Satrajit Sen
Advertising Rapping Out New Features's rap song, featuring actor Shreyas Talpade, promotes the features of the redBus mobile app and the ease of booking a bus seat.

Music videos seem to be the way to go for advertisers these days. Philips set the tone with Ranbir's Saara Zamana while Ching's Secret followed it up the Ranveer Ching video. Now,, the online bus-ticketing platform, has come up with a rap song, featuring actor Shreyas Talpade. Rapping Out New Features Rapping Out New Features
An edgy rap number puts Jhumri Talaiyaa on the map again. Though the video is being shown on channels as an ad rather than a song (as it was in the case of Philips and Ching's), the rap promotes the features of the redBus mobile app and the ease of booking a bus seat.

The TVC, Jaana hai bhaiyya - Jhumri Talaiyya, has been made in multiple languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi and is conceptualised and executed by production house Climb Media - no creative agency was involved in the ad. The TVC is also being promoted across the brand's social media pages.

Targeted mostly at new users, the TVC aims to make them comfortable with the idea of booking bus tickets online, through their phones. For existing users, the ad seems to bring in an added sense of responsibility towards the brand. "The idea of creating the ad in rap format was to promote the features of our mobile app in a catchy manner. Most ads that try to show the features of a product lose the attractiveness quotient and hence are not remembered for long by the audience," says Prakash Sangam, CEO,

Red-hot app

The redBus app was launched in April 2013 and has so far crossed two million downloads across its three platforms - Android, iOS and Windows. redBus completed its first million downloads in 18 months and next million came in just four months' time.

In early 2014, the firm had launched a campaign called "My Seat, My redBus" highlighting the seat-selection feature of the app. So why launch another ad promoting the same product within months?

According to Sangam, the earlier ad was only about how easily people can choose their preferred seats while booking a ticket on redBus. "The objective then was to make sure people know about redBus and interact with the platform. Now that we have achieved the numbers, our next goal is to talk about the gamut of features that the app provides and thus we have this current ad which speaks about all services that redBus offers on an app," he adds.

redBus is focusing deeply on its mobile customers by releasing some key product features like real time travel tips, live tracking on mobile phones, directions to boarding points, suggestions about best dropping points, one-touch payment and cancellation. redBus mobile now accounts for more than 35 per cent of its online transactions and half of its traffic comes from mobile now.

"This strategy seems to be paying off well making redBus possibly the most downloaded app in the OTA space. With an average rating of 4.3 across all storefronts, it is certainly the highest rated app in its category. Mobile will witness continued investments in the days to come," informs Sangam.

Pilani Soft Labs (PSL) founded in 2007, and it became part of ibibo Group in 2013 through a 100 per cent acquisition. The business owns three products - redBus, BOGDS (bus operators' global distribution system) and SeatSeller serving the fragmented bus industry in India. redBus is a consumer-facing travel brand enabling customers to buy tickets on internet and mobile phones.

BOGDS is a cloud solution built for bus operators. SeatSeller is the GDS for bus inventory. Over 10,000 retail agents and 100+ corporates including the OTAs use SeatSeller to sell bus tickets to their customers.

Headquartered in Bangalore, redBus has 26 regional offices, 580 employees, 1000+bus operators, 19,000+ bus services every day across 24 states in India. redBus aggregates 228,000 seats per day and sells more than a million tickets a month. The firm is reported to have recorded revenues of Rs 600 crore in 2012-13. Investors in the company include Seedfund, Inventus Capital and Helion Venture Partners.

Booked? Rapping Out New Features Rapping Out New Features
Will this catchy rap be enough to get more users to flock to the redBus app? RP Singh, CEO Sirez Group, says that this is an example of clever execution. "The use of "Nokia" mobile screen, the character (Shreyas) and the "Rap" way of communication will definitely appeal to its core TG. A lot of attention has been paid to details of the execution. People who travel a lot by bus won't mind installing the app as the TVC clearly indicates features of the app," he adds.

However, Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult, believes that the ad follows a format similar to Goibibo's "done dona done" ad where there is music with a showcase of its online solutions. In this case, they have used a celebrity and created a rap song. "While the rap song is a novelty, it has low 'memorability' and doesn't do much for recall value as a song," he adds. However, Dingra does believe that the ad will drive awareness, but it fails to create the 'wow' factor with the actual execution.

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