Resonating with the consumers through a series of creative volcanoes like ‘No Aabaadi, No Barbaadi’ that addressed the issue of overpopulation to building bridges between people speaking different languages through ‘Bolne ke liye bhasha zaruri nahi hoti’, Idea Cellular has garnered eyeballs through innovative ideas and meets the challenge of being relevant to the consumers. From living a ‘Fearless Life’ through Idea 3G to starting a new mission for a greener Earth through ‘Use Mobile, Save Paper’, the ads have stuck to the essential brand promise of ‘An Idea can change your life’.
The charm of Abhishek Bachchan’s ‘What an Idea Sirji!’ captured the pulse of the nation, marrying customer engagement with great ideas. Bachchan was roped in as brand ambassador and portrayed as a character and not a celebrity to keep the commercials different and engaging.
At the Pitch CMO Summit, Sashi Shankar, CMO, Idea Cellular had said, “Idea believes in storytelling.” He added, “Stories have a magical power. They are not attached to any shackles and help in creating emotions or giving wings to one’s imaginations. A good story is always remembered.” The brand has associated itself with various social issues such as education in rural areas (for expansions of coverage and network) and population control (to promote 3G network) providing solutions to many problems. “Like the four elements of nature (air, water, fire and earth), storytelling is also based on four crucial aspects – message, plot, characters and conflict,” explained Shankar.
The recent campaigns of Idea have moved from a social level to a personal level. Reinforcing the pan-India network, Idea launched the ‘Honey Bunny’ commercial with a catchy jingle that enhanced brand recognition, recall and built strong emotional connect with consumers. The jingle received over a lakh likes within the first few days of it going on live and recorded over 50,000 visits on the song download page within few days of the radio and digital campaign taking off.
Ramanujam Sridhar, Founder CEO, brand-comm said, “I would rate Idea as one of the better advertised brands in mobile services. One of the things that made the campaigns memorable could be because of Abhishek Bachchan, as he was strongly registered with the brand. The purpose of choosing socially relevant issues also made a difference.”
He added, “Mobile is such an intensely advertised category that agencies are constantly searching for new ideas to remain relevant. Going back to the message of network and overall presence that Vodafone and Airtel has done for years could mean that the brand is no longer dependent on a brand ambassador. It could mean that people are getting tired of a celebrity and much rather prefer normal characters.” He believes that the brand’s experiment is successful.
According to him, most of the market in India is prepaid and people constantly recharge their mobile phones with a special eye on discount packs, so for them this kind of advertising really counts. “These ads will work better for Idea than some of the earlier experiments,” he explained.
Tapping the marital row, Idea recently produced a commercial that captured a son deliberately swapping his parents’ phones so that they receive calls meant for the other. The ad showed that besides solving societal problems, Idea can also help in improving the understanding between married couples.
Harish Bijoor, CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults remarked, “A brand is all about change and the power of ideas. A brand like Idea cannot stay stuck to one form of advertising. Abhishek Bachchan was relevant and innovative up to a period of time. They have moved on beautifully because it is all about ideas and they had great ideas. Particularly, the telephone exchange ad is very good.”
According to him, telecom brands need to be fresh and they can’t get jaded. The transition has kept the brand fresh keeping up to the change.
Promoting the message of secularism through series of Diwali, Holi, Eid and Christmas ads, Idea portrayed that festivals are a good idea for everyone to come together, celebrate and spread joy.
Anand Halve, Co-Founder, Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy said, “Brand Idea has gone away from the idea of features and packages to the way communication can have a positive impact on society. Use of numbers to fight caste differences, overcome language differences to reading news on mobile and saving paper, Idea has produced some good work. However, the most dramatic shift for Idea was the ‘Honey Bunny’ ad.”
According to him, in the marital row campaign, they addressed a larger problem by helping the couple through phone exchange. All the campaigns address various societal issues in some way or the other except the ‘Honey Bunny’ ad. They are variations, but they follow the larger brand premise of ‘What an Idea’. Hence, it is not a brand differentiated approach at all.
In recent times, when all the telecom brands were milking on friendship and youth, it was important for Idea to connect with the youth and create buzz around the brand. Hence, the strategic shift is quite logical for greater brand salience. However, bringing back Bachchan Junior remains a question.