Friday, October 07, 2005

A true 'Bharti ya' brand

Its interesting times in the mobile services market in India. Bharti is apparently now targeting the ABCD segment. Which means all social workers like maids, drivers and carpenters should have one. (other workers like call gals already have multiple numbers). In Tata Indicom's ad , Ajay Devgan can be either a non-urban customer or an urban worker; smartly alluding to two segments with one ad. Although I dont understand the tagline 'insaan phone leta hai baat karne ko'. Tell me do dogs buy phones ? Maybe the popular Hutch kutta ad has confused people.
Although Tata Indicom's ad is good due to the star power and catchiness, Bharti's ad is better in execution. Especially the one where auto drivers at a junction reach for their mobiles when they hear a ringtone, but its a cycle rickshawalla who is actually receiving a call for a phoren savari. Then comes the smart business logic ' go mobile for Rs.200' and then in a microfont size 'includes talk time of Rs.50', just showing that the prepaid model of targeting these lower income segments will also be profitable for Bharti.
I have always admired Airtel's advertising campaigns. Their idea of creating a signature ringtone with A R Rehman was brilliant; and they still continue to use that tone. In a masterstroke they elevated the brand without having to talk of talk time , rates etc. Then came the almost magical 'Express Yourself ' campaign stunningly executed with excellent imagery and creativity. It showcased the ubiquitous utility of the mobile phone through the situations ( a fighting couple, a bride entering church, an irate mob) but converted a rational purchase decision to an extension of one's voice. And from that Bharti's market share has kept increasing to being the biggest mobile service provider. Yes they did make the obvious and easy mistake of celebrities endorsements through SRK, Kareena (aargh) and definitely Sachin. (wonder why marketers sell their brains to hang out with these stars). Now they are back on track to scrape the bottom of the market.
Kudos to Sunil Mittal and his marketing team. A man who neither had the financial muscle of Reliance or Tatas nor the access to international experience like Hutch. No wonder FIIs are hanging on to his stock dearly.

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