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The logic behind the longest commercial for a low-cost carrier

16-March-2007
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The logic behind the longest commercial for a low-cost carrier

It is known that the much-acclaimed work on Air Deccan by Bangalore-based Orchard Advertising has found a mention in the Limca Book of Records 2007. But why did the agency come up with the idea of making the longest commercial ever for a low-cost carrier? For the record, the TVC titled ‘The Old Man and the Sky’ was 150 seconds long.

Orchard did an internal case study on their Air Deccan work. The case study describes the work as “a completely unorthodox strategy” and dubs it as probably the best synergised multimedia campaign ever run in the Indian market, that too on a very small budget. The study highlights that the campaign was all about making a high-impact film and then driving high viewership using a varied mix of print, outdoor, Internet, radio, SMS, posters and leaflets.

Commenting on the genesis of this idea, Nitish Mukherjee, Managing Director, Orchard Advertising, said, “Advertising for us has never been about coming up with a typical solution. Low-cost air carriers have been associated with low-budget advertising too. We decided to turn the table and make the longest commercial in the history of Indian advertising to mark the opening of the skies and making flying affordable to many.”

He added, “We were also looking at making an emotional connect with the people as Air Deccan was a revolution in itself which would make the dream of flying a reality for many. That’s where the idea of `the old man and the sky’ came into being, a unified idea that could be taken across various mediums.”

The strategy behind the short movie treatment for the commercial was to cash in on the popularity of film as a medium in India. As the case study points out, being a low-fare airline, the attempt was to find smart ways to magnify the impact at the lowest possible cost. The agency created `the consumer funnel’. This essentially meant pulling the consumer to where the brand message was.

What is remarkable is that Orchard used just seven channels for four days where people were invited to watch the TVC on select niche channels at select times, by appointment.

As pre-publicity, Orchard came up with posters highlighting the central idea which were put up at travel agencies and airports. The agency also sent mailers to a large database, which had almost a trailer of the film. The launch was also supported with a ground level promotion - `Gift your father a ticket’ - where 250 return tickets were given away as prizes to fathers of winners. Yet another initiative was to tie-up with Indiatimes, to get people to watch the commercial and also enter a contest to win a flight ticket.

The film was scripted by Thomas Xavier of Orchard Advertising and directed by Manoj Pillai of Thinkpot Films, Bangalore.

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