SpiceJet: Spicing it up on TV

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | January 21, 2010
SpiceJet launches its first-ever set of television commercials, and tries to break the clutter of hospitality-based or price point-led advertising in this category

After Air Deccan and Indigo, it's time for SpiceJet to go the TVC route. The airline makes its TV debut five years after it began operations in India. For all this while, its advertising relied heavily on magazines, press and outdoor media.

On what made the low cost carrier (LCC) take the leap, Anish Srikrishna, senior vice-president and head of marketing, the aim is to improve the brand image and induce top of mind recall.

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While speaking to afaqs!, he says, "We are already a known name among the frequent fliers. According to our research, most of our customers keep coming back to us. And it's not solely because of the price of the tickets, but also for different services and features that they are provided with while flying with us. We felt it's high time we should go public with this and announce the SpiceJet story in a subtle, but interesting way."

A set of five commercials of 25 seconds each, in Hindi and English, will kick start the campaign. The TVCs are part of a brand campaign that targets a wide base of new and existing customers, using multiple platforms such as TV, print , radio, out-of-home, and digital media.

The commercials will go live from January 25, 2010, prominent Hindi and English, news, infotainment and movie channels. The following months will see several other TVCs from the SpiceJet stable.

The airline has already spent Rs 1crore to launch these five commercials and is set to spend Rs 8-9 crore more on the forthcoming TVCs. Srikrishna says, "We have an ad budget of 1-2 per cent of our annual turnover. For this fiscal, our ad spend will be around Rs 30-32 crore, which will include our advertising and marketing initiatives, together with our alliances. Majority of the spend will go for ATL activities, while BTL activities will be purely need based."

SpiceJet is also taking baby steps in the digital space and plans to intensify its efforts in the days to come.

As per SpiceJet, its TG is urban, male, socio economic class B1 to A1, aged 25-40, residing in the top 22 cities of India. "The market size is close to 100 million people; while current estimates claim that only 6-8 million people actually took a flight in 2008-09. These commercials will help us tap this market and reach out better to the present and future flying population," explains Srikrishna.

The creative thought

Conceptualized by Contract Advertising and produced by Bappaditya Roy Productions, the TVCs talk of services provided by SpiceJet to its customers, such as taking care of unaccompanied minors for no extra charge; or carrying out Web check-ins amidst its wide network and reach.

The five-film campaign uses a 'reverse testimonial' route to drive home the benefits of flying in SpiceJet. Each film illustrates, with gentle irony, the travails of a non-SpiceJet traveller. The stories are spun around characters such as busy couple, Mr and Mrs Sharma and their babysitter, Maya; Solitaire champ Mr Gupta; newly married Gaurav Patel, frequent visitor of Daman, Y I Kutty; and loving father, Monty Singh.

A voiceover describes each character's situation and the films end by highlighting the fact that the person had the choice of flying SpiceJet, which would have solved his or her problem. Boman Irani and Piyush Mishra have lent their voices to the narratives of these films.

The brief given to the agency was that SpiceJet wanted to be known for its services and would target customers who have blind faith in other airlines, or have not yet experienced SpiceJet. Also, the emphasis was on shifting focus from price-point led and hospitality-based advertising to breaking the clutter.

"We wanted to make a compelling case for SpiceJet and convey our message in a tongue-in- cheek manner. We purposely avoided clichés, such as showcasing the hospitality factor or the pretty face of an air hostess. Instead, we chose to put up some real-life stories -- actual situations that may happen to any of us during our daily lives," says Uddalak Gupta, creative director, Contract.

It took around two weeks for the creative team to create the commercials. The films were shot at different locations in Mumbai and Pune.

While talking to afaqs! about the commercial, Bhaskar Ghosh, vice-president, account management, Contract, says, "Our challenge was to get rid of the public perception that the LCCs are just a means to travel from point A to point B. Thus, while conceptualizing the commercial, we purposely highlighted the value add-ons. Some of the features highlighted may be common to other airlines, but have not been highlighted much earlier; and are thus availed by only 2-3 per cent fliers."

"In a subtle tone, we wanted to make our TG realise what and how much extra they can get by flying SpiceJet. Hence, the tagline, 'Get more when you fly'," he adds.