afaqs!

Tata Sky turns English teacher

By Poojya Trivedi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | January 18, 2010
Tata Sky's new ad promotes one of its interactive services, Actve English

DTH player Tata Sky recently rolled out Actve English which aims at enhancing conversational English skills amongst Indians, particularly housewives who feel uncomfortable while speaking in English.

"Actve English teaches English to housewives from the comforts of their home using situations that she can relate to," says Vikram Mehra, chief marketing officer, Tata Sky. The service focuses on conversational skills, grammar, pronunciation and vocabulary by using a comic strip approach to depict various situations, to make it simple and easy to learn.

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According to Tata Sky's customer research, many women, particularly housewives, feel the need to learn English. However, a majority of them lack time and the confidence to join a coaching centre. They want a service that could teach them spoken English to overcome day-to-day situations, like attending their children's school PTA meetings, in the comfort of their homes and at their own free time.

Created by Ogilvy India and directed by Vivek Kakkad, the ad film for Tata Sky Actve English opens on a woman drying cloths and narrating of her issues while conversing in English and how it used to embarrass her (all spoken in broken English at this point). She goes on to comment on how her son introduced her to the Tata Sky's English learning service, when she suddenly breaks into talking fluent and flawless English.

Anup Chitnis, executive creative director, Ogilvy India, says, "The whole idea behind the ad was to motivate housewives to use it to learn and brush up their skills on English language or learn conversational English."

The brief given to the creative team was to create a spot that would appeal housewives and get them to pay Rs 30/month for the service. "Casting was one of the crucial factors of the ad since we were looking for a normal face that would appeal the target segment", says Chitnis.

The creative team got Candia Fernandes to plays the role of the wannabe English speaking woman in the ad. She has also acted in the ads for Britannia's 50:50, Pure It water purifier and Bru coffee.

For the record, Aamir Khan has been the brand ambassador for Tata Sky since 2008 and was recently seen trying his hands at puppetry to promote on-demand features of Tata Sky Active. Earlier also, Khan along with Gul Panag, has been featured in several of Tata Sky's ads.

The Actve English ad has two versions, a 30 sec spot and a 40 sec spot.

Well pronounced?

The ad seems to have caught the fancy of consumers and the ad fraternity alike. Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, chief creative officer, Rediffusion Y&R, tells afaqs!, "The ad is quite interesting and grabs attention. Also I think it has fantastic casting the actor has acted very well. Also it is a very right product for the Tata Sky and people in India want to get their diction and pronunciation right."

Amardeep Singh, executive creative director, M&C Saatchi, says "The ad clearly tells you the benefit of the product and is produced nicely. However, it reminds me of an old series of Bajaj Scooty ads where rural people start speaking fluent English after seeing the scooty. Those were very catchy and funny."

The service has already got about 25,000 subscribers since Jan 2010, when the company started charging. Actve English is available 24 hours on Tata Sky Actve.

Actve English involves principle a character Kavita, housewife, who constantly finds herself in situations where she is forced to speak the language but is not confident. With the help of the guide, she learns how to deal with these situations effectively.

Tata Sky the direct to home satellite also provides several interactive services under the trademark Actve. These services include Actve Mall, Actve Cooking, Actve Wizkids, Actve Learning, Actve Stories, Actve Topper, Actve Games, Actve STAR News, Actve Darshan and Actve Doordarshan.