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Tata Docomo: Wi-Fi hotspot, anywhere

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 28, 2014
In its latest campaign, telecom major Tata Docomo communicates the ease of creating Wi-Fi hotspots with its Photon Max Wi-Fi device.

With the smartphone and tablet revolution, most households now have multiple devices that require internet access simultaneously, a segment which Tata Docomo targets with its Photon Max Wi-Fi device. The latest television commercial released by the brand highlights the ease with which the device can create a Wi-Fi zone by simply plugging it to a power socket.

Tata Docomo Plug it in campaign

Gurinder Singh Sandhu

The Wi-Fi device operates at a frequency of 800 MHz and connects five devices simultaneously within a range of 100 metres.

For the record, Wireless Fidelity, or Wi-Fi as it is popularly known, is a wireless standard that is used for connecting Wi-Fi-enabled electronic devices within its range to the internet. While a single hotspot can cover a range of 20 meters indoors, Wi-Fi can cover large areas with multiple overlapping access points. Hotspots are sites that employ Wi-Fi technology and provide internet access over a wireless local area network.

Executed by Draft FCB Ulka (the brand's erstwhile incumbent agency; the account is now handled by JWT's Contract Advertising), the crisp 26-second film is a montage of the Photon Max Wi-Fi plugged in at different power sockets across locations like a kitchen, work desk, bathroom and beauty salon, and highlights seamless connectivity in any corner. The idea is that if there is an electric socket, one can have internet anywhere.

It is interesting to note that instead of a regular story built around the brand, the film comprises a series of shots showing sockets and the product being plugged into them.

Gurinder Singh Sandhu, head, marketing, mobility, Tata Teleservices says that the product is the 'hero' in the film. "We have tried to include representations of every age group. It emphasises on the ease of use, which is not restricted by location or age groups," he says.

"It is the next step of user interaction to showcase the connectivity potential of the device and that is how we came up with the idea," he states.

The brand launched the Wi-Fi version only last year, and claims that it registered sales of over 40,000 devices in less than a month after the launch.

Sandhu adds that Tata Docomo Max Wi-Fi offers speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps and enables consumers to create their own Wi-Fi zones and connect up to five devices simultaneously. The device is cost effective for households with a single consolidated bill.

"The launch of Photon Max Wi-Fi has given a strong impetus to the overall Photon portfolio through generation of walk-ins, enquiries and consequent channel support. The performance of the overall portfolio including Photon+ and Photon 3G devices has been above expectations," he says.

With the proliferation of smartphones and tablets coupled with the growing popularity of social networking and chatting as means of communication, the company states that it has big plans in this segment. The brand has also recently launched another innovation for small screen data consumers. Called 'Stretch' data plans that offer extended validity with slightly lower quantum of data, these plans specifically target light and medium users.

"Going forward, we will continue to innovate in the data space with a slew of innovations in the pipeline. At the same time, focus will remain to grow the voice revenue with aggressive acquisition as well as retention programmes," Sandhu asserts.

Tata Docomo, a subsidiary of Tata Teleservices, offers GSM mobile services in various categories, such as prepaid, post-paid, roaming, mobile internet and broadband. The company also provides 3G services; video calling, international roaming, and mobile number portability services; and data cards and handheld devices. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in New Delhi, India.

The biggest competitor for Docomo in the Wi-Fi dongle space, as per media reports, is MTS. Recently, Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm has begun rolling out mobile network and Wi-Fi hotspot services on a pilot basis, a forerunner to the fourth generation services it plans to launch later this year.

Plugged it right?

While our experts unanimously agree on the central theme of convenience that the campaign aims to highlight, they believe that the brand needs to go a step ahead in converting its traditional internet users (data card subscribers) into Wi-Fi device consumers.

Raghu Bhat

Pooja Rawat

Raghu Bhat, founder-director, Scarecrow Communications, dubs the film as simple yet crisp, and successful in communicating the ease of use. From an execution standpoint, though, he wonders if it would help to make the film slightly shorter and less repetitive.

For Pooja Rawat, senior brand planning director, Lowe Lintas, the film appears to be 'quite cryptic', something she assumes is meant for people who are used to a Wi-Fi zone at work or home, or are aware users of data card.

"It works as just an announcement for this target profile, without trying to educate them. It does a reasonably good job of highlighting the plug point but that's all that I remember after watching the ad," she says.

The various shots of people and places from different walks of life (such as a woman in the kitchen), she believes, don't really register or add significant value to the film. "The ad could have had more impactful situations that would've possibly made for better recall. The plug point itself could be made iconic. The fact that a plug point can transform your world is something left to one's imagination and is an idea which is not fully explored," she adds.

Rawat further asserts that if Tata Photon was to expand its market, it would probably have to target traditional internet users (modem buyers), which would require significant education on how the new Wi-Fi dongle works and why it is better than a traditional modem.

In her opinion, 'the plug point that can transform your world' can tackle both, the aware user and the traditional user.

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