Sumita Vaid

Indian Airlines, with a bouquet full of warmth

The latest two ad campaign created by Bates India for Indian Airlines transforms the image of the airline

How beautiful it is, human warmth in a simple gesture, like the casual stroke of a brush, turns a prosaic moment into an endearing one. It is this unstated warmth that binds such moments to our hearts. Just as such moments are rare in real life, they are a rarity in advertising too.

Many ads do try to stroke that emotional chord but fail to stir any emotions. And, then there are instances, when one gets a nice glimpse of it, like in the latest piece of communication on Indian Airlines.

Warmth and Indian Airlines? Yes, this message of warmth from the fuddy-duddy Indian Airlines does come as a surprise, indeed. For two reasons. First, because emotions have never been one of Indian Airlines' strengths and the service standards of the domestic airline have only cringed the brows. Second, where cars and bikes are using the experience of flying as a simile, with the exception of international airlines, the joy of traveling within the country remains amiss in the communication business. One only saw canvas-size print ads.

But the the latest two ad campaign created by Bates India, for Indian Airlines, almost magically transforms the image of the airline, and makes the journey of just-a-few-hours, something to look forward to.

Before we find out the motivation behind the campaign, a quick look at the ad. The first

ad is about the frustrating experience between a little girl and her clumsy much older co-passenger. From putting the seat belts to opening the food-tray, the girl has to literally take on the role of a mini-air hostess and educate her co-passenger in the aeroplane. Little did she know and the viewers, that her co-passenger was a pilot.

And the second ad, which breaks in September, shows the wheels (assuming it is that of an aeroplane) touching the landing strip, interspersed with the shots of a face a little boy, the trembling water in glass, and the boy's hands gesturing the flight of a plane. When the zoom angle breaks into a wide angle, much to the viewers delight and surprise, the boy is actually seen perched on a pile of suitcases, being ferried on the trolley by group of air-hostesses.

'Let your heart fly' is the message both the ads conclude with.

The idea of associating warmth, friendliness and care with the brand Indian Airlines, came from the brief. "The agency was asked to work out a campaign that would compel people - especially the non IA-flyers to revise their opinion about IA and see it in a positive light. Since perception is a matter of mind and emotions, TV was chosen as the medium of communication. The agency was briefed to deliver a campaign, which is visually pleasing, arresting and one that creates an emotional connect with the viewers," says Manjira Khurana, head, marketing, Indian Airlines.

To that adds, Radharani Mitra, executive creative director, Bates India, "Indian Airlines is all about the heart! What we can say positively as a differentiator is that people feel comfortable being themselves on board IA. Our service doesn't smell pretentious."

That required the agency to replace the 'rational service prism' with an 'emotional filter'. "Today's flyer is too involved in rational brand comparisons but also seeks to bond with a brand emotionally. So far, perhaps she has viewed IA through 'a rational service prism'. We needed to provide her with 'an emotional filter' that'll make her connect with IA at the heart level," explains Mitra.

The need to connect with the consumers was driven by the basic marketing concern - Indian Airlines' poor brand perception. "We have been rated as the most trusted airline in the country as per the latest Brand Equity-ORG Marg survey. Research shows that all our rational product benefits are very well recognized but the brand valuation is not commensurate with this. Therefore, the brand perception had to be improved," informs Khurana. "While the brand's rationale block is solid," Mitra adds, "our task was to envelope it with emotions or intangibles to achieve image leadership."

The ad does send a message of warmth and care, and with the festival season round the corner, it could well translate into packed flights for Indian Airlines.


Creative team : Radharani Mitra, executive creative director, Shujoy Dutta, creative group head- copy; Ashish Rehi, art supervisor, Abhinay Deo, director, Ram Sampath, composer. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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