afaqs!

Goibibo: Easy does it

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 20, 2014
In its latest TVC, the brand gives viewers a larger than life vista of its website.

Goibibo TVC

Sanjay Bhasin

Creative Directors, Gobibo.com, (L) Udayan Chakravarty and Rohit Dhamija

The young, formally dressed urban professional dances his way through different features of the portal, making travel bookings seem like a cakewalk. The idea is to capture the peace of mind that stress-free booking solutions ensure.

The tagline used is 'Done Dona Done Done,' a slang phrase most Indians are familiar with; it captures that cheery 'done and dusted' feeling that follows the completion of an important chore. The ad, complete with an entertaining dance routine, is created by JWT.

Sanjay Bhasin, CEO, Goibibo.com, claims it is the "ease of bookings" that keeps his customers coming back. According to him, OTA is an extremely need-based and low involvement category, one in which "the attribute of trust is omnipresent and misused in India."

As Udayan Chakravarty, creative director, JWT Delhi, puts it, "Users don't go to a travel bookings site for memories. They go to it just to get the travel booking done. The ad cuts through the white noise and says just that."

The campaign targets two sets of consumers - the deal hunters and the loyalists. For the benefit of the former, the TVC highlights the site's 'lowest hotel prices' and 'instant refund' offerings. The TVC also addresses frequent travellers.

'Screen' play

The TVC displays the entire website, in a very up-close-and-personal manner, something brands - especially online brands - have started doing of late. Chakravarty says the reason Goibibo did so is because most travel booking websites have a set of similar deals to offer. Giving the website screen centre stage position, helps display the portal's clean user interface.

"Goibibo goes the Google way in solving consumer pain points. Thus we decided to highlight the website to show where exactly a user can find solutions," he explains.

The ad, we learn, was not shot using the Chroma effect (a special effects technique for layering two video backgrounds together); rather, an entire set replicating the website was developed.

In ads like these, is it mandatory for the simulated webpage to be an exact reproduction of the actual website or does the agency have some sort of creative license at its disposal? According to Chakravarty, if a website is fundamentally well-designed, there is no need to play around with it creatively. However, if the design needs some re-works, then yes, the TVC might just show the better, idealistic version of the site. "In this case," he is quick to clarify, "since the Goibibo website is brilliantly designed, we decided to replicate the same in the TVC."

All said and done

Promises of lowest rates and fastest booking are oft made. So what makes this ad different?

Rajiv Dingra

Saurabh Parmar

Rajiv Dingra, CEO, WAT Consult, makes a prudent observation. "Showing the loading bar in the ad signifies speed," he points out.

He adds, nevertheless, "The rest of the website is like any other travel site. Remove the logo and this could be an ad for any other travel portal. Showing the website come alive is innovative but not interesting enough for me to share this ad or call it a great ad."

Should the TVC necessarily reproduce the website such that it is a spitting image of the one net surfers see on their computer/mobile screens? Dingra feels consumers do expect to find the exact same interface as shown in the TVC. "The Goibibo website is actually quite fast. Rate comparisons can be done to know if the promise of deals is being met. On the whole, I don't think minor cosmetic changes to the website actually impact user perception," he elaborates.

But the closer one brings a consumer to the actual point of sale and the more detail in which a brand demonstrates the purchase mechanism, the better. "Humans like tangible stuff and an internet service is still something quite intangible for a lot of Indians. So I quite agree with the concept of showing the website," reasons Saurabh Parmar, CEO, Brandlogist.

Goibibo is a part of the Ibibo Group and was launched in September 2009. Given that its major competitors came along much earlier (around the mid-2000s), Goibibo was considered as a late entrant. Goibibo's Bhasin admits the group is looking to get people to migrate from other platforms.

"As a late entrant in the OTA market in India, we want people to switch platforms. That is what we are expecting from this campaign," he asserts.

Will this campaign take the portal any closer to its goal? While Dingra agrees the ad does a good job of showing the website, he feels the message of lowest hotel prices, fastest booking and money refund is lost and that the last text animation has to repeat it.

The ad, he declares, won't get him to shift his OTA preference. "The ad is too loud and doesn't illustrate the value of fast booking and lowest cost hotels for me. Instead, all it does is show the website and shout out these values," he critiques, going on to suggest ideas that the brand could have adopted: Say, a story of how its fast booking helped a husband reach on time to meet his wife on Valentine's Day, or how a low cost hotel helped a humble student stay in Mumbai for one week to meet his favourite film star. "Basically, showing how features of the website make real life difference to people. Just shouting out loud doesn't help," he says.

For Parmar, the value proposition of speed is not necessarily the most appropriate one. "Price is still a clear reason why a lot of people choose a travel search engine. The TVC talks about the speed of booking a flight and cheapest hotels, but not the cheapest flights - that's usually the primary driver. And when one looks at Goibibo.com, the airline search by far takes up maximum space on the site," he says.

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