Vodafone's elderly couple Vs Airtel's kids: Telecom operators put the cute appeal to test

The two telecom giants return to the combat zone with their new 360-degree campaigns as they compete for brand recall, consumers

e4m by Sarmistha Neogy
Updated: May 9, 2017 8:05 AM
Vodafone's elderly couple Vs Airtel's kids: Telecom operators put the cute appeal to test

It’s the battle between David and Goliath again as Airtel and Vodafone compete in the ad space for the Indian Premiere League (IPL) Season 10. The telecom operators are known for their aggressive marketing and are back with their new 360 degree campaigns to lure customers. Even though both the telecom giants are talking about their respective networks, they have adopted a fresh tone and an innovative approach to their communication.

Vodafone talks about the brand’s strong 4G network by depicting the story of an elderly couple enjoying their second honeymoon. Airtel, on the other hand, show kids in their narrative to reinforce the brand’s leadership as the best smartphone network.

Ogilvy India has conceptualised the ads for Vodafone. Each ad highlights the reach of their data network through the eyes of an old couple. For Airtel, Taproot Dentsuhas positioned children to represent boundless imagination in their communication and to show that as a brand, they take inspiration from it to build a future-ready network.

Agnello Dias, Chairman and Co-Founder, Taproot Dentsu said, “Airtel always comes across as a future-ready mobile network as it constantly innovates and pushes the envelope. We thought there was a strong parallel in what a mobile network like Airtel can help smartphone users achieve and the innocent imagination of a child's expectations from the world of tomorrow. Thus, Airtel and kids was an apt fit.”



Brand strategy

Commenting on the brand strategy, Siddharth Banerjee- Executive Vice President, Marketing, Vodafone India said, “Our research and consumer insights indicate that mobile internet is increasingly being used by customers across age groups for multiple applications like live streaming, maps, movie download, group video calls, etc. Vodafone continues to invest in building Vodafone SuperNet™ 4G – The Data Strong Network™ to provide a fast and consistent mobile internet experience for our customers. Our latest campaign captures moments from the life of an old couple who are young at heart and out on a trip to make the most of now with the Data Strong Network.”

Sharing the strategy behind Airtel’s new communication, Rajiv Mathrani, Chief Brand Officer, Bharti Airtel said, “A digital lifestyle enabled by smartphones is fast becoming the new normal and customers always wish to do more with their devices. At Airtel, we have invested in world-class technology to build a future-ready smartphone network that allows customers to do exactly that. What better way to showcase the endless possibilities of a smartphone on the Airtel network than through the limitless imagination of kids?”

Marketing mediums

Other than the TVC, Vodafone is creating awareness about their Vodafone Super Net (4G) through OOH, digital and on-ground activations. Airtel is also promoting their 360 degree campaign on all national TV channels, with a strong presence in digital and retail networks.

Experts decode which communication works better

Commenting on who would win the race between the two , Naresh Gupta, CSO, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle said, “Telecom industry has finally put the ultimate cute appeal to test. Loveable kids fighting for attention against really sweet old couple, I have never had to make this choice. Of the two, I will tilt to the Vodafone commercial just a little bit, than the Airtel TVC.”

The reason he likes it more is because he feels that it has a stronger story andhe sees a lot of it happening around him.On the other hand, he also agrees that the Airtel ad does a better job of selling the network for smartphone but where it loses out is the on use of kids.

“The casting of the Vodafone ad lifts the commercial’s appeal. Just the casting alone is enough to create memorability. It’s a nice way for Vodafone to move from network to data strong network. This is the part that I believe is a long haul and people may not notice the new appeal. On the other hand, the cute appeal of kids somehow does not work, may be there have been too many ads with kids these days,” he explained.

However, Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman & Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consults believes that both the communication of Vodafone and Airtel addresses different segments and are effective in their own way. “While the Vodafone ad brings joy and fun to the elderly and show them enjoying like kids, the Airtel ‘children’ ad showcases kids behaving maturely. Both these communications are talking to different segments, but bringing out messages about smartness, versatility and being able to do everything with everyone everywhere.”

Who will have a higher brand recall?

Kapoor feels that both the ads are doing a good job in terms of brand recall. “Kids will recall the Vodafone grandparent’s ad, while the elderly will recall the Airtel children’s ad. Also, the young adults, teenagers and the middle-aged section of the audience will recall both the ads,” he added.

Gupta from Bang in the Middle, shared, “Overall, I think both ads will be remembered, less for the proposition and more for the cute appeal that they have created. Despite my liking for the Vodafone TVC, I feel the memorability for Airtel may be higher.”

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