afaqs!

Airtel: Bringing the internet to life

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 16, 2011
For its 3G offering, Airtel's communication focusses on internet on the go, revolving around the brand promise of 'Dil Jo Chahe Paas Laaye'.

3G arrived, and with it came the high-decibel campaigns of every telecom service provider talking about the wonder that is 3rd generation mobile telecommunications. With each of them passing the message in a signature way, Airtel's campaign centres on its core message of 'relationships'.

A series of three films created by JWT India talks of Airtel 3G through stories woven around relationships and life. Each film speaks of a certain offering on 3G -- video calling, high speed video downloading, and social networking.

Each film ends with a voiceover that passes the product message along with the brand promise of 'Dil Jo Chahe Paas Laaye'.

Talking to afaqs!, Mohit Beotra, head, brand and media, Bharti Airtel, says, "Our 3G strategy is to wire internet on the mobile with the product proposition being video-enabled internet. The communication remains centred around Airtel's core that is relationships, and the films show how 3G helps relationships and builds bonds."

"We are a brand built on consumers being able to relate to us. Our stories resonate with people who see stories from their own lives. Through the films, we show how Airtel is a part and how it impacts those lives," adds Beotra.

While the films on video downloading and social networking have been written by Soumitra Karnik, executive creative director, JWT India, the writers of the video calling film are Karnik and Swati Bhattacharya, vice-president and executive creative director, JWT India.

Shoojit Sircar of Rising Sun Films, has directed the video downloading and social networking films, while the director of the video calling film is Vinil Matthew of Footcandles Film.

Karnik says, "The 3G communication revolves around the brand line of Dil Jo Chahe Paas Laaye. Take the example of the social networking film that shows how youngsters use technology in their lives today. It also talks about what 'Dadaji ka dil chahe' (what the grandfather's heart wants). The other films are similar, too."

The television campaign is being supported by large scale outdoor promotions, which Karnik says is focussed on being very functional, as against the films that depict how exactly internet is used in a human way. Digital activity also forms a critical part of the campaign, along with on-ground and retail activities.

The media mandate is handled by Madison Media.

Dil ki baat

The films have met with mixed responses from advertising professionals. While the creative idea with its execution seems to have met with a nod of approval, a few are of the view that there is more that is left to be desired.

Deepesh Jha, executive creative director, Lowe Lintas, who has worked on the Airtel brand for many years, says, "Evocative human stories have been the strength of Airtel, with the 'almost real' feel. Here, the addition of a visual device of graphic windows as metaphor for internet is interesting. Does it look too deliberate or not would definitely be a divided house of opinions."

Jha picks the social networking film as his personal favourite as the "teenager-grandfather duo delivers the smile". He, however, says that it could have been interesting if the teenager angle could be extended to the video calling film as well, instead of the soldier's.

Ankur Khurana, associate vice-president, Orchard Advertising, is not very impressed. "A problem leader brands face is being everything to everybody. Airtel is trying to be young with 3G. However, all three films are very diverse in characteristics. There is so much of 3G happening that I really doubt if this would be picked up as an Airtel ad. Somewhere, what the brand has stood for all these years is missing in this set of communication," he says.

"The brand tried to re-energise itself with the re-launch, but has not been able to carry it forward in product films. But, overall it is a good mix and interplay of two-three different audiences," adds Khurana.

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