As Hathway focuses on Chennai market, Madhavan ad creates buzz

By Sankalp Dikshit , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | July 10, 2017
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A quick look at the effort.

Hathway may not be a high flyer when it comes to power advertising, but in a recently launched ad film, the broadband internet service provider brand has decided to make its consumers fly. No, they are not entering the airline business; Hathway's new ad portrays several awkward situations where people are literally blown away thanks to the brand's lightening fast internet speed.

After a test run in December 2016, Hathway has officialy launched its broadband services in the Chennai market from May 2017. Along with the TVC, the campaign will also be live on other mediums including print and digital across India.

Fans were caught in a frenzy when R. Madhavan shared his 'after shower selfie' Fans were caught in a frenzy when R. Madhavan shared his 'after shower selfie'

The ad which is around half a minute long, features Tamil and Hindi film actor, R. Madhavan in the lead. The forty-seven year old actor's last successful film (Tanu Weds Manu Returns) dates back to 2015 and since then (albeit a few unsuccessful projects) he has been missing from the spotlight. However, Madhavan was recently in the news when he shared his 'after shower selfie' across his social media accounts. Fans were caught in a frenzy because romour has it that the actor has apparently knocked off eleven kgs.

Rajan Gupta Rajan Gupta

Although the critcially acclaimed actor may not be ad land's favourite poster boy, Hathway has an agenda. Rajan Gupta, managing director, Hathway Cable and Datacom, tells afaqs!, "While considering brand association, we had to consider someone who has a nationwide appeal. A person who could cut across seamlessly through the south, north, east and west; Madhavan fit the bill perfectly. Maddy's (Madhavan's) huge popularity, him being an upright netizen, pan India acceptance and charismatic personality as a youth icon, will help us increase our customer footprint across India."

Coming to the more appropriate analysis of Madhavan's presence in the ad, which can be gauged by the brand's foray into the South Indian market of Chennai, he adds, "Hathway has launched its services in Chennai and with our Gigabit Passive Optical Networks technology, we will be a game changer in this market and will be redefining broadband benchmarks by giving Chennai consumers a globally benchmarked fibre-to-home product. While most of the operators in Chennai have been offering fifty and hundred GB data limits, Hathway plans to offer two hundred Mbps and thousand GB at a much more attractive pricing. The same technology is being rolled out across the country and hence the commercial."

Along with two hundred Mbps internet speed, the brand is also providing one thousand GB data - a tactic that has become incresingly popular thanks to the arrival of Reliance Jio. Be it Airtel's revised ad campaign, 'Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai' or Vodafone's 'Ab Internet Kar, Befikar' ad campaign; brands in the internet service segment have rolled out a number of ads shouting out offers in all packs and sizes.

Shubhojit Sengupta Shubhojit Sengupta

The ad which goes by the title - 'Speed so high everything will fly', has been designed and conceptualised by Enormous Brands. The film has been created by Paper Planes Productions. Speaking about the toughest part behind shooting this ad, Shubhojit Sengupta, senior creative director, Enormous Brands tells us, "The toughest part was getting the hair and clothes right. We were actually trying to capture motion in a static form. We had several trials days before the shoot just to make sure we keep CG as the last option. Thankfully, the team did a wonderful job. One can easily see the hard work in terms of the overall look of the film."

"Unlike other celebs, he (Madhavan) does not have face fatigue and can pull off any role given to him...," adds Sengupta.

But does it take off?

James Gersham Cornelious James Gersham Cornelious

We got in touch with James Gersham Cornelious, associate creative director, DigitasLBi, to understand whether this ad has what it takes to be an instant hit. He tells us, "When I saw Hathway's new ad, my first reaction was that of surprise and intrigue. Until the end, I had no clue that the product is an internet service provider. While the advertising scene for this category is pretty active, it's mostly dominated by major telecom players. So it won't be easy for Hathway to stand out. Having said that, they seem to be steering in the right direction, by talking about their speed, in a unique way. Although really crisp and short, the ad delivers the message very clearly and in a memorable way. This kind of gimmicky storytelling pattern is not new and neither is it very common. So that could work either way for the brand."

Drawing attention to Airtel's ad campaign featuring Madhavan and Vidya Balan in the lead, Cornelious says, "R. Madhavan's presence, was a pleasant surprise. We don't see him in too many ad films which in this case, seems to work to Hathway's advantage. While, he isn't the most current celebrity out there he is certainly not an easy to forget, face. They could have taken a more famous celebrity, but the choice in this case is pretty appropriate as the star doesn't overshadow the idea. The idea is evidently the hero here. However, the only dissonance is that Airtel had a series of ads with Madhavan and Vidya Balan that were quite memorable. There is a possibility that people may mistake this for another Airtel ad."

Moreover, Cornelious believes that the ad is evidently made for TV and the only way it could work in digital is on YouTube's pre-roll. Cornelious explains, "For a product so intrinsically digital, the brand should be focusing more on the digital platform rather than TV, given that most first-time internet users are coming online through their mobiles rather than laptops or desktops."

"It (the ad) will certainly have substantial recall value and should definitely get them a spike in inquiries if not subscriptions - if they place it well," he concludes.

Agency Credits -

Client: Hathway
Agency: Enormous Brands
Creative Team: Ashish Khazanchi, Shubhojit Sengupta, Shiv Parashar, Sanket Kabdugle
Servicing: Ajay Verma and Renjita Menon
Production House: Paper Planes Pictures
Director: Littil Swayamp
Executive Producer: Lisa Dcosta and Shreyas

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