New Delhi: Incredible India, a campaign introduced in 2002 by ad agency Ogilvy, which put India on the world map as a high-end tourist destination, is back in a refreshed avatar. Ministry of tourism along with CNN’s branded content arm CNN Create has executed four television spots to boost foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in the country.

For the record, FTAs during the period January-September 2017 were 7,120,000 with a growth of 15.5% over the same period last year. Most of these tourists come from Bangladesh followed by the US, UK, Sri Lanka, Australia, Malaysia, Germany, Japan and China.

Unlike the first campaign, which focused purely on tourist spots across the country, the current campaign highlights how each tourist perceives India in his/her individual way. The story has been told through four global personalities—Emma Puttick, a Brisbane-based fashion designer; US travel blogger Clint Johnston; London-based culinary expert Kylee Newton ; and Scottish professional golfer Carly Booth —who share why India continues to inspire and charm them. The four films along with a long-format master film, executed by Skylark Productions, are created like a montage of stunning locales of the country as each guest continues to narrate hisher experience in the background.

Abhijeet Dhar, head of advertising sales, India, at CNN International, said, “The brief from the client was to develop an integrated multi-platform campaign appealing to international travellers, which would provide a fresh perspective and highlight the diversity of travel destinations and experiences offered by India. We have collaborated with the Ministry of Tourism to identify four key focus areas including fashion, cuisine, cruise and golf around which the commercials were developed."

Apart from television, these spots will be promoted across digital and social media platforms, leveraging data from CNN AIM (Audience, Insights and Measurement) to reach specific target audiences.

The films have been shot over a period of 20 days across locations in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Chettianad, Madurai, Kohima, Konohoma (Nagaland), Majuli Islands (Assam), Kaziranga, Kochi, Allepey and Kolkata.

Keyur Shah, director at Skylark Productions, said, “Incredible India provided an unforgettable experience, it gave us a chance of being able to contribute to the archives of this truly magnificent country. So there was hardly a dull moment all through out the shoot."

In addition to launching a revamped website for the Incredible India 2.0 campaign, the government has also launched the “Adopt a Heritage" project, which entails encouraging students and private organisations to participate actively in the maintenance of Indian heritage sites.

Meanwhile, advertising experts seem divided on whether the new campaign takes the journey forward from the original Incredible India campaign.

According to Aneesh Jaisinghani, group creative director at advertising agency Cheil India, the Incredible India 2.0 is the correct evolution for the campaign from the days when it was a montage of some great-looking shots of India.

“That happened to be India’s point of view about itself, but now it is about what the world sees of India. So it works," he said.

Admitting that the series of print ads done by Ogilvy’s V. Sunil for the launch of the Incredible India campaign back in 2002 is his favourite, Jaisinghani feels it is unfair to compare the new campaign with the first one.

However, Gulshan Singh, executive planning director at FCB Interface, is not convinced. He said the montage of images template seems jaded despite managing to convey different experiences that India has for tourists. He said that the first Incredible India campaign had a number of things going for it, including its novelty and freshness. “However, repeating the formula—similar montage of images—doesn’t always ensure the results of the original," he added.

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