Same-same, but different


Two different telecom firms, two different eras for all practical purposes, communicating the same benefit – improved connectivity, with a world of difference between their campaigns; an apt illustration of the difference tone, manner and style can make.

The first, Hutch (now Vodafone), was one of the early entrants in the Indian telecom market. Got the basics right early on, understood how frustrated people were with bad connectivity and made that fact the foundation of a landmark campaign – ‘wherever you go, our network follows’, aided by an adorable pug in a brilliant casting coup.

About a decade later, Tata Docomo speaks about the same benefit, but in a totally different tone and style; this campaign relies on humour rather than warmth, here the network is almost something you want to shake off but can’t, and you give up with a wry grin of acceptance; as the ad says, ‘No getting away… The network that always connects. Everywhere.’ (Links to ads here, here and here)



While initial reports such as this Mint-Synovate-TVAdIndx survey show that the ad scores high on awareness in the initial period, we’d like to wait a bit and see how people respond to it.

There are three reasons for our hesitation in declaring this campaign a winner; one, not sure if there is there is a common theme to the various series of Docomo ads and whether they are establishing any long term positioning for the brand  – how does the latest campaign tie in with the ‘Keep it simple silly’ campaign with Ranbir Kapoor, for instance; two, we feel the execution could have been better and the humour sharper in this one; and three, we’re not sure if the benefit of improved connectivity is a key differentiator in the current environment.

While poor connectivity does seem to be a pain point with a lot of cell-phone users (going by the amount of cribbing I hear from friends and acquaintances), not sure whether this is a strong enough reason to select service providers. Especially in an environment where at least one other provider promises the same (Reliance, see ads here and here and here)

(Note : yes, I do realise that the positioning of the Reliance ads is even more scattered, for even in the same series of ads, a variety of benefits are mentioned, two of which are about improved connectivity)

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  1. Rahul Jhaveri December 6, 2011 at 6:50 am - Reply

    After a point ads only go so far. The proof is in the pudding the Vodafone connectivity is appalling. Maybe they should spend more on improving that and less on marketing. What network has the best connectivity in India? Or are all pretty much the same?

    • escapevelocityblog December 8, 2011 at 5:40 am - Reply

      Agree with you totally. That’s one of the points I had implied in the post when I mentioned that it may not be a differentiator – that the Vodafone ads made sense only if their connectivity was actually much better than competition – but I didn’t express it clearly enough.

      About the network with the best connectivity, would have to check and get back to you with the answer. Judging by cribs I’ve heard, all seem to be about the same.


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