UTV Bindass takes the BTL route to announce its shows

By Chhavi Tyagi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 29, 2009
The channel goes on-ground to promote the new show, Beg Borrow Steal, and the second edition of Cash Cab

It's not just raining shows all around on TV, but it's also raining below-the-line campaigns to announce or promote shows. With a number of new shows hitting the small screen post-IPL, channels are in a quandary of sorts on how to attract eyeballs in those crucial initial weeks. And BTL is showing them how.

UTV Bindass has launched two on-ground campaigns to announce the arrival of its two shows -- Beg Borrow Steal, a new launch, and the second edition of Cash Cab. Beg Borrow Steal, a travel-cum-reality show, traces the journey of its contestants as they travel from one place to another, with a paltry sum of Rs 100, because of which they are compelled to beg, borrow or steal to reach their destination.

For Beg Borrow Steal, which premiered on the channel three weeks ago, and is on air every Saturday at 7 PM, an event was planned for media agencies. To announce the coming back of the quiz show, Cash Cab Series 2, a street campaign was rolled out.

Heather Gupta, channel head, UTV Bindass and UTV Movies, says, "Today, there is a lot of choice to the viewers on what to watch. Therefore, we can't just rely on on-air promos and outdoor hoardings to do the trick for our shows. We have to go out and get them to come and watch the show by taking the show on-ground to them."

For Cash Cab Series 2, which began on May 24, the channel's team went around dropping 1,000 wallets, with fake cash and fake credit cards inside, on the streets of Mumbai. These wallets were dropped at busy locations, such as Worli, Dadar, Matunga, Bandra, Colaba, Andheri and Borivali, to give a large number of passers-by the opportunity to pick them. The channel's message, 'Asli Cash Chahiye toh, tune into Cash Cab' (If you want real cash, then tune into Cash Cab), was printed on the fake credit cards.

The campaign was a two-day activity -- May 21-22. According to Gupta, it was not only a huge success, but also generated a strong buzz about the show. Some of the people also got lucky by stumbling on a few wallets that carried real cash -- a 100-rupee note -- exhorting them to watch the show with the message, 'Zyada Cash Chahiye toh, tune into Cash Cab' (If you want more cash, then tune into Cash Cab).

In another Cash Cab promotion, some people in Mumbai were given free cab rides to their workplaces. A few cabs toured locations such as Lower Parel, Elphinston Road Station, Nariman Point, Churchgate and CST station, which have share-cab systems.

For Beg Borrow Steal, the channel engaged a few media organisations in Delhi and Mumbai, such as Madison, ZenithOptimedia, Grey Worldwide, GroupM and Mid-Day. The target group for this promotion, however, were not viewers, as the channel's objective was to familiarise the media with the show's concept.

Gupta explains, "These are the guys who are going to buy media spots on the show for their clients. So, it is very important that they understand the concept of the programme. We thought of doing some experiential activity to engage them, instead of just sending a boring press release."

The channel did that with a customised version of the Snakes and Ladders game, wherein media executives competed against each other to reach the final destination. The participants also had to perform simple tasks when they stepped on the 'Beg Borrow Steal' block. The winners were given Spa vouchers and iPods; while with the runners-up won coupons redeemable at departmental stores. All the participants were also given goodies such as Bindass-Planet M T-shirts and bags and Bindass sling bags.

"Both the campaigns were so designed as to take the shows' proposition to our audience. The campaigns had, as their base, an extension of the shows' concepts," affirms Gupta.

Both the activities were conceptualised in-house and fine-tuned by Collective Heads, which was also responsible for executing the campaigns on-ground. While the Beg Borrow Steal promotions were carried out in both Delhi and Mumbai, the channel made a conscious decision to restrict the Cash Cab promotion to Mumbai, since the show takes place only in that city.

"The ideal situation would have been to have the show in every city, but it can't be done as it is a very expensive proposition. So, we took a conscious decision not to fool our audience. If we had taken the BTL campaign to other cities, then it might have created a wrong impression in the minds of our audience that the show itself is also coming to their cities," remarks Gupta.

© 2009 afaqs!