On the dot with IndiGo

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 21, 2010
IndiGo Airlines' new campaign centres on the brand's 'on-time performance' by pegging at the benefits of punctuality in day-to-day life

In a country where most people nearly make a virtue out of the notion of 'Indian Stretchable Time', IndiGo Airlines, in its new campaign, highlights the benefits of being on-time, while drawing attention to the brand's own track record of operational efficiency. The stylish execution of the campaign also serves to bring home the point that despite operating in the LCC category, IndiGo is chic - not cheap.

& #BANNER1 & #The ad, created by Delhi-based Wieden+Kennedy, shows how the airline's crew does their job on time, thereby enabling IndiGo's patrons to be punctual, which, in turn, eventually leads to the development of the country.

IndiGo's decision to choose 'on-time performance' as its communication peg stems from one simple fact: in the last four months, 90 per cent of the airline's flights have been on time, allowing IndiGo to anoint itself as the leading 'on-time' carrier. "The idea was to deliver the promise of an 'on-time airline' in an entertaining manner," says V Sunil, executive creative director, Wieden+Kennedy, about the creative idea.

In the LCC category, IndiGo Airlines claims to have the highest occupancy rate and has aggressive expansion plans for future. Currently operating a fleet of 27 aircrafts, the airline plans to take the number to 100 by 2013. And between 2015 and 2025, it plans to add another 150 planes to its existing list. "As the business grows, the message needs to evolve as well. So we wanted to do something bigger and 'motivational', rather than do mere feature-based ads," says Keshav Naidu, senior creative, Wieden+Kennedy.

Having picked 'on-time performance' as the key brand attribute, the objective before the agency was to take punctuality to the level where the nation's economy is the ultimate beneficiary of 'on-time performance'.

"Look at the general optimistic sentiment in the country," explains Naidu. "Today, people have more disposable income than ever before, youngsters have more career choices than ever before. Young India is more optimistic than ever before. IndiGo wanted to feed into this space and talk about a better and brighter India, while putting forward its own 'on-time' performance."

The marketing strategy behind the campaign is to position IndiGo as an airline that respects people and doesn't talk down to them, just because they are flying low-cost.

"At IndiGo, low cost and low fares don't mean low quality," says Aditya Ghosh, president, IndiGo. "On-time performance is core to our business, and the new TVC reinforces IndiGo's commitment to providing our fliers with an on-time, hassle-free experience at low fares."

The TVC can be seen across business, news, movie, general entertainment, sports, travel, lifestyle and regional channels. Although the main push is on TV, the campaign is also being supported with collateral, online and some direct messages.

Apart from Sunil and Naidu, the team at W+K which worked on the campaign includes Harvey B Brown, director, and Neha Puri in account management. The production house is Bang Bang Films, while the music credits go to M.Mat of Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, in partnership with Tarun & Vinayak.

Time tested

The commercial has elicited mixed responses from the advertising fraternity. While some appreciate the production value and art direction, others feel that it lacks the stickiness that makes for a memorable campaign.

Anirban Chaudhuri, head, strategic planning, Dentsu Communications, finds the campaign's single-minded focus on the value of being 'on-time' interesting. "IndiGo being the leading 'on-time' carrier for some time now, the effort has been to claim the value as the core of the brand in a stylish fashion; rather than trying to say we are the best low-cost airline with an impeccable on-time performance," he says.

Chaudhuri does, however, feel that the execution is a bit wanting. And although he thinks the campaign reinforces the positive 'on-time' perception that people have about IndiGo, the campaign lacks elements that would enable it to last long in public memory. "Rather than showing a mere chain reaction of being on-time, it could have been exciting to peg the campaign on universal truths like the 'value of time', where the insight would have touched people deep down," he feels.

Nilesh Vaidya, executive creative director, Euro RSCG India, gives high marks for production value and art direction, but questions the campaign's idea.

On the other hand, Amar Wadhwa, executive director, CrystalEyes, feels the ad has not been able to create the magic that IndiGo has created in the skies. "This is certainly not the first or the last ad on the 'on-time' proposition in the airline industry. It does justice to the proposition by repeating it over and over again, but does grave injustice to what I think is the best domestic airline. It has made 'on time' extremely transactional.
The execution has the brief written all over it."