy, self-confidence and the desire to achieve and excel.

Welcoming the brothers into the Tata Indicom family, Abdul Khan, vice-president, marketing, Tata Teleservices, says in an official statement, "Tata Indicom is a rapidly growing, youthful and energetic brand, having a strong emotional connect with its subscribers because it urges them to listen to their heart - 'Suno Dil Ki Awaaz'. The Pathan brothers portray similar attributes because they excel in their field with a strong 'dil ki awaaz' driving them. Their association with Tata Indicom truly personifies the brand identity."

Tata Indicom had undergone a major repositioning exercise, centred on a new tagline, 'Suno Dil Ki Awaaz' (Listen to Your Heart) in mid-2008. The tagline was arrived at after conducting extensive research across various segments and age groups in different parts of the country.

The campaign, which spins around the emotional quotient, is crafted to ensure that people believe in the brand. The essence of the brand positioning implies that Tata Indicom is not only urging consumers to follow their hearts, but is also listening to its customers.

Speaking to afaqs!, Khan reveals that, initially, it was Irfan Pathan's story and his rise to becoming a celebrated cricketer from the humble beginnings of a Vadodara mosque that acted as a key insight and gave birth to the concept of 'Suno Dil Ki Awaaz'. Subsequently, Tata Indicom filmed different celebrities, including Lalit Modi, Karan Johar and young actors such as Prachi Desai and Himesh Reshammiya, with this positioning.

"All of them have, in their life, listened to their heart and followed it," explains Khan.

Contract Advertising handles the creative duties of the brand. Raj Nair, senior vice-president and executive creative director, and Gopi Puthran, creative group head, have worked on this particular TVC. The film has been produced by Via Us Films and directed by Razy Ghei. The music has been composed by Dhruv Ghanekar (of Ashu-Dhruv fame). The voiceover of the father has been given by film and theatre personality SM Zaheer.

The TVC opens with the narrative of Mehboob Khan Pathan, the father of the brothers. He recounts how the duo would never listen to anybody when it came to playing cricket. Whether it was neglecting their studies and playing cricket, or playing inside the house, or even in the mosque, they were always at it. So much so that when relatives would throw in a word of caution regarding their choice of livelihood and profession (cricket), they would ignore them. But what they really listened and adhered to was what their heart said, concludes the emotional father.

Speaking to afaqs!, Nair explains how the campaign was conceptualised and executed. He says, "As a brand, Tata Indicom encourages people to pursue their dreams and listen to the call of their heart by being the gateway to their success and by providing the means to communicate clearly the voice of their heart. We presented a creative strategy based on 'Suno Dil Ki Awaaz' when we pitched for the Tata Indicom business."

When asked about the technique of slice-of-life advertising employed in the campaign, he says, "The Pathan brothers grew up in very modest surroundings. Their father used to work in a mosque in Vadodara. A couple of incidents in the film are inspired by events that actually occurred, which helped us conceptualise the film and write the moving narrative that is spoken by the father."

The media mix of the campaign will include TV and cinema as the lead media, supported by outdoor and retail. An innovative below-the-line package is also under development and discussion. The media duties are being handled by Lodestar Universal.

"The film has been shot at locations in Vadodara and Sankheda, which is a small town about two hours by road from Vadodara. Of the roughly 5,000 population in the town, around 4,999 were bystanders at the shoot. It was literally like the whole village had gathered to watch the shoot. So, there were crowd control issues," relates Nair.

© 2008 afaqs!