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Revisiting Airtel’s recreation of Kapil Dev’s iconic 1983 World Cup innings

Airtel's 'Future is Airtel 5G’ campaign won the Best Influencer Marketing Campaign award at Digies 2023. Here is how the campaign was executed.

Last year, Airtel recreated Kapil Dev's historic innings at 1983 Cricket World Cup, in its campaign titled 'Future is Airtel 5G'. The campaign won Gold at Digies 2023 in Best Influencer Marketing Campaign category. Here is how the campaign was executed by the influencer marketing agency Look Who's Talking.

To promote its 5G services, Airtel launched an influencer-led campaign last year. Titled ‘Future is Airtel 5G’, the campaign featured 27 popular influencers of India. It won the Best Influencer Marketing Campaign award at Digies 2023, with an average jury score of nine out of 10. 

One of the outstanding feats of the campaign was its holographic recreation of Kapil Dev’s historic, and almost mythical, innings in the 1983 World Cup.

Conceptualised and executed by the influencer marketing agency Look Who’s Talking, the campaign aimed to employ Airtel’s 5G prowess to bring to life Dev’s ‘lost’ iconic performance, which wasn’t televised or recorded in 1983. 

The campaign saw more than 50 concurrent users stream in a demonstration held at Airtel’s Network Experience Center, Manesar.

The users witnessed the recreation of the match on their smartphones, with access to multiple camera angles, a 360-degree in-stadia view, shot analysis and stats. After the premiere, Dev addressed the audience, albeit, in his holographic avatar. 

To amplify this tech wizardry, the campaign roped in influencers such as Technical Guruji and TechBurner, who vlogged their way through the event. Popular Internet celebrities such as Gaurav Taneja and Prajakta Koli also shared Instagram Reels on the possibilities of 5G technology during the campaign.

In a conversation with afaqs!, Look Who’s Talking’s CEO Govind Mahadevan shares how the campaign was storyboarded and then executed.

Govind Mahadevan
Govind Mahadevan

“As a brief mentioned to us, Airtel wanted to introduce India’s first wireless hologram and recreate Dev’s historic 1983 WC innings. The brand wanted us to create and ignite an adequate amount of awareness through the right advocates to showcase this new technology across the nation.”

On the strategy that went into carrying out the campaign, Mahadevan informs, “To keep it simple, we understood the tech innovation and brand messaging, based on which we helped the brand select forerunners of the segments - tech, sports and entertainment.”

The agency then pulled in some prominent celebrities to take the message forward. “We collaborated with celebrated footballer Sunil Chhetri, acclaimed boxer Mary Kom, and legendary cricketers such as Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Shami, and more.” 

Mahadevan says that the agency identified the influencers for the campaign on the basis of their mass appeal and ability to reach out to different pockets of society.

“To rightly convey the brand’s message and vision to the audience, we scoured the lengths and breadths of the nation to collaborate with influencers. Our chosen influencers needed to have a mass appeal, an ability to reach out to various spheres of life and society, and match up to the brand’s vision.”

“Within a span of days, the campaign managed to achieve 200 million-plus consumers, with more than 90 million engagement. It proved that consumers across the country were eagerly waiting for these tech innovations.”

The campaign utilised various new-age technologies, including VR immersion, FIT 360 (a device worn around the neck), and drone scans, in addition to the holographic film. The purpose behind these tech gimmicks, Mahadevan says, was to showcase the use case scenarios of Airtel 5G. 

“The AR/VR immersive booths allowed influencers to enjoy games and events, with Airtel 5G. FIT 360 gives a live 360-degree view in 4K. The event also saw the use of cloud gaming zones to illustrate seamless gaming experience, and live drone scans to demonstrate the power of Airtel 5G Plus for business warehouse inventory management.”

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