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BPL Mobile: A brand on the prowl

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BPL Mobile: A brand on the prowl

Amitabh Bachchan was appointed by BPL as a brand ambassador in mid nineties for its consumer electronics. Now, the superstar is present in a number of ads and endorses innumerable brands. The advent of BPL mobile saw the company focusing on emotional bonding, wide network coverage and clarity of communication. The planks being used by most leading cellular operators in their communication now. States a satiated Sanjay Prabhu, Vice President, Brand Management, BPL Mobile, “Been there, done that.”

Times changed, BPL mobile somehow developed the image of being a fuddy duddy service, while the new kids on the block raced past at least in terms of perception. It was more true of Mumbai than any other region perhaps. And then came an ORG MARG brand survey which put it above all the other private cellular operators – way ahead in fact. Consumers still trust the brand! “In spite of being present in four regions only, our score is better than the players with a national footprint,” stresses Prabhu.

And now the sleeping giant is wide awake. As reported earlier, a lot of money has been pumped in by BPL in improving the quality of its cellular services. And now it is the time to communicate it to the consumer – existing as well as the future. The focus in on Outdoor for localized communication (Javed Jaffery campaign in Mumbai) and television for the National communication.

Here the focus was on getting free (a wire free world), and intent creating a campaign that is ‘different’ from others on the airwaves now. Result, a small boy stuck in the classroom waiting for the bell to go, a butterfly trapped in a cobweb, desperate to free itself, a kabbadi player, desperate to shake off the opposing team. Suddenly the bell rings, the butterfly gets free and kabbadi player touches the line. The spirit of freedom all around – welcome to BPL mobile’s wire free world.

Prasoon Pandey, the director of the new ad film is delighted by the outcome. Says Pandey, “We wanted to create an ad that would cut through the category and hence we decided not to use synthetic or Black Book kind of images. We have used very very rooted images and situations and treated them in an avant-garde way which is reflective of the category.” It was part of the communication strategy worked out by BPL and its agency TBWA. Explains Narayanan, “we wanted to be Indian in our appeal, international in our exposure.”

As to how were those images decided upon, states Pandey, “It is in fact an excellent combination of images – for instance a butterfly stuck in the cobweb is very literal but then we could go as lateral as we wanted and hence the boy stuck in the classroom. The basket of images that is there presents the idea. These images are the result of continuous discussions with TBWA creative team.”

The film, states Pandey has enough fill in the blanks, “because when people fill in the blanks, it becomes their own statement, but very cleverly crafted fill in the blank, where there is only one word that they can fill in.” Adds Narayan Kumar, Executive Creative Director, TBWA, “There is no voiceover at all – no one telling you live your life free, cut free or whatever. We have kept away from getting too mushy on one hand and being cold technology oriented on the other. Technology platform had to be there – because that is what the brand and the category is all about – but we have presented in an engaging international Indian manner.”

As to what is the brand expecting out of this piece of communication, laughs Prabhu, “A lot of applause!” but on a more serious note, he explains, “Our differentiation platform has been innovation and technology. Delivering outstanding clarity. This is the wire free theme, and this campaign is a building block in that. This commercial enable the brand to suddenly become very young and capture the attention of youngsters. In a crowded market place it would be a differentiator.”

Does he also expect his competitors’ consumers to be lured in through this commercial. “Yes”, states Prabhu, “but it would not only be because of this commercial but also due to the great investment and enhancement in the service that we have brought in.”

The campaign went on air and last Saturday. As there is no voice over, there is no need to change the dubbing from region to region. The commercial with a pacy beat and an international touch is definitely going to capture a lot of attention. But would it propel BPL Mobile’s growth in a big way? We would have to just wait and watch (the commercial), I guess.


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