Sasha Versus Shah Rukh: Can Airtel outshout Jio?

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | October 18, 2016
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She rivalled Vodafone's pug with panache. Can The Airtel Girl beat the face of Reliance Jio next?

Telecom giant Airtel has rolled out a new 360-degree marketing campaign around its newly-launched My Airtel app featuring popular Airtel Girl Sasha Chhetri. The multimedia campaign, conceptualised by Taproot Dentsu, highlights the application's 'Airtel Apps' section that will have a collection of apps such as Wynk Music, Wynk Movies, Ditto TV, Hike Messenger, and Juggernaut under a single interface.

Produced by Equinox Films, the ad revisits the challenge theme that was used when the brand introduced Airtel 4G and its new face Chhetri. This time, The Airtel Girl, who is out with her friends, takes up the 'Apps Challenge' and manages to outfox the challenger with the My Airtel App.

Airtel promotes My Airtel App in new ad featuring Sasha Chhetri

"Smartphones have redefined our lives and mobile applications allow us to do almost everything on the go, wherever we are. The new campaign is built around the new My Airtel app, which has a collection of the top apps, and brings the best of the online world to users in one place," says Rajiv Mathrani, chief brand officer, Bharti Airtel.

Reliance Jio 4G digital life ad

In addition to the above set of curated ads, there will also be two new apps from the Airtel stable - Airtel Cloud and Airtel Dialer. Airtel Cloud provides 2GB of free cloud storage and backup. There are no data upload charges for the scheduled overnight backups for prepaid customers currently, and this benefit will soon be available to postpaid customers as well. Airtel Dialer offers 50 minutes of free Airtel-to-Airtel calling benefits in addition to its call management feature.

Shah Rukh Khan promotes Jio welcome offer

The Airtel Girl is undoubtedly one of Airtel's most popular faces, and that the brand is using her to promote the new version of its app is no surprise, given the high-decibel campaign being run by competitor Reliance Jio.

Jagdish Acharya

But, as far as creative arsenal goes, is she strong enough to fight Jio's face Shah Rukh Khan? Can Chhetri's existing equity outshine his stardom, or does Airtel need a creative facelift? We got Jagdish Acharya, founder and creative head, Cut the Crap, to answer these questions and share his thoughts on how Airtel can better leverage Chhetri's popularity to battle Jio's upcoming flurry of ads featuring Khan.

"The new Airtel ad with (Sasha) Chhetri is chirpy and charming. As an ambassador, it's her exclusivity that works better than any celebrity for any other brand. Sasha means Airtel 4G while Shah Rukh means brand X, Y, Z....and Jio. The ad, therefore, goes about its purpose," says Acharya.

However, Acharya thinks that while it is happily playing the same game as before, the audience is, as always, engrossed in the new. "Today, everyone is flirting with Jio, it is only the degree that varies. Some have tied the knot, others are waiting and watching. The Jio game is a no-brainer; one that the country understands best - more for less. Like it or hate it, but you can't ignore it, is what Airtel has chosen to do so far, but it is unlikely to win much traction for the brand at this juncture. The need of the hour is to win back the distracted consumer and that calls for new forms of engagement and experiences," he suggests.

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