Iconic Ads: Airtel – Express Yourself

It was time to have a common identity across all the circles (areas) of Airtel. An emotional route was taken.

Different circles of Airtel had been running their communication based on local requirements. This meant there was no common thought between all communication across the country expected for the brand. The competition had recognized this earlier, especially Hutch that had taken path-breaking advertising to back it like the pug commercial. Hutch had appropriated a simplistic yet classy approach to their advertising.

It was time for Airtel to have a common identity across the country.

Rediffusion decided to take an emotional route. The creative thought was simple – “the various ways in which people express themselves and emotions”.

Developed by Kartik Smetacek and Saurabh Karandikar and guided by Prashant Godbole and Zarvan Patel.

But for whatever reason, the production was delayed for many months. Finally, Arun Nanda had a chat with Sunil Mittal to get approval.

Ravi Udyawar shot the films. For still photography, Prashant did it himself – the first time he did it commercially in the absence of the regular one.

Given the emotional nature of the film, it was agreed that only AR Rahman could do justice. Rahman said he would do it only if he liked the film without the soundtrack. So they sent him one. He liked the film and agreed to give the score.

But Airtel wanted it in a hurry. All Rehman said was he could give the music overnight but it would be mediocre. If Airtel wanted good work they would have to give him time. It took 6 weeks but it was music worth waiting for.

These commercials unified the Airtel brand and the impact was tremendous. These became a corporate story for the brand.

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