‘Hutch is now Vodafone’ -- any viewer who would watch any channel from the STAR India Network would have seen this message many times over by now. And even if one has missed it on TV, it would be rather difficult to miss it in the press and the outdoor media. Vodafone’s attempt is to literally paint the nation red, and the single-minded marketing objective is to establish high and quick brand salience.
Harit Nagpal, Director-Marketing, Vodafone, divulged that the telecom major’s marketing strategy revolved around getting the “solus” or the “clutter-free” ads in every vehicle possible of every medium. He said, “We wanted to reach the audience in clutter-free environments. There are many devices that we have we used, and the roadblock on STAR India is one such move. This is the front-page solus equivalent of television.”
Nagpal explained that different audience segments were present on television at different times of the day, which was one of the reasons to partner with a single network in this fashion. Nagpal further divulged that the channel was in conversation with other broadcasters too for such partnerships, and other networks were forthcoming. However, the timing in closing the deal was important and that also worked in STAR India’s favour. He added, “We are doing other things with other broadcasters as well.”
Vodafone’s creative agency O&M has created a mix of a 60-second film, along with many 10 and five-second films, which will be interspersed and be shown on various channels. The TVC shows the mutt, used for the award winning Hutch TVCs as well, leave a pink and green coloured dog-kennel, wandering everywhere, and returning to find a new red and white coloured home with more than one opening. The tagline follows, ‘Change is good’, with the baseline ‘Hutch is now Vodafone’. Some of the other ads use the boy and girl sketches to unveil the new logo.
The creative is in line with the marketing objective of creating awareness and brand salience. However, would the viewers not get irritated by seeing the same ads over and over again for 24 hours? Nagpal replied, “Even in the first stages of discussing this deal, we were clear that while we take this exclusivity to be on their channel, we don’t want to do anything to irritate the viewer. On the contrary, we should be able to create a positive experience for them.”
Nagpal elaborated that for starters, Vodafone is not using the complete 10 or 12 minutes of commercial time in the one-hour of programming. It was for the channel to decide on what could be done with rest of the time. He said, “We are using as much required. The remaining time has been used for programming, or other such initiatives from STAR India, and this really works better for the viewer.”
Given the target of 10 to 15 days to create this brand salience, Vodafone has taken twice the OOH space it currently has for the next couple of weeks as boosters. In the press medium, the telecom major has taken the front-page solus ads wherever the newspaper was committing, or else has gone for the page three of page five, where it has occupied the bottom one-third of the page. Every newspaper and the other media too are on Vodafone’s list.
When asked whether Airtel’s brand colour also bring red, poses any problem, Nagpal said, “Branding goes beyond the colour and the shape of the logo. The brand is creative, and more importantly, its services matter more. When you have these two elements right, you can be of any colour and your logo can even be an amoeba!”
Vodafone is spending heavily to get to its TG through various vehicles in every medium. Will it be a marketing campaign that stays with the Indian consumer for a long time? We will know soon.