afaqs!

Now, virtual Durga Puja, the MTS way

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | October 07, 2011
Telecom brand MTS has cashed in on the Durga Puja festival through a digital campaign, leading consumers to the MTS site for a virtual Durga Puja application.

Telecom brand MTS has, since its launch, attempted to make a place for itself in the data/technology heavy service offering space, as opposed to the usual voice offering. Now, to further strengthen itself in that space, MTS has come up with a virtual Durga Puja initiative on its website, www.mtspujo.com.

In order to popularise the initiative, the brand undertook a digital initiative on Facebook to get the youth (particularly, those in the age bracket of 15-25), excited about the activity.

Created by Rediffusion-Y&R, the activity was launched in two phases -- a teaser and a revealer. The campaign has created virtual mythological characters associated with Durga Puja on Facebook, including Goddess Durga, Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Kartikeya, the demon Mahishasur, Ganesh's vehicle the mouse, Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati. All of them were given Facebook profiles, but prior to that was a teaser phase on outdoor and online media.

Hoardings screamed out statements such as 'Ma Durga commented on your status', thereby using popular Facebook lingo, to create a buzz around the Facebook profiles of the mythological characters. This piqued the interest of the public, who were then redirected through hoardings and an online campaign, to check out the profiles of these characters on Facebook. The gods and goddesses were made to 'interact' virtually with consumers by sharing their conversations, lending the 'coolness' quotient, and in turn, guiding people to visit the MTS site for a virtual Durga Puja activity.

"The brief was simple. Brands, in general, like to be associated with festivities in this country for visibility, and MTS has always been known to attempt different things since its launch," opines N Padmakumar, national creative director at Rediffusion. Clearly, MTS, being the 14th entrant in an already cluttered telecom market, wished to make inroads into eastern India, which has its own set of established players to boot. Visibility was on the agenda for MTS in this highly competitive market.

"Durga Puja is a huge celebration in West Bengal, and the idea was to get the youth excited about it virtually, as well," Padmakumar, aka Paddy says, while the rub off would be popularising the data capability of MTS.

The revealer phase was on outdoor hoardings, as well as in the online campaign. There were several virals that created figures which looked like theatre actors essaying roles of the mythological characters, and through their interaction, one got to know about the Virtual Puja initiative. Radio, too, was leveraged for the revealer phase.

Within a week of its launch, the Facebook characters created for this purpose have garnered several 'friends' already, which are all upwards of 400-500 for each of the mythological profiles created.

The agency feels there shall not be a disconnect between the concept of a Puja and the youth-set roped in, as the mythological characters have been made 'cool' and relevant to its TG (target group) online, which clearly is the evolved telecom user base. The team at Rediffusion Kolkata, which has worked on it, includes Nilanjan Dasgupta, Piyash Ghosh, Jyotismita Banerjee, Niladri Deb, Anindyo Bagchi, Tirtirtha Chatterjee, and Priyadarshi, apart from Paddy, who led the creative team. The MTS team was led by chief operating officer Keshav Tiwari.

"For a generation that practically dwells inside the 'cloud', Facebook is the coolest medium through which to communicate in an interesting way. This is the kind of work that will keep mythology cool and relevant, a virtual pandal that can be visited every day, with new engaging content found on each visit," adds Paddy.

D Rajappa, president, Rediffusion-Y&R, adds, "This is an example of what active involvement and collaboration can do, and I daresay, this is now part of our agency's DNA."

Reflecting on the reactions from young Bengal, Amitava Sinha, chief operating officer, South and East, Rediffusion, says, "The lexicon of the campaign, a convergence of popular Puja parlance, and internet vocabulary, has captured the imagination of the youth, and become a part of their language."

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