What started as a construction company in 1969 has today expanded into a $15 billion global conglomerate with interests in steel, energy, power, telecom, shipping, construction and mining. To narrate the Essar story and communicate its philosophy, the Essar Group has launched a new communications campaign, being aired across TV channels since February 1, 2010.
Until now, the Group has believed in letting its performance speak for itself. However, now with its strong international focus and its entry into consumer-facing businesses, the Group aims to generate greater brand awareness and at the same time, attract top professional talent to fulfill its growth objectives.
Ogilvy & Mather came on board to help the Group with its brand strategy. And that is how the ‘Let’s begin’ campaign took shape.
“We are amongst India’s larger conglomerates today, with operations in more than 20 countries across five continents. We employ 60,000 people across our various businesses. As we make forays into newer business areas and geographies, it is imperative that our brand becomes more visible in the public domain. And hence, the new campaign,” explained Rewant Ruia, Director, Essar Group.
The objective of the campaign is essentially to showcase Essar to stakeholders globally. In doing so, the Group also wants to build a lasting image as well as attract top tier talent.
While creating the campaign, O&M had two major challenges to address. First, to create a communication that talked about the Essar philosophy, the Group’s journey and achievements so far. The second was to do all this in the same communication.
O&M came up with the thought ‘Let’s begin’. Why should one of India’s biggest companies say ‘Let’s begin’? The answer to this question would lead to the creative execution for the thought.
“‘Let’s Begin’ is almost like a guiding philosophy for us as entrepreneurs,” said Ruia.
By informing the consumers of Essar’s milestones, its entrepreneurial strain, its size, and scope, the commercial ends with the line ‘Because every achievement is not an end, but the beginning of a new journey’. This captures the Essar philosophy most succinctly: the idea being never to rest on past laurels, but to reach out for greater heights each day.
In order to execute the TV campaign, O&M brought on board The Mill, a world-renowned Oscar-winning visual effects company. The commercial conveys the size, scale and diversity of the Group and in a simple manner with a man drawing up images of the Group’s different verticals on a blackboard. This treatment holds resonance for the Essar Group, because as entrepreneurs, the act of continuous value creation is symbolised aptly by a man constantly sketching on a chalkboard.
Ad director and composer McBess of The Mill said, “The initial script described animated doodles in a notepad, which appealed to us and our animation style.” During the treatment process, McBess developed the idea further and decided that to use chalk on a large blackboard would offer more texture and give the film an interesting feel. Using 3D-generated chalk animations to add parallax provided another level of interest. It also meant that most of the animations could be done before the shoot, the only requirement on the shoot day was to trace the first frame of each animation onto the board.
Along with his colleague Simon, McBess cultivated the idea that by using a continuous stream of chalk drawing they could skillfully tie together Essar’s different offerings into one charming spot, injecting the brand with its own unique personality.
Aubrey, the colorist for the commercial, added, “I used contemporary tones; different pastels to bring out a colourful grade that was full of life to compliment the animation’s story. The end result is warm and inviting, a perfect match to McBess and Simon’s work.”
To help execute the campaign, Essar brought on board Vizeum India (an Aegis Media group company) to manage its media strategy. S Yesudas, MD, Vizeum India, said, “The challenge was to ensure a multi-media strategy to deliver the communication to various stakeholders of Essar in an impactful and optimal manner. We also needed to keep in mind the stature of Brand Essar. This led us to adopt a ‘quality not quantity’ approach for the selection of media channels and the manner of execution.”
The TV campaign launched on February 1 and will be followed by print and out-of-home campaigns. The campaign will run across most of the year in a phased manner. The Group is focusing more on creating a high-end quality campaign rather than a mass-scale one. Yesudas added, “We will also be looking at various other media opportunities which brand can leverage in a strategic manner. The position ‘Let’s begin’ lends itself beautifully for various innovations.”