Ashwini Gangal

Tata Power: Injecting life into Mumbai's lifeline

The TVC capitalises on the bond between Mumbaikars and Mumbai's local trains to position Tata Power as a brand that provides life to this lifeline of the city.

Marking the third leg of its three phase rollout, Tata Power has recently broken its first ever TVC. Phase I included print communication and Phase II utilised local train and AC bus branding, along with traditional outdoor. The third phase, as it turns out, is marked by an ad film, in conjunction with print and outdoor communication. The TVC broke on national television on November 23.

While Phase I (broken in mid-September) reinforced Tata Power's commitment to keep Mumbai energised, Phase II talked about the manifestation of the commitment, with emphasis on essential services such as trains, hospitals and refineries.

Tata Power: Injecting life into Mumbai's lifeline
The objective of the current campaign is to reinforce the century-old bond that Tata Power shares with Mumbaikars and position it as the preferred power provider for this city.

Why the need to go aggressive on TV now?

S Padmanabhan, executive director, operations, Tata Power, answers, "We have been supplying power for commercial purposes for a long time now. However, just a year ago, we started supplying power to residential customers. Thus, the focus is now on the common man in Mumbai."

Padmanabhan goes on to tell afaqs! that the campaign is targeted across all socio-economic strata. "Right from low end users, who consume merely 100 units of power, to those residing in big metros, the ad is aimed at acquiring all residential customers in Mumbai," he says.

Tata Power: Injecting life into Mumbai's lifeline
Tata Power: Injecting life into Mumbai's lifeline
Basically, it is targeted at people for whom regular power supply is critical on a daily basis. The secondary audience includes opinion makers, the government, large institutional consumers and other influencers who are vital stakeholders for any power company.

The communication task, therefore, was to deepen the bond between the brand and Mumbaikars on an emotional level. On a rational level, factors to be flagged off for differentiation were superior customer service, technology, transparency in dealings and eco-friendly initiatives promoting sustainability.

The film, titled Mumbai ki lifeline, is being aired in 45 and 30 second versions in four languages - English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati - to cater to Mumbai's multilingual consumer base.

In the TVC, the perspective of a local train commuter (Naikji) is highlighted. It captures the camaraderie and fellowship of a journey he has been making, day after day, for the past 24 years. The film shows how the protagonist and his fellow travellers have bonded in the train and become a family over the years. A male voiceover (VO) takes the viewer through the entire film, explaining the central character's experiences and the brand's core values.

The commercial has been created by Dentsu MediaTech. The creative team comprises executive creative directors Harish Arora and Vivek Shinde; creative directors Nilesh Naik and Subrato Mehta; and group head Ganesh Naik.

The media duties for Tata Power are taken care of by Dentsu Media. Interestingly, the VO in the ad is by Arora.

Arora tells afaqs! that the challenge was to make power salient and relatable for the audience. "To do this," he elaborates, "it was essential to emphasise the philosophy and intent of the company - and also the vital role that brand Tata Power plays in the everyday lives of the Mumbaikar. It was critical that this be done in a warm and endearing manner, to strengthen the bond between the brand and the average Mumbaikar so that he/she sees Tata Power in a new light."

The media mix for the campaign includes TV, print, hoardings, bus exterior branding, bus shelter branding, train exterior branding and radio. Branding of kiosks, drop boxes and customer care centres all over Mumbai has also been done. The company's vans, shuttling around in suburban Mumbai, have also been heavily branded.

Is it a 'power'ful commercial?

For the most part, industry folk appreciate the way the brand has used local trains to strike an emotional chord with Mumbaikars.

Tata Power: Injecting life into Mumbai's lifeline
Santosh Padhi (Paddy), chief creative officer and co-founder, TapRoot India finds the look and the feel of the ad "very local" and appreciates the casting as well.

"I loved the subtle way in which the multi-community flavour has been woven in (Gujarati, Bengali and Punjabi); it has been well captured and that's what Mumbai is all about!" he enthuses.

Paddy adds, "Nothing can connect Mumbai/Mumbaikars better than a local train. Hence I loved the 'local train device' as well. I feel that people who travel by train are far more emotional and that's the reason this piece will communicate the message to those audiences for sure. I have travelled by train during my college days - it's a different bonding experience altogether; it is very unique to Mumbai."

He adds that for these reasons, using a train to connect with Mumbaikars is a smart idea and that the emotions were captured very well in the film.

Tata Power: Injecting life into Mumbai's lifeline
"Mumbai belongs both to the Tatas of the world, who create headlines and the paper distributor guy, who distributes the paper for his living!" he continues sentimentally.

However, he points out, "Being a giant company, it could have easily shown the biggest projects powered by the Tatas," and in the same breath, reasons aloud, "but being Tata, it has decided to take the mass emotional route, which again works in its favour."

Sambit Mohanty, executive creative director, Bates 141, says, "This film taps into a very 'Mumbaiesque' insight - that strangers in a local train form a parallel family of sorts because they bond over years of travelling together."

He thus goes on to reason that the ad "should work for the man on the street", before adding more about what he terms a "minor quibble". Mohanty complains, "I wish it were a bit more engaging when it comes to the story." However, he concludes that the execution is quite nice as the ad shows believable characters from a day in the life of a Mumbai local.

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