MTS Targets Digital Natives

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 26, 2014
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Crafted by Creativeland Asia, MTS's first network-centric campaign is a tribute to its core consumer - today's net-savvy digital native for whom the internet is a way of life.

Marc Prensky coined the term 'digital native' in his article 'Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants', published in 2001. The former refers to those born into the internet era and the latter to those who saw the birth of the internet. Today's youngsters are said to be 'born digital', a term that first appeared in a series of presentations made by blogger-turned-digital marketing savant, Josh Spear, in May 2007.

MTS Internet Baby ad

Amitesh Rao

Sajan Raj Kurup

MTS, mobile telecom service brand from Sistema Shyam TeleServices, underscores the data superiority of its 3GPlus network in India, through a new film that's no less than an ode to today's digital natives. Titled 'Born for the Internet', the film is a visual hyperbole - a new born baby is shown maneuvering a smartphone, using an online search engine, clicking a selfie, posting it on Instagram, accessing social media, making a video, and finally using the device's GPS system to find his way out of the hospital, as the words 'Born for the internet. MTS 3GPlus Network' appear as a super on the screen.

Crafted by Creativeland Asia, the film has premiered as a Bit Torrent for onliners to download. It has also been launched on YouTube. The film will see a TV release on February 27.

Bit Torrent, with its easily downloadable files or 'torrents', is infamous for illegal data transfer. Why choose such a platform? Amitesh Rao, director, brand and media, MTS India, tells afaqs! that since torrent users are huge data users, doing so made strategic sense. MTS is targeting the users, not judging the platform or the content posted on it, he clarifies.

Rao talks about how the campaign serves to reinforce the brand's strongest differentiator - the MTS 3GPlus network designed and optimised specifically for data. "At the same time," he says, "we needed to be true to the MTS brand, one that talks to today's 24x7, always-on, data-hungry consumer, for whom the internet is the biggest opportunity platform there is." A story of a new born going online to announce his arrival to the world, met both objectives in an entertaining manner, he says.

Though packed with ample shock value, from a product-and-logo perspective, the ad bears subtle branding, a deliberate move on part of Rao's team. The film has been produced by Smuggler Films and is directed by Guy Shelmerdine. Shot in Prague, the film was made using four real babies. Glassworks London created the necessary CGI (computer generated imagery), using the babies' real expressions.

Sajan Raj Kurup, founder and creative chairman, Creativeland Asia, tells us the inception of this script lies in the simple insight that today's kids, including babies, seem so comfortable with technology, devices and the internet. "When I see them (my own daughter, for instance) handle tablets, mobiles and laptops, I joke saying they look like they were born with these gadgets. We just pushed that thought a little further. It took six months of painful labor. And the baby is finally out there," he says, pun very much intended.

Strong Connection?

Nabankur Gupta

Atishi Pradhan

Priti Nair

The present campaign promotes the company's 3GPlus network, one it claims provides superior speed, as opposed to a regular 3G network. While MTS has promoted its dongle that works on this network in a previous campaign, this is the first time it is promoting the network itself. We asked industry experts from three disciplines - creative, planning and brand consultancy - to share their views on the effort.

Nabankur 'Nobby' Gupta, founder and chief executive officer, Nobby Brand Architects, feels that MTS has very smartly depicted the whole story, merging technology with emotion. "Any technology company today has very little choice in terms of promoting a product attribute. Likewise, telecom brands these days harp on internet accessibility. What works in favour of MTS is the creative treatment of the ad; it will create high recall value for the brand," he says.

Atishi Pradhan, chief strategy officer, Cheil Worldwide SW Asia, feels it is an entertaining and extremely "watchable" ad. "All telcos are seeing their next growth vector as data (rather than voice), and this MTS ad definitely places the brand at the new-age edge of the growth of mobile internet. Since there is parity in the product/service offering, various brands are taking to an 'emotional' platform, for example, Airtel's 'Jo tera hai woh mera'," she says.

Pradhan sums up the film in a nutshell: An old insight - namely, each generation is more tech savvy than the previous one - treated in a fresh, humourous way. "And this humourous, tongue-in-cheek tonality sets MTS apart from other telcos," she adds.

For Priti Nair, director, Curry-Nation, the ad will definitely stand out due to its content. She, however, opines that some parts of the ad are unclear, in terms of what it aims to promote.

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