SKYi Realty: a Thoughtful Move

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : November 14, 2014 06:03 AM
The real estate brand has pulled away from the pack by launching a television campaign featuring Farhan Akhtar.

Most often, a real estate developer would have a sprawling two-page ad in your morning paper. An occasionally radio spot would describe a new project complete with information about the proximity to the city centre, or a spawling swimming pool. However, taking a different route this time, Pune based SKYi Realty has launched a television campaign to speak about its new residential project.

Featuring Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar, the campaign consists of three videos - each talking around the basic premise of 'thoughful designs' - a significant move away from the EMIs and plot-size that are usually the talking points.

Brand SKYi is a relatively young brand in the field of real estate in Pune, being present for around a decade. It has developed over a million square feet of residential space in the city and the current and proposed development is nearly 9.5 million square feet.

Vivek Kulkarni

Vistasp Hodiwala

"We realised that while our individual projects were well known and well received, there was an opportunity for us to develop the mother brand SKYi. This was the primary essence of the brief to the agency," says Vivek Kulkarni, chief marketing officer, SKYi Realty.

"Keeping that in mind, Underdog (the creative agency set up by Vistasp Hodiwala and Vikram Gaikwad in February this year) has designed three films. " The first two TVCs address the points of design, aesthetics and packaging in the real estate market. However, unlike the usual ads, they never mention EMIs, the size of the plots or the area. According to Vistasp Hodiwala, founder, Underdog, this was to break out of the cluttered real estate market.

"The present trend in the real estate industry is to speak about something which does doesn't even seem real. What we wanted to do is show that the Manas Lake property (the new township being designed by SKYi) was indeed designed keeping a lot of things in mind. Maybe, a hook in the balcony to hang up a swing makes all the difference - that is what you will get here," Hodiwala explains.

Hodiwala also feels that brands often do not use celebrities for what they are worth. Other well-known faces that have endorsed several real estate brands including Aishwarya Rai for Lodha Developers, Amitabh Bachchan for Palava City and Mahendra Singh Dhoni for Amrapali Group.

According to Hodiwala, SKYi's choice of endorser makes sense because Akhtar has the image of a thinking actor. And while the brand's third film questions why a celebrity endorser is needed at all, Akhtar does add the celebrity charm to the campaign. Akhtar will also feature in the offline campaigns for the brand as well as some BTL promotions where interested buyers will get a chance to interact with him about the property. Banking on the endorser's unique voice, SKYi has also designed six radio spots. A long format print ad will also be released shortly. The TV ads will run in regional GECs and news channels but limited to Pune and pockets of Mumbai.

But what's the connection between a celebrity and a housing property anyway? Does it not alienate a section of people by showing that it can be afforded only by some? "Nowadays you don't see too many projects without celebrities. It's how you use him/ her that builds the perception," added Hodiwala. Incidentally, SKYi had earlier signed on Deepika Padukone as the brand ambassador and had brought out certain print and billboard campaigns with her.

Manish Bhatt

The TG for the brand is a mix of cosmopolitan Maharashtrian families. While Pune was initially looked at as the pensioner's paradise, it has slowly become more popular with the IT crowd and those who like a peaceful life, yet be within the city. The brand also hopes to get enquiries from people looking for a second home while living maybe, in nearby Mumbai.

"The campaign tackles the trend where property ads are shot somewhere else. But at the same time, the visuals on screen do not look very believable in the 'Packaging' ad. Again, while they did choose a smaller celebrity (compared to Amitabh Bachchan or Shahrukh Khan), Farhan Akhtar is being over-used by brands. This makes the ad lose its freshness," points out Manish Bhatt, founder director, Scarecrow.

First Published : November 14, 2014 06:03 AM
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