Business Today

Tigers Vs Woods

...yes, that's a teaser heading on the latest Idea and Aircel ads. As both brands latch on to environmental hot topics, BT asked two experts to cast their vote.

Print Edition: April 4, 2010

Is the Cub the New Pug?
When you look at many of the ads playing out on television these days, you get a nice warm feeling that India is developing into an environmentfriendly superpower. Everywhere marketers and consumers are saving water, protecting trees, fighting corruption, building greener environments, getting people to vote, cleaning neighborhoods, reducing noise and generally doing good! We have become a nation of boy scouts and girl guides, running around with moral authority as we save the planet!

So it wasn't surprising to see the high-decibel multimedia campaign from Aircel calling all Indians to Save Our Tiger! In collaboration with WWF, the campaign is attempting to raise awareness of the low count of tigers in India. All of which is fantastic, because the poor tigers have been waiting for so long for their turn to come. Don't get me wrong, I'm not poking fun at any of the initiatives. The "Save Our Tiger" campaign is ecosensitive and the issue of the Tiger is now so top of mind! The figure 1,422 is omnipresent and the vulnerable little cub in the ad really tugs at our heartstrings! More importantly, for Aircel, it's a smart move.

It seems to be working harder for the brand than their previous attempts to build equity, using Dhoni as the ambassador. Aircel is probably even taking on the endearing Vodafone pug with the frightened cub! There's greater visibility for the brand, and lots of conversation and free media. Of course some questions remain. What's the role of the brand? How do I save the tiger? Is it enough to merely talk about it? If it's a question of funding, what are the specifics that create action? Whatever the shortcomings, it's a brave marketing move and I'm sure the advertiser will fill in the gaps as the campaign evolves!

Connecting causes to brands is not a new idea. Idea Cellular has been playing the game for as long as you can remember! Moving from one public issue to another—caste wars, education, corruption, fitness and, more recently, the environment— "Use mobile, Save Paper". Many of the brand's television spots are highly salient, wonderfully crafted and create new connections in the consumer's mind. But that's where they remain. Terrific TV spots! The brand flits from one cause to another without dropping anchor or making a commitment! After a point it does feel that the causes are horses that the brand is taking for a royal ride.

There is very little source credibility. What has the brand done to truly champion these causes? But then, as my wise grandmother once said, something is better than nothing, and every little thing counts. So may thoughts lead to action! And may the tiger cub, the lush forest and the eco system live in joyful harmony! And may India continue to lead the commonwealth of causes, at least in advertising and marketing!

Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India

Idea Wins Over a Paper Tiger
There can't be a debate about the better campaign. Idea runs away with it, hook, line and paper. Consider the Idea save paper campaign. Simple thought. Powerful execution. The awesome thing about this campaign is that it is do-able. You can do it, I can do it, and so can Ramu Kakka do it. In fact, so can his cousins, bacchhas, nani, padosi, you name it.

The content, along with aam aadmi casting, achieves the intent. They work together brilliantly, and effortlessly plant the seed of saving paper through mobiles within every Indian heart. More than changing over from the paper medium to the mobile media, the film is a veritable list of things to do and applications to consider.

This is a campaign born for these times. People are already predisposed to saving paper and trees, and this campaign is but a well-timed impetus. The campaign is also friendly, earthy, relevant, relatable, entertaining, and inviting. It even uses the medium (mobile) to drive and make the message happen. Then again, the concept of replacing paper with the mobile media is not an idea that lives in Pluto. It is an idea that thrives in our immediate environment, and in our immediate lives.

Look at email. Look at e-cards. Look at e-bills. Consider the number of trees already saved. Now multiply that with everything else that can be replaced by mobiles. Tickets, coupons, ads, magazines, exam papers, newspapers, a zillion possibilities. These aren't distant thoughts or fantasy. These are ideas that will yank open our eyes, minds, and our imagination. Unlimiting us into doing more. The campaign also doesn't compel us to do anything extraordinary to save trees. It just greases our minds and suggests options. Encouraging us to use our mobile more like a living device than a talking machine.

The best thing about Idea is that it isn't asking us to do anything heroic. To make the change happen, we don't have to take out rallies. We don't have to volunteer blood. We don't have to part with savings. Nothing. All the resources we need to save trees is in our hands now: The ubiquitous mobile. We just have to see merit in its potential that's just limited by our minds. This is the definition of inspired empowerment. Showing us the way. Asking us enthusiastically to look at the brighter, more efficient, and the most immediate way of saving paper.

With 500-odd million people using mobiles, or half of India already owing the only equipment needed to save trees, look at the sheer power of what this campaign can achieve, and the invisible force it has possibly started to gather.

Just a quick thought about Aircel's tiger campaign. I think advertising has been trying to save tigers long before I started my career. And since it hasn't been able to save them till now, and tigers have perilously dwindled, I know Aircel's paper tiger campaign isn't going to work either.

Prathap Suthan, National Creative Director, Cheil Worldwide, South West Asia

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