SpiceJet: Spreading the value message

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 08, 2010
The commercial is the latest in a series of films that portray avoidable situations faced by fliers who don't travel by SpiceJet.

Five year old airline SpiceJet has churned out yet another TV commercial that serves to take the overall tale of what-happens-when-you-don't-fly-SpiceJet forward.

The low cost carrier communicated aggressively on TV for the first time in January 2010, prior to which it relied primarily on magazines, press and outdoor avenues. At the time, four TVCs (25 seconds each) in Hindi and English were aired and each used brief, relatable plots to put forth desirable product offerings. 'Reverse testimony' was used as a communication strategy at the time. The memorable voiceovers (VO) for those TVCs were done by Boman Irani and Piyush Mishra.

Addressing the move to go big on TV, Samyukth Sridharan, chief commercial officer, SpiceJet, tells afaqs! via an email interaction, "The campaign helped in driving saliency and higher recall for the brand and also strengthened our value proposition. This in turn helped us garner a higher share of the market and drive preference in a commoditised space."

Recently, SpiceJet launched its first international flights to Colombo and Kathmandu. "The current communication is in sync with our philosophy of offering value to our customers and aims at promoting travel within the region," adds Sridharan.

Last year, SpiceJet broke its first brand campaign with the theme 'Get more when you fly'. Prior to this, the creatives for the airline were mainly schematic in nature. The current ad film takes this brand thought of 'value addition' forward.

Right from the outset, Indian fliers seeking value have been the target group (TG) for this campaign.

The commercial has been created by Contract Advertising; the agency has been handling the brand's creative duties since December 2008. The media duties for the account are handled by Madison.

The TVC - on air in Hindi as well as English - tells the story of a certain Mrs. Godbole, who wakes up at an unearthly hour to cook up a hot meal for her husband - who returns home after a flight. She is shown preparing and serving the meal grudgingly, while a VO accompanies this plot in a way that lends a humorous twang to the situation.

The message conveyed is that those who travel by SpiceJet enjoy in-flight hot meals and thus aren't a part of such post-travel situations at home. The VO for the Hindi ad has been done by Piyush Mishra, while TV personality Cyrus Broacha has lent his voice for the English ad.

The TVC is one of the two recent ones that impart the same proposition, namely, new hot Indian meals served by SpiceJet. The other film (Click here to view) is about a man who refuses to eat the cold airline food served on other budget airlines, leading to rather embarrassing consequences - owing to hunger, his stomach growls noisily as his co-passengers stare at him.

Both films are of 30 seconds duration and have been directed by Parikshit Vaidya. They've been produced by Anand Wagle and the production house is Full Circle.

The creative team comprises Nima Namchu, executive creative director and Uddalak Gupta and Sachin Talwalkar, creative directors. Credit for writing goes to Gupta and MS Sindhu; while art has been done by Talwalkar and Ayan Pal.

Besides TV, the media mix for this campaign includes print, outdoor, radio and the Internet. "We plan to communicate via suitable media channels as and when SpiceJet comes up with new value-added features," informs Gupta.

Do experts stomach this new commercial?

The campaign has received rather extreme, mixed responses from industry folk.

Sukumar Menon, founder, Black Swan Life says that the ad serves its purpose - of conveying that hot Indian meals are available for travellers - brilliantly. "Without being loud or exaggerated, the ad does exactly what it's supposed to do," he says, adding, "Cold food is, in fact, a drawback in small budget airlines, which makes the situation ring true. All through, the campaign has used instances that frequent fliers run into."

He adds that the casting is great and that both characters have acted exceedingly well. "Both have apt expressions such that in just a few seconds, the entire situation has been captured nicely," he explains.

"Also, the interaction between the husband and wife is very relatable - the situation is something we've all experienced or seen. The insight used is bang on!" Menon continues, making special mention about the director's skills and inputs.

He states that while the other recent film - featuring a hungry traveller - is good, too, this film is his favourite amongst all the SpiceJet films rolled out since January 2010.

In contrast, Brijesh Jacob, managing partner, White Canvas says that the previous set of SpiceJet ads was much better. In fact, he still clearly remembers the ads in which the honeymoon couple was sitting apart, communicating across the airline corridor, and the one in which the father brings home a lollipop for his kid. "Those films had the right ingredients - humour and perfect connect with the offering," he recalls.

As far as the current TVC goes, Jacob thinks aloud, "Are they funny? - No; will I remember them in a conversation with friends over a drink? - No.

"But the product offering is good - if I have understood it correctly, that is, 'You no longer have to buy packed sandwiches and meals in a low cost airline. You will get hot meals like we do in regular fare airlines'."

He feels that the film where the husband comes home is "much, much better" as compared to the "over-exaggerated growling stomach film".

"The husband-wife film is simple and to the point - a true insight, especially if you wanted a bargain and managed only the last flight out. The one with the hungry traveller is too corny! And what's with the narration? I think the narration is responsible for making the films so flat," complains Jacob, in whose opinion it would have been more intriguing if the VO did not explain what is going on and had let him discover the reason why the wife is upset or why people are looking at the guy who makes strange noises.

"But then again, if you lead the audience one way and then make the penny drop and explain otherwise, it leads to more interest," he reasons.

Overall, he labels the films as 'Ok' and calls them instances of briefs translated into films.

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