Oct 24, 2008

Mktg - Airtel's Voice SMS Campaign - Kantabai? (G.Read)

Neha Kalra

Kantabai, the character in Karan Johar’s hit production, Kal Ho Naa Ho, had what it takes to become a ‘filmi’ legend. And Airtel’s new TV commercial for its voice SMS product proves the point through a reprise of sorts. The TVC will enter viewers’ living rooms on Saturday, but you can be the first to watch it now, here on afaqs!


In terms of work, the TVC offers a different approach by the creative agency, Rediffusion Y&R, for the brand. For Hindi film actors Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor, the TVC is the first time they will share the advertising screen.

The film opens on Shah Rukh Khan standing in the balcony of a house and Saif walking up to him. Saif opens the floor for conversation, "I miss you so much, it hurts." SRK turns his face and walks away. Saif approaches him again when he’s bathing, but has the shower curtain drawn in his face for his pains.

Next, Saif is shown working out at the gym, repeating the golden words, "I miss you so much, it hurts." SRK, who is standing behind him, punches him hard in the stomach, only to get a pain-steeped version of the same dialogue. And as Saif speaks his lines, SRK records it on his mobile. Next, he punches a few keys on the phone.

The next shot opens on Saif's real life girlfriend, Kareena, sitting with a friend and fulminating against her boyfriend. When her mobile rings, she picks it up after much nudging from her friend. But when she hears the pain wracked lines, she softens visibly. This is followed by a super, 'Voice SMS', and the voiceover, "Add emotion to your messages with voice SMS." The film ends with the Airtel logo.

Giving his first byte to the media on the TVC, Chandrashekhar Radhakrishnan (Chandru), head, brand and media, Bharti Airtel, tells afaqs!, "Airtel is looking at various opportunities to engage with the youth. Through offerings such as Song Catcher, Hello Tune and Music on Demand, we are strengthening the brand's promise towards the young audience. Voice SMS has the potential to define the language of the youth." Chandru believes that the voice SMS platform adds impact and emotion to messages.

The service is priced at 75 paise per SMS.

The brief that was provided to Rediffusion was to talk about adding emotion to messages. "The initial creative presentation was based on the story of two friends and the girlfriend of one of them. The celebrity angle came in later and has actually led to it being a stronger proposition in terms of communication," Chandru explains.

Amitesh Rao, national head on Airtel at Rediffusion, says, "The brand is looking at starting a new youth phenomenon with the product as well as the communication that one can see. Every new product or piece of communication becomes a fad. Considering the product, the youth is most likely to pick it up first, fast."

Brand Airtel has used several celebrities in recent times, beginning with the ads featuring R Madhavan and Vidya Balan. In fact, the latest TVC for Airtel digital TV is bubbling with stars, though SRK’s absence is noticeable, maybe because he endorses the rival DishTV.

"One can see that Airtel has seen a high usage of celebrities in its communication over the last six months. But the inclusion of SRK, Saif and Kareena for this TVC came in at the production stage," reveals Rao.

Apart from Ramanuj Shastry and Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, national creative directors, Rediffusion Y&R, who have worked closely on the creative for the ad, Deepesh Jha and Jaideep Mahajan, creative heads on Airtel, have also contributed to the ideation.

The product, Chandru, says, has been rigorously tested over a period of three to six months amongst the prospective target consumers. He reveals that market research talks about the urban market using such a product for sending fun messages to people close to them.

Sources reveal that the film has been shot at a whopping budget of Rs 1.5-2 crore, which includes the costs incurred on the celebrities. Apart from television, radio and outdoor will also be part of the communication for the product. Considering the youth quotient that the brand is aiming at, viral campaigns and social networking will be used, too.

The story has a marked similarity to the Kantabai scenes in Kal Ho Naa Ho. Was it deliberate? "There was already a context to SRK and Saif – we only got to push it further," says Chandru.

The film has been shot in Mumbai over two days by Corcoise Films and it has been directed by Prashant Issar.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is great! VoiceSMS has huge potential but is yet to be leveraged; with a launch by a major provider it should gain the traction it deserves. Imagine, instead of breaking your fingers over typing a text sms you can just call a number with a *prefix and leave a message ... college kids will lap this up and from there it should spread like wild fire to all other segments.