Dec 4, 2008

Mktg - Bharti aims to revive history with its new campaign

Khushboo Tanna

While Airtel has, over the years, taken the help of Bollywood actors, Bharti Enterprises, the parent company of Airtel, has followed the non-celebrity path for its first ever corporate campaign. The objective of this corporate campaign is to build the equity of Bharti brand among stakeholders. As the company spokesperson says, “Bharti as a company are into diversified field now, and it was important to communicate the same.”

The corporate campaign coincides with the corporate rebranding of Bharti. The television commercial expresses its new brand identity and the brand motto, ‘Big Transformations through Brave Actions’.

The commercial peeps into the history, and highlights the achievements of Indians, such as Aryabhatta, the inventor of the digit, 0; Sushruta, the father of surgery; Jagdish Bose, who invented wireless communication; Vinod Dham, inventor of the computer chip; and Mahatma Gandhi, all of whom have changed the world with their beliefs. The ad ends with the super: “When you stand up for what you believe in, you can change the world. If one Indian can influence the world to such an extent, just imagine what one billion of us can do.”

The ad has been conceptualised by Percept/H and was shot by Kunal Shivdasani from Virtual Reality. This project was led by Samarth Shrivastava, associate vice president and Nidhi Mehra, creative group head at Percept/H.

Dilip Marathe, creative head, Percept/H, spoke to afaqs! about the thought behind the campaign: “The aim was to show Indians who believed in what they did and, thus, inspire a billion other Indians to follow in their footsteps. These people have altered history with their brave actions and their work. If it is possible for a single person to do so much, imagine what a billion of us can do.”

According to Marathe the ad was kept black and white to make it look subtle. “The campaign talks about leaders from the past, it seemed more apt to shoot the ad it in black and white rather than colour.”

But at some point, isn’t the ad reminiscent of an earlier Airtel ad (Express Yourself), more so because both tell their stories through the use of vignettes and because both use the Airtel tune at the end?

Iqbal Raj, national creative director, Percept/H, has a different explanation. “We have deliberately decided to execute the ad in the same format as the Express Yourself Airtel ad because that ad is very well known and popular. The same goes for the Airtel tune.”

He explains the reason for the similarity. “While the literate masses are aware that Airtel is a Bharti Enterprise company, the lower strata of society do not know that. And that is precisely what we are trying to convey to them with the campaign.”

The Airtel tune was first introduced when the brand was launched in Mumbai, close to a decade ago. It has been a trademark ingredient of all Airtel ads since then, with minor modifications to suit the mood of each ad. The tune was composed by the noted music director, AR Rahman.

A spokesperson from Bharti shared some reasons for releasing a positive corporate ad now when the economy is spiralling downwards. “The new TVC celebrates the achievements of Indians who brought about major transformations through their thoughts and actions. It also brings forward the potential held by a nation of a billion plus people. In many ways, this also reflects the spirit of Bharti.”

He adds that the rebranding is in line with their new vision of making Bharti India's finest conglomerate by 2020, by bringing about ‘Big Transformations through Brave Actions’.

Some people from the industry shared their views about the ad with afaqs!

Jagdish Acharya, executive creative director, Mudra DDB, says, “I enjoyed watching the ad because I am proud to be an Indian. The ad connects to the Indian within us. But the execution or the thought behind the campaign says nothing about the brand.”

Prathap Suthan, national creative director, Cheil Communications, says, “The thought behind the ad is not a new one; it has been around for a long time. But I like the way they have played around with the brand name in the ad. The ad is quite similar to the Airtel ad and I feel that's a positive thing because it kills two birds with one stone. It promotes Bharti as well as Airtel.”

See it here -

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