It could well have passed off as an ad for Kerala tourism.
The 40-second ad film shows life in Kerala with kaleidoscopic shots of a fisherman in its backwaters, a tusker loading timber on to a truck, a kathakali dancer practicing his art, workers rushing through their work at a tea plantation, a Christian wedding, girls celebrating the rains, boys diving into a lake et al. And the slices of life are strung together with the unchanging reality of Kerala, the monsoon rains.
But as it turns out, the commercial touts the Escorts Group's cellular service brand Escotel and its comprehensive coverage of Kerala.
"Our brief from the client was to talk about the coverage of Escotel's cellular service in Kerala. So we took the concept of coverage a little farther by using the monsoon rains as the 'creative metaphor' to convey Escotel's 'Unmatched Coverage across Kerala'. The sign-off line drives the message home with 'The Monsoon. The only thing that covers Kerala better than we do'," explains Pinaki Nandi, account group manager, Capital Advertising, the agency handling the brand.
For the record, Kerala has two cellular service providers - BPL and Escotel. Despite Escotel's late entry vis-a-vis BPL, Escotel claims its coverage in 101 cities of Kerala compared to 64 cities for BPL.
In all fairness, using the rains to depict Escotel's coverage is the simplest way to connect with the resident of Kerala. "The monsoon covers Kerala and so does Escotel. It was simple, but powerful. A big idea that was just waiting to be used to connect people to our brand," says Nima Namchu, creative director, Capital Advertising.
The ad does seem to make a connect. Joy Mohanty, associate creative director, Leo Burnett, echoes Nima when he says, "The ad is a refreshing way to talk about a product feature. Monsoon is part of life in Kerala and by creatively using it to talk about coverage, the ad puts forth the message convincingly."
Indeed, convincing the potential consumer and getting him involved in the product, especially for a service brand, is extremely important for the marketer. Explaining the reason, Navroze Dhondy, director, strategy & 'innovision', Percept IMC, says, "Unlike the short-lived experience of an FMCG or consumer durable product, the consumer's involvement with a service-related product is more continuous in nature. And since the objective is to make that service part and parcel of the consumer's life, it is very important for the marketer to reiterate his promise to the customer by harping on the intangibles that come with the service."
Mohanty of Leo Burnett thinks the ad performs that task effectively, "Ideally, the consumer should never feel distanced from a brand - like one does with the Airtel ads. All they have to offer are pretty pictures and pretty lines. They simply fail to build bridges with the consumer. On the other hand, look at the Essar short messaging service (SMS) ads. Though the communication is tactical, the ads do engage the consumer to the extent that one would even think of subscribing to the Essar service. I would say one experiences the same kind of involvement with the Escotel ad for Kerala."
The Escotel brass also claims the ad has done a lot of good for the brand. "The advertisement has helped us increase our incremental share to nearly 95 per cent," claims Sonjoy Mohanty, chief officer, customer acquisition and retention, Escotel. © 2002 agencyfaqs!