New Delhi: Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor is facing serious competition, and not just on the silver screen. The young actor, who appears in the new advertising campaign for the online travel portal is trying to attract the attention of travellers already being wooed by actors like Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh (MakeMyTrip) and Deepika Padukone (Goibibo acquired by MakeMyTrip).

The new ad, created by advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, introduces Yatra’s new brand proposition of being ‘India ka travel planner’ and says that the portal offers a variety of products including ticketing, hotels and cab bookings. The film, created like a musical, features Kapoor in a make-believe world where he highlights a wide variety of products that the website offers and how they can be customised to one’s individual needs. The campaign will be heavily promoted across television and digital platforms.

“Yatra, as a brand, understands varied consumer preferences, hence, caters to all kinds of travellers and for all kinds of travel. Whether you are a conventional tourist, an experimental traveller or an adventurous explorer, you will always find a suitable solution on The film, in a very creative manner, showcases the ever expanding portfolio of travel products which Yatra has and the contrasting target audience which it caters to, thus, making it India’s travel planner, " said Vikrant Mudaliar, chief marketing officer,

Currently, almost all the online travel portals are relying on celebrity advertising. Unlike MakeMyTrip which is focusing on individual products like hotel bookings and Goibibo which is promoting its referral feature, Yatra has taken a consolidated marketing approach, positioning Yatra as a ‘one-stop shop’ of all the travel needs from ticketing, hotel and cab bookings across domestic and international markets.

Advertising experts believe that the online travel category is witnessing ‘celebrity war’ with firms bringing the hottest and most popular stars to grab the attention of young travellers. “Yatra has taken a different route of highlighting its range of products but the audience it is targeting is well aware of the variety of products and services offered. I feel Yatra needed a much sharper narrative which could hold the creative together. For me, this looks like a missed opportunity," said Naresh Gupta, strategy head and managing partner, advertising agency Bang in the Middle.

Gupta feels that MakeMyTrip has built a cute narrative around hotels and deals and has managed to create an endearing mass market appeal for itself. Goibibo, on the other hand with Deepika Padukone, is trying to play a rather tricky game of promoting a referral scheme which has been a challenge in the Indian market. “The commercial is straight, to the point, building on the action it expects the audience to take. I hope Deepika has succeeded in everyone sharing their phone books with Goibibo," he added.

Titus Upputuru, creative head, Taproot Dentsu, a Dentsu Aegis Network agency feels that the Yatra ad does a generic selling of a travel portal without saying anything new. According to him while Yatra has kept the advertising approach more brand-centric, MakeMyTrip and Goibibo are hard-selling their products and services. 

“It seems like Yatra has hit a refresh button on the old narrative and highlighted that it deals in both domestic and international travel. Otherwise, it does not give me a single compelling reason to choose Yatra over others. Such a strategy is dangerous for a category which is highly competitive and hence cluttered," he noted.

Meanwhile, Anirban Das Blah, managing director of Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions which manages the brand endorsement businesses of both Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone said that it is crucial for these brands to carefully design their strategies. “Most young people plan and book their trips online. Since the prices on all these platforms are similar, these platforms have to market themselves well to attract loyal consumers," he said.