afaqs!

Aircel to the rescue with its functional innovation

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In OOH News | July 20, 2009
From the IPL Scoreboard at Mahim Causeway to an inflated raft at Milan Subway, Aircel has found innovative, yet useful, promotional methods

Aircel was launched in select circles in Maharashtra early this month; and the launch was accompanied by a variety of innovations and attractive outdoor promotions.

Be it the 'Just arrived' boxes at the airport, the projection of the logo on the landmark Gateway of India or the IPL Scoreboard put up at the Mahim Causeway, Aircel has managed to create an unbeatable buzz.

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Interestingly, a lot of its innovations are useful. For instance, the IPL scoreboard enabled commuters at the busy Mahim Causeway to keep track of the latest scores.

Recently, Aircel put up an inflated raft at Milan Subway in Mumbai, which sees a lot of flooding every year. The message simply said, "In case of emergency, cut rope".

The raft came in handy on July 13 and 14, when heavy rains lashed the city. People stranded at the subway used the raft to move around and men in Aircel branded T-shirts were also available to help commuters. The idea was appreciated so much that Aircel will now take it to Delhi and Kolkata as well.

The raft idea was conceptualised and executed by Primesite, Mudra group's OOH division, for Aircel. Aneil 'Andee' Deepak, senior vice-president, Primesite says, "The trigger for this idea was the news that Mumbai will witness the highest tides in the last 50 years and the Met Department's subsequent admission that Mumbai will flood and that they can do nothing about it, given the city's infrastructure. Aircel relishes its role as a solution provider, rather than a mute bystander. We decided to do something about it, and hence, the idea."

Andee attributes Aircel's innovative approach throughout to the fact that the brand is, quite literally, the 12th man to enter the telecom market. "If the 12th man has to make it to the team, then he has to do things that'll get people talking and innovation was the only way."

He shares that ideas will drive Aircel in OOH. The agency has even set up an 'Innovations Bank' for Aircel, where clutter-breaking ideas are being conceived and planned consistently.

For instance, Aircel branded airport placards had names of celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, which immediately grabbed people's attention. Directional signages were also put up, as was a tree-like structure, with multiple Aircel branded boxes.

Andee adds, "I've never seen as many innovations on any other brand on such a consistent basis. The circle teams at Aircel have been pushing us to raise the bar on innovations. We are trying to create 'opportunities to chat' and people are actually talking about them, so it's been quite a success."

For the record, the Aircel group is a joint venture between Maxis Communications Berhad of Malaysia and Apollo Hospital Enterprise of India -- Maxis holds a majority stake of 74 per cent.

Aircel commenced operations in 1999 and has gained a foothold in 18 circles: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Assam, North East, Orissa, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Kolkata, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, UP (West), UP (East), Maharashtra and Goa and Mumbai. It has recently gained an allocation of additional spectrum by the Department of Telecom for 13 new circles across India.

The company has over 20 million customers in the country.

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