Proud & Cute: Airtel on television this season

When you run out of ideas to get across your message, fall back on the most common tactic – use mushy emotions.

Two approaches to mushy emotions top the list – cuteness/relationships/family and pride/patriotism/togetherness.

Airtel has recently released two spots banking on these two.

The cute spot is very sweet. The kid is looking like an angel and you feel for her when she wants to “do drawing” with her father but her father initially expresses inability to do it. It drives the one position that almost all telecom players in India are trying very hard to own – best network. But as all mobile telephony users in the country know, none of them are in a position to honestly make that claim, and until any of them really delivers what they keep promising, these advertisements are not going to help their perceptions.

The pride spot has a message – that a Nokia phone is being bundled with an Airtel connection. But what has pride got to do with it? Why did they waste such a long ad with an expensive celebrity expressing feelings of pride and togetherness for a bundling message? Can anyone help me out on this one?

So what is Airtel’s agency actually adding to the advertisements, apart from execution? Apart from the breaking barriers kids playing football spot from a few months back, Airtel’s campaigns recently have been short of ideas. And even the breaking barriers idea was lifted from a New Zealand telecom company’s ad.

Idea has launched the recent guide at Taj Mahal advertisement, strengthening the “Idea” positioning it has (is it a real position in the market by the way?). Vodafone’s regular value-added-services and ‘magic box’ bundled phone ads keep hitting us regularly. Reliance Mobile is also consistently hitting us with its old but fresh and cinematically brilliant “total network” ads (though as I already mentioned, it is tough to justify claiming that position for anyone). Tata Teleservices’ new avatar Virgin is also starting up with its ATL efforts.

In this scenario, is Airtel not being complacent with its marketing above the line? What do you think?