Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IIN – What exactly was the idea behind this campaign?

The present IIN (Idea Internet Network) advertising campaign from Idea Cellular is generally believed to be gimmicky and misleading by many who have seen it; while I agree with that I also believe that it is among the most interesting ad campaigns I have seen in the past one year. It is quite evident that people have been misled into believing that IIN is some kind of an educational institution which is incorrect; IIN is simply about accessing the internet using Idea Cellular’s network.

The IIN ad campaign comprises eleven ads (I do not know if there are more), to watch them please click here to go to Idea’s YouTube channel. As reported in the media this campaign is a follow-up to the ‘No Ullu Banaoing’ campaign. While ‘No Ullu Banaoing’ campaign educated users on using the mobile Idea’s internet services, the IIN ad campaign Idea Cellular takes it a step forward, the objective here is to empower users, especially the youth, of using internet to their advantage. The campaign is supposed to highlight the fact that one can solve problems and achieve one’s goals in life by self-educating through the internet which can be accessed through the Idea Internet Network.

However the fact is that the ad campaign seems to convey something else which is not in tune with the company’s stated objectives. When I first began to see the ads I too like all others thought perhaps Idea Cellular has diversified into education, or maybe Idea has started some online courses, after all that is what they say in their ads. I will give a few examples:
  • In the bike advertisement the boy gave his old bike a new look, he could do that because he learnt it from IIN (IIN se seekha).
  • In the chef ad two young men are shown learning how to set up their own restaurant/catering business from IIN (IIN se seekha). At one point IIN is also referred to as ‘professor’.
  • In the sitar ad the grandson suggests to his grandfather that he can learn to play the sitar from IIN (…ab seekh lo, IIN se).
In all these ads it is claimed that one can learn from IIN – IIN se seekha, giving the impression that IIN is some kind of an educational institution providing courses on the internet. In the drone ad we see a character asking the boy, “Aur beta kaunse college mein padh raheho?” to this the boy replies, “IIN”, thus reinforcing that IIN is an educational institution. In this same ad there is a shot of a newspaper
headline saying, “IIN student invents talking drone”. In the mother and daughter ad the impression given is that the mother is able to become a lawyer by educating herself at IIN. Although if you study the ad very carefully you will find that it does not exactly say that one can get a law degree from IIN, but the impression it gives the viewers is that one can do a formal course in law at IIN.

In the guide, mother and daughter, professor and student ads perhaps the original purpose was to show that anyone, wherever they may be located, can get educated through IIN; but the impression given is that IIN is located in cities like Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Assam and Tamil Nadu.

Lastly, the IIN logo shows a large and impressive building in the background, giving the impression that it is some kind of a university. Thus, it seems Idea Cellular and their advertising agencies have left no stone unturned to give the impression that IIN is an educational institution. But is this what they wanted? Did they plan to mislead the viewers? I don’t think so.

Indeed internet is a huge storehouse of information and knowledge which can be used for self-education and an internet service provider (ISP), through its service, plays an important role in

helping one in accessing the internet. The theme of the campaign, as it appears, is about knowledge on the internet, which is the common thread going through all the ads in this campaign. I personally feel the intended proposition (or message) to the target audience, who belong to different walks of life, is that Idea is among the most reliable ISPs that enables the TA to easily access all the knowledge available on the internet that he/she requires to pursue his/her goals. Idea, therefore, plays the role of a reliable guide or a friend. Today internet empowers individuals in many ways so that they do not have to depend on other people or institutions, so indirectly, Idea Cellular would like us to believe that it empowers us through its internet network.

It is a pity that the IIN campaign misled people although it is based on interesting and relevant insights. For example, in the student ad the young student says he can study economics and biology together

which at a university or college he cannot.  By saying, “Main decide karunga mujhe kya seekhna hai” (I will decide what I want to learn); he clearly sends out a message that he is now empowered thanks to IIN. If one studies the campaign one would find that every ad is based on an interesting and relevant insight.

If the insights behind these ads are true then what went wrong? Any ad is supposed to convey a proposition or product benefits that are offered to the TA. People who plan ad campaigns also determine the outcome or expected reaction of the TA, that is, what is the TA supposed to do, feel, believe, think and understand after being exposed to the ad? I am sure it was expected that, as a result of this ad campaign, the TA would get the impression that Idea is a reliable ISP. But what happened was that people began to think that IIN is an educational institution set up by Idea Cellular that provides education on various subject; thus taking the TA on a totally different track. It is unfortunate that this campaign has become some kind of a joke, if one searches on YouTube one will find a number of spoofs on IIN posted by people. Take this for example, click here.

What I personally feel is that in a bid to be creative and different Lowe, the ad agency, and Idea Cellular did not realize that they were actually misleading the TA. They perhaps thought that they had a brilliant creative idea and became too attached to it instead of looking at it analytically and dispassionately. Despite the flak Idea Cellular continued with the campaign, which is quite surprising; perhaps they felt that they had already spent a huge amount on the campaign so why give it up, or maybe they felt that after being exposed to the campaign for a long time the TA will finally understand what it was all about. I personally feel that the campaign should have been planned around the message “IIN ke sahayeta se seekha” (learnt it through IIN’s help and assistance) and not “IIN se seekha” (learnt it from IIN).


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