This week the ad that caught my attention is the new Virgin mobile ad.. free SMS series…Not that they never have got hooked in my eyes before but this time it got hooked a bit longer and stronger…. Right from the launch ads….which in the two-week launch campaign created flutter and a lot of eyeballs to rotate, Virgin aired two commercials where youngsters find ways to win approval in sticky situations.
In one ad, a girl gives a fright to her parents saying she is not interested in men. She cuts a call from a male friend in front of her nervous parents announcing, "I don't want to go to Goa with them," as if to strengthen the point. In a volte-face that takes even them by shock, her parents insist she goes on the trip -- which, obviously, is what the girl had been aiming for, all along.
In the second TVC, a young man who has broken traffic rules wins the compassion of the policeman when his angry father asks for him to be shown no mercy. The 'father' is later shown to be his college mate….. Typical youngistan type ads that made a dent for sure.. ( I am reminded of the Mentos- Dimag ki bati jale de ads..)…
Then the Yo Yo tariff plan ads.. Remember the two young men in a hospital bed…
Well the point is made.. it is for the THINK HATKE TYPES… the young and young at heart… if others (read its as OLD ones) are not liking the ads which smells irreverence and is spiced with arrogance and insensitivity that is simply because they don’t fall in the intended TG that virgin wants to reach.. The TG likes it and that is what matters…
Why the young men and women…? Which Richard Branson jumped from a Mumbai hotel (Drama and Branson are like twin brothers) on March 2008 prelude to the launch of Virgin he would have really know the facts and would have been sure that it is not easy to take the millions of mobile users in India to Jump along with him….The mobile services market in India is already crowded -- operators offering GSM and CDMA services account for about 250 million subscriptions (source: Trai) and the category leaders have had a decade to build their brand equity. High-decibel launches, ad campaigns and lower-than-you tariffs may not be enough to win customers….
Even youngistan customers in India aren’t that easy to be wooed into… Lack of portability is an issue in India and the young chaps whose numbers are there everywhere and who has every one else’s numbers in their SIM would find it difficult to change numbers , even if Virgin is here and comes with sops and pacifiers…
While the bulk of existing operators are all pursuing the same strategy….. to get as many subscribers as quickly as possible Virgin’s strategy is to deliver a more tailored, more relevant offering for a single, distinct segment and that is the young of this country.. with a tie up with Tata Teleservices in place with a brand franchise agreement with Virgin, Virgin has not and need not spend a fortune for establishing networks and hence can afford to cater to a niche which others cannot…There are 215 million Indians aged between 14 and 25 years, of whom 70 million own mobile phones… Mind you this is bigger than many filthy rich European nations….
Over the next three years, this segment may add another 50 million new mobile phone subscribers. Young subscribers may account for less than 30 per cent of the total, but they contributed over 50 per cent of the telecom industry's Rs 50,000 crore (Rs 500 billion) revenues in 2007-08. By 2010, this group is expected to earn the industry over Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion). Combined with news shall be seen the fact that younger customers are the biggest users of SMS and their handset up gradation cycle too is much more frequent as compared to guys like me…. Now forget all that numbers, the fact is glaring, the segment is not a niche per se at least if we know the definition of NICHE in the dictionary….
How easy was it for virgin? … the segment that they cater to is not that easy… the insights are like a magic wand if properly used… for instance the handset up gradation cycle,,,,, the more the frequency is, the more is the trouble for the CSP particularly if he is into CDMA and not GSM… Tata Tele came with CDMA and Virgin had to wriggle out of this with its new Virgin had to ensure its RUIM (removable user identity module) technology, similar to GSM phones, offering users the convenience of upgrading their phones without having to change their number or re-entering their address book which happens in a CDMA connection and thus dreaded by the YOUNG lads….
Being pocket friendly was the next challenge, which is true both for handsets as well as recharge coupons.. the young man wants COOL sets with looks, features, cutting-edge technology and style and at AFFORDABLE prizes….so came vKewl which retailed at Rs 3,999, while vBling sells for Rs 2,500, which was about half the price at which competitors were selling similar handsets. Allowing free incoming calls, no matter whichever is the service provider, even after you have ran out of validity and talk time was a good move in this direction….
Having said all that it is still debatable as to what Virgin is going to be in the big Indian market where the real big players are sweating it out and where the rules of the game are not yet and fully defined… while it unravels let us see the new ad with which I started this post with… conceived and executed by Bates David enterprise it is simple, precise and right there ,hitting the target……
Muuaaahh baby !!!!
The precocious teen-ager returned late from school one afternoon and confessed to his mother that he made love to his girlfriend on the way home.
"I'm disappointed in you," his mother scolded. "But for telling the truth, you may go to the corner for a milk shake."
The next day, the boy came home late again, and this time he confessed to making love to one of the neighbors' wives. "Well, at least you're still honest," he was told, and again he was rewarded with a milk shake.
On the third day, the boy strode into the house and proudly announced to both of his parents that he had stayed after school to make love to his teacher. As his mother began to scold him, the father picked up a frying pan,
"Don't hit him," she pleaded. "At least he told the truth."
"Hit him, hell," his father exclaimed. "I'm going to cook him a steak. How long do you expect him to keep this up on those lousy milk shakes?"
For more of Virgin ads click here….