Bharti Airtel Ltd’s new television commercial created by K.S. ‘Chax’ Chakravarthy, national creative director, Rediffusion DYR Pvt. Ltd, has topped Mint’s monthly ad survey. The ad film shows how a grandson bridges the differences between his father and grandfather through a phone call. Excerpts from an interview.
What was the client’s brief for this campaign?
Communications from Airtel have always concentrated on the network strength. The only brief that Gopal Vittal (the new marketing director for Airtel) gave us was to concentrate on the emotional pay-off to what this company is all about. So, while the new ads still focus on the strength of the network, it is being emphasized at a new level—we bring people together no matter how far apart they are. The first ad film—the grandson visits his grandparents to try and bridge the gap between his father and grandfather, and succeeds by making that one crucial phone call. The next ad, showing the grandson using the cellphone to keep in touch with his grandfather on a train back home, is a logical continuation.
There are no celebrities in the new ad. Was that a conscious decision?
Over the years, Airtel has only used celebrities for promotions. They definitely add value and help break through the clutter. We use them for special offers and promos. However, in the long run, the company does not want to be known as a particular star’s mobile network. The brand would rather use thematic advertising that resonates with the consumer, rather than just rely on celebrities.
The ad is set in rural India. Is it trying to strike a chord with a new audience?
This campaign was actually planned for Kerala. But when we saw the script, we knew that it could be used at the national level. As far as the target audience for Airtel is concerned, the shift is focusing more on the youth. As a society, we are galloping forward, but everyone wants to strike a balance between their personal progress and who they are as a people.
Is it based on an insight from a consumer survey?
Yes. A majority of the respondents of the survey said they would like to keep in touch with their family, parents and grandparents more often than they did. So, the Airtel campaign will be interpreted at the emotional level to make that consumer connect.