Airtel New Advertising Campaign A Critical Examination Marketing Essay

The first question we face in the study of advertising and brand deals as students is 'why advertising'? 'Is it certainly important'? In the end, how much role does 'campaign' play as part of the 4Ps in knowing the best marketing aims of the brand or the business? The new ad plan of Airtel offers a fascinating case that helps us in studying these questions with almost all their criticalities.


Airtel is an Indian multinational telecom service agency with presence across 19 countries. In India it is one of the most reputed brands. External India, it is recognized as "Zain" in Africa and "Warid "in Bangladesh. Having revolutionized the telecom industry in the fifteen years since its inception, Airtel made a decision to reposition the brand with a new custom logo, jingle and adverts in order to have a homogeneous presence world-wide. The theory behind the new placement was to indicate Airtel's journey into the new world of digitization. It wished to make its presence thought in the 3 G, communal marketing and mobile centered e-commerce space and connect with the modern customers. Hence a London established ad agency came up with the new logo with notice 'a' in lowercase, with Airtel written beneath it in lowercase. In the words of Sanjay Kapoor, the CEO of Bharti Airtel, "The brand new custom logo is modern, vibrant, friendly and signifies Airtel's commitment to reach out to its shareholders and consumers, the characters in the lowercase is a symbol of its humility ".

New custom logo Old Logo

http://www. afaqs. com/all/news/images/news_story_grfx/2010/28828_2. jpg

http://www. afaqs. com/all/news/images/news_story_grfx/2010/28828_1. jpg

The Launch

The new company logo is paired with the tagline "Dil jo chahe pass laye "again reinforcing Airtel's dedication to the users. The new look was advertised through all the advertising channels such as TV, printing, outdoor and digital campaigns. So that they can make the customers identify with the new look, Airtel even launched a campaign where the customers had to name the new custom logo of Airtel. To reemphasize the new look of the Airtel, A. R Rehman was roped in to compose a brand new jingle for Airtel.

The story so far looked good. With all the big brands such as JWT, Madison Marketing Plus, Digitas and Web chutney working behind the plan, you can have been assured of the success of the advertising campaign.

The Backlash

What occurred next took everyone by shock. Social media marketing space and newspaper publishers as well were abuzz with the negative criticism of the new look and advertising campaign.

Social media interactions about the rebranding exercise

In a review conducted by brand keep an eye on examination the sentiment of tweets, the results exhibited that Almost 62% of the discussions about the new Airtel brand were negative

Facebook discussions and LinkedIn discussions the positioning team analyzed, 3 distinct themes or templates across the reactions emerged

Approximately 15% of the interactions were direct evaluations of the new Airtel logo to the Videocon and Vodafone logos

Approximately 10% of the discussions recommended that Airtel must have invested money in improving their customer service and network supply instead

A really small minority (1%) needed a reinstatement of the old logo design or a fresh redesign exercise

(Source: http://blogs. position2. com/airtel-brand-revamp-social-media-response)

Fans even went to the degree of checking the brand with Videocon & Vodafone logo

Click to enlarge: Logo Evaluations Created by the fan

Primary Research

In order to get a first-hand account of the user effect the Airtel's new advertising campaign I interviewed some fellow B university students who have done their field of expertise in marketing. Given below are excerpts of a few of the interviews

Sayan Majumder: "I don't hook up with new brand individuality of Airtel. I had formed more emotional connection with the previous one. It is true a company needs to know to develop but there was no need for Airtel to rebrand itself. It could have focused on providing more on customer satisfaction "

Sakyabrata Dutta: "Airtel overall look has gone for a toss. In an attempt to appeal to a worldwide audience the advertisements has lost its local flavour "

Sandeep Somisetty: "The brand new advertising strategies of Airtel are definitely a deliberate attempt to hook up with the young 3G audience. The focus on technology as the fundamental theme of its advertising definitely reinforces the brand as a technology savvy one. However, I am not sure how much this radical brand repositioning will result in enhanced top-line development for the business. From my little knowledge of the telecom sector, almost all of the resources of revenue lay in the untapped rural market. It really is difficult to find them connect with this new urban, cosmopolitan avatar of the brand".

The Learning

In spite of the initial negative sentiments, consumers have finally started to connect with new brand id and could eventually come to enjoy it. But whatever may be the final results for Airtel, this advertising campaign will always be remembered for the fuss it created and a

few lessons an advertising professional can learn.

Customers own the brand on their behalf it's a way of life and any change in the brand proposition should be achieved taking customer into consideration; otherwise the thousands devote to advertising just go down the drain.

Such a fiasco may also have an effect on the sales of the company. In one illustration a salesman was dejected that the shopkeepers were making fun of the new goods of the Airtel.

Advertisement forms an integral part of the marketing of your brand. It really is a way to reach the consumers and should be designed remember the final marketing aim to be achieved.

Finally, marketers should learn that 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. The Airtel brand itself was build through years of tremendous effort & exemplary performance. It is not clear what prompted this change of positioning, can be the recent telecom troubles acted as catalysts. However, evidences claim that whatever be the purpose, it had not been successful. The brand managers of Airtel may be required to take a lessons like those at Coca-Cola who famously created the 'New Coke' in 1985 in response to Pepsi & had to take it back again after huge consumer backlash.

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