McCann has created a new set of ad films for the ministry of tourism.
The Incredible India ads, so far, haven't really gone/ explored beyond just showcasing the country’s beauty with typically gorgeous sweeping shots of famous monuments to colourful locales that are ‘Must-See’ destinations for any foreign tourist. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this and it’s also primarily because advertising agencies behind previous campaigns have been efficient enough to keep India on the world map as a high-end tourist destination.
However, the recently released short films by Incredible India, an initiative of Indian Tourism, crafted by McCann Worldgroup and produced by Crazy Few films (TVC and digital released, Print and OOH will follow soon, yet to be released) and are set to do a little more than show the world how beautiful our country truly is. The new ads aim is to show the world that there’s a reason to visit India and it’s not just because of our beautiful landscapes but there’s a mystery to unravel about finding an inner power, something you can take back with you, something to hold on to forever.
Incidentally, the tourism ministry of India has also roped in Google to showcase 3D, rotating views and provide a virtual reality experience of our Indian monuments on its Incredible India website.
We asked Anupam Mishra, the director, about the various challenges that came up while shooting the films as they cover some of the country’s more difficult terrains ranging from the Himalayas to wonderful wildlife destinations like the Kaziranga National Park. He responds, “This project was definitely a very big and challenging one. When we visit a particular place, it plays a role in our destiny as we knowingly or unknowingly get more informed and aware and our minds expand.
“The pre-production of this project was very detailed. Multiple teams headed to different locations to figure out logistics,” he adds.
“Something that had become a habit for us was leaving for the locations in the wee hours of the morning to see how the first light of the sun would hit the landscapes that we were looking to shoot. That moment, when you see the golden light shine... is magical. I think everyone on the team has their personal favourite sunrise moment,” Mishra gets candid.
So, what gives you the confidence as a director, to revisit the so-called clichés; be it India's fascination with Yoga or capturing the visuals with the elephants? Does the creative shorthand factor come in to play here?
Mishra is a sucker for symbolism as he feels it gels very well in communication. He is of the opinion that the campaigns are more about the love for yoga across the globe and how much it can contribute to the lives of the people who practice it.
“This set of films is definitely about various places but, more than that, it is about what each protagonist has discovered in themselves, in their travel to India. I absolutely love the line - Find the incredible you - in all the films,” he states.
And this, he believes, aptly encapsulates the very essence of the new campaign. “Each shot, each location, comes from this line,” he explains.
If it's a Japan Tourism ad you are sure to spot the Cherry Blossoms blooming and see the Eiffel Tower in a French Tourism ad. So, will the good old ‘India montage’, with its huge spectrum of stunning landscapes and rich cultures, ever get old?
Mishra shares, “No matter how many times one covers it you will always discover newer aspects. In fact, the more we explore, the deeper we are able to go into the whole process to learn more about our country. And, this is what we aimed to share with the people around the world.”
Prasoon Joshi, CEO and CCO, McCann Worldgroup India, considers it an important campaign for all of us and feels proud to have partnered up to build the brand. “Our teams have worked closely with the ministry and other stakeholders and tried to bring alive different, unique facets of India,” he shares.
“The current campaign will add another dimension to the legacy of brand Incredible India,” Joshi sounds hopeful.
Struck the right chords?
Kailash Surendranath, ad filmmaker and founder of the film production company Kailash Picture Company, finds the films beautifully crafted in all respects.
“Be it concepts, visuals, voice-over, research, and soundtrack, these films definitely do justice to our 'Incredible India',” says the veteran.
However, Surendranath, being an avid follower of the "Incredible India” campaign for years, also feels that today, when there is such a wide awareness of India internationally, it would be more credible for the thinking audience to see the country in a candid light rather than showing it as too pristine and doctored.
“Why not do films for young international travellers showing them our extremely interesting city life with all the contrasting entertainment - cafes, dhabas, lounges, pubs, bars, markets, transport etc. I am sure every tourist who visits India definitely spends some time in one of the major Indian cities and, as far as tourism goes, city life in India has never really been pitched. Most of our commercials deal with the esoteric or the popular monuments and hospitality,” he points out.
“India is truly diverse and from spiritual to medical, educational, entertainment, and business opportunities, all kinds of tourism attracts people from all over the world. These need to be considered as well,” he adds.
Jaideep Mahajan, national creative director, Rediffusion Y&R, observes that the format of travel journals of different people is an extremely powerful tool to present India through different perspectives.
“The experiences in our country are so varied and intense that they force you to take an inward journey and transform within. I don’t think I can say this for any other country. The campaign does justice to the depth of experiences that India provides,” he winds up, adding that ‘The yogi of the racetrack’ is his favourite from the lot.