The use of celebrities in ads is not something that most often finds favour with my colleagues in creative, so I wonder how many will applaud this ad, which I do. They say, when you don’t have an idea, bung in a celebrity. Yet the number of ads with major celebrities is on the increase. So I am left guessing if we are drying up on ideas, or creatives have changed their minds. At least I am consistent in my belief that in many highly competitive and heavily advertised categories, the use of celebrities with a bit of intelligence works, more often than not.
How does one announce the late arrival of a 1,000lbs guerrilla in a new category to make the entire diverse C&S country, with varied interests ranging from films, soaps and cricket, sit up and take notice? And, in a market entrenched with two media-savvy marketers, Dish and Tata Sky, entrenched in terms of mind space, not market penetration? The task is daunting and this commercial meets the challenge head on.
The storyline provides the opportunity to introduce characters familiar to target audiences and (already) associated with the brand, and silently communicates in a matter of fact way that something big is happening in this category. The use of the red, opulent armchair cues in the new product category, makes the viewer feel like a king, and the familiar music binds everything together.
Airtel TV did not have to worry about mediaweights because the launch campaign was aided by a nervous new competitor adding to its weight and contributing to the buzz.
The strategic decision to brand the service Airtel TV is a masterstroke, and in my view will help make Airtel one of the most, if not the most, visible brands on TV and in other media—and help make it, arguably, the country’s most valuable single brand, dwindling market caps not withstanding.
I give the campaign full marks on communication. What now remains is the minor matter of monetizing the campaign through success in the marketplace, where the challenge is equally daunting.
Sam Balsara is chairman and managing director, Madison World