The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Airtel recently released it’s second in a campaign series for ‘Video Calling.

They had released the first film in this series a few weeks ago. I would call it the ‘Successful Disaster’. Here’s the film for your quick reference.

The Airtel Boss Film

Here’s what I believe is wrong (and right) with this film.

  • Unnecessarily touched sensitive social issue
  • Bad story line
  • Very contrived thought process
  • Layered creative
  • A clean give-away of the so-called suspense somewhere in between. One can easily guess it

On the positive side

  • Generated a lot of discussion – However bad the discussion was on Social Media, it ended up getting discussed a lot
  • Nice casting & performance
  • Chic production

And then… Airtel followed it up with this second TVC for the same product offering… Video Calling.

Airtel 5 Star Hotel Film

  • Great performance
  • Simple & straight forward storyline
  • Nice believable casting
  • No overbearing social issues touched upon
  • Touches the right nerves… Emotive (Although, I tend to believe that the Thai Commercials lately are the best when it comes to touching emotions the right way).
  • Better product placement
  • Better production

From a communications perspective, although the second TVC is a much better offering, the first one was a better success primarily because it got discussed more in media than the second. In fact, the second one doesn’t get any mention at all, while #AirtelBoss trended for a few days.

Consumer Behavior

A recent parallel to this is the #IStandWithDeepikaPadukone issue. With all the ingredients of this entire issue being stage-managed, some really big people fell into the trap and started sharing their points of view and ended up trending a subject creating a lot of noise around what Social Media cutely calls – a ‘nontroversy’.

Similarly, Airtel created a nontroversy and let it loose on unsuspecting consumers who were only ready to jump at the first instance like a bunch of canines for a bowl of food.

1.4 seconds. 140 characters. And you have a half witted statement on SM.

Brand got what it wanted! People were discussing about them. What the brand could not achieve by a ‘good communication’ has been achieved by creating a nontroversy. Airtel handled it beautifully. Never responded to it. Never reacted. Continued running it and phasing it out the way it should ideally be done. Brilliant job!

Kudos Airtel! I see this as a case study on today’s customer.

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