Cleartrip's reality ad

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 25, 2011
To connect better with the consumer, online travel agency, Cleartrip's recent campaign focuses on the traveller's purpose, rather than merely talking about discounts and holiday packages.

A getaway is always welcome! Whether it is a vacation or a business tour, a trip, which breaks your routine, is a refreshing change. And, behind every trip is a purpose. Online travel agency, Cleartrip, in its latest campaign, explores just this: Every trip has a purpose.

In a segment in which communication, more often than not, is just promoting value holiday packages, discounts and contests, Cleartrip chose to connect better with the traveller and strengthen its mass positioning with a campaign that associates directly with the consumer, without the regular clichés.

Based on research and consumer insights, the television campaign created by Publicis Capital features real travellers from different places talk about their purpose of travel. Over 100 films were shot across the country, which were shortlisted to 80, and finally 40.

A comprehensive 75-second film, a montage of the interviews broke initially, and currently a 45-second montage and around 20 films of 10-seconds each are on air.

The creative team at Publicis Capital behind the campaign includes Emmanuel Upputuru, national creative director; creative directors, Tanuja Goel and Vivek Nair, Ayan Das, associate creative director, and Seby John, copywriter.

Bauddhayan Mukherji, director and founding member, Little Lamb Films, has directed the films.

About the campaign, Niraj Seth, chief marketing officer, Cleatrip says, "We believe that this campaign will speak directly to the hearts and minds of all travellers, whether you are a long-time customer of Cleartrip or a first time traveller. After all, everybody has a purpose behind why they travel. This concept is real, with real people and real life experiences."

Creative purpose

Talking to afaqs!, Upputuru says that the task before the agency was to create saliency of the brand in a category ruled by communication built around discounts. He says that the idea was to take higher ground with the 'every trip has a purpose' insight and own it.

"The idea occurred to me when I was flying to Mumbai for the pitch presentation and looked at the people around me in the flight. Everybody probably had a different purpose for his or her travel. A boarding pass just states how the trip is from point A to B, but behind every trip is a purpose," says Upputuru.

"A travel agency always asks the 'how's and 'when's. No one really asks why," he adds.

Upputuru says that the risks behind creating the campaign were aplenty with no planned script, no costumes or actors, and where the team had no control over how the interviewees would react.

"We were travelling with a lot of production money. What if people did not come up with satisfying answers or be shy before the camera? Everything was left open," he says.

Upputuru credits Cleartrip for having faith in the idea calling it the 'gutsiest client' he has met.

Director's Cut

Mukherji tells afaqs! that it was a meeting with Upputuru and Goel that gave birth to the concept of what he calls a 'live film'. "We knew that the idea would make the travel agency a bit more sensitive to the needs of the traveller. The meeting helped us crack the form the idea should take," he says.

Mukherji further says that attention had to be paid on how not to make the filming look like an actual shoot.

Travelling with a 5-member bare minimum team, the films were shot with a fixed lens Canon 7D, a SLR camera capable of shooting HD films. The sound was recorded with a lapel microphone without the help of sound recordists.

With the help of an event management company, kiosks were set up in different locations such as the Sealdah railway station in Kolkata, Kovalam beach and a hotel in Kerala and the Mumbai domestic airport among others.

With the assistant director 'recruiting', Mukherji interviewed the tourists along with director of photography, Surjodeep Ghosh. "The biggest lesson learnt from the exercise for the creative team, Tanuja tells me was what to write and what not to write for a campaign. We knew this was the only way to do justice to the idea," says Mukherji.

Marketer speak

The campaign, which is a very apparent attempt to reach out as a more mass brand through mass engagement by Cleartrip is being extended across multiple television and online channels, and outdoor promotions.

Seth tells afaqs! that on joining the company a few months back, he understood how the category has not really explored strategic campaigning.

"People want more from a travel agency. Hence, we wanted to make something simple and basic. Something that came from people's insights. You cannot underestimate the common people," says Seth.

The campaign is banking heavily on the digital medium with an exclusive microsite - that has been created where travellers can share their trips and engage friends on various social networks with their purpose of travel.

The microsite has been developed by the in-house creative team along with inputs from Synapse, an agency Cleatrip associates with on digital projects. "It is always easier to engage on the online medium. And our online expertise to top it all surely helps. While we have done mass campaigns before, this time the scale is much wider with a large customer base," Seth says.

On the outdoor front, around 4,000 screens across restaurants, malls and coffee shops have been employed to promote the campaign.

Cleartrip's media duties are handled by OMD.

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