Wednesday, December 28, 2005

999 Lifetime No-Recharge …

I was on leave for few days as I had informed earlier because I was into something. I was away from my laptop, today am back from my break. During my short break managed to read something and the commendable work done by Indian Advertisers especially those from the telecom wing impressed me. With a sudden growth in the telecom sector and un-countable models of mobile handsets entering the market week after week, the services rendered by the telecom service giants such as Airtel and Hutch are no far behind. Every month, week would be better to say they come with some new schemes and offers.

So there is a chain reaction happening triggered by telecom service and added features, which ends up with some innovative adverstising. Airtel has introduced the "Lifetime" prepaid card with life time validity. This plan allows users to take a pre-paid connection with lifetime validity for a one time payment of Rs 999. The user can then continue to receive calls throughout their life without having to recharge.

The move is reportedly aimed at stopping the churn in the pre-paid subscriber base - once a subscriber takes this plan,s/he will remain an Airtel subscriber whether the mobile is in use or not. The "Lifetime" prepaid card also offers the user full talk time on every future recharge of any denomination and can be availed by all existing and potential mobile users.

Airtel aims to take affordability to a whole new level and maintains that this offer will open up new segments of the market. There is no change though in the airtime charges. All local calls will be charged at Rs 1.99 a minute and all STD calls will be charged at Rs 2.99 a minute.

So after a day when I flipped through the newspaper, I found a similar programme launched by Hutch and the terms and conditions are almost the same and may vary by a point or two in all. Hutch has named it “Hutch Chalta Rahe”.

Leave apart the services part, what impressed me most was the turn around time, the consummate ease and dexterity with which both the camps turned to this competitive market. I don’t feel all these happened over-night infact the strategists and planners would have done their homework before but the presentation in the end was perfect each trying to overtake the other.

The world is awash in advertising clutter. For decades marketers have been spending more and more to try to get their message out, only to find their pitches drowned out in a sea of noise generated by countless other marketers trying to do the same thing. In effect, companies have been paying big bucks to be ignored. Now, inspired by the feel good factor wave running all over India and wide usage of mobile phones by youth , advertisers are dreaming up new ways to break through the clutter and connect with potential customers at a lower cost.

Hope you have seen a fundu ad by “Hutch”.It goes like this..

Sorry Recharge khatam ho gaya
Girl-friend ko I LOVE YOU bolna hai or Recharge khatam...
Ab kya karoge????
Main batata hu kya karnaa hai...
Kabutar ke galle mey ghanti bandoge???
Thekke pe jao, daru ka choota pauch kharido,chaar
Peg maro or
Girl-friend ke gar ke bahar khade
ho ke jor se bolo...
ishe Kabutar mehanga pad jayega......

This ad promoted by “Hutch” is perfectly addressed by Irfan in his true classy style. The best part it conveys what it wants. The tone is a bit badwy surely but good enough for the young buds who are always out of money and need the small recharge card. The market for small recharge cards is no doubt big in India.I personally feel Irfan has done the right justice to this ad with his rustic heavy voice which the sophistication of a SK or childish voice of Sachin would not have achieved. Irfan lost in his own thoughts dilemma is used smartly. The message is crystal clear. The brand value is the key focus and also the target market and this is presented in a smart and subtle way.

Well all this doesn’t mean that “Airtel” is far behind, their ads are also innovative and have freshness, rawness and originality("Bhar Lo Duniya Apne Muthi Main"). The crux is that the Indian Advertising stage is going great guns…

Remain connected and more to come…


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