Iconic Ads: Diu – Ilha de Calma

Diu leveraged its spectacular natural beauty, a strong Portuguese heritage, stunning architecture, and unique attractions.

Ogilvy won the mandate for Diu Tourism, amid intense competition. It was our attention-getting creative idea that clinched it. We went on to launch the campaign with teaser ads depicting breathtaking views of Diu. But there was a twist to it: Instead of revealing the name of the place, we signed off with ‘Ilha de Calma’, Portuguese for the Island of Calm.

We chose this tagline in keeping with the Portuguese heritage of Diu. The campaign created intense curiosity about the location. A contest was run, asking people to guess where it was. People thought it was Spain, Brazil, Goa, and Portugal, among other places.

After a week of teasers in print and digital, we revealed that the location was Diu. In a sense, this ‘guess the place’ teaser campaign mirrored a certain reality about Diu: We found that when people were asked where Diu was they often got it wrong. Many mistook it for Daman. Others saw it as a stopover for the nearby dry state of Gujarat. The place was often hyphenated as Daman-Diu. But the truth was different.

Daman is on the Gujarat coast, while Diu is an islet off the Kathiawar peninsula. The distance between the two places is 660 kilometres. So the idea was to raise awareness about a place few were properly aware of.

Unlike Goa, Diu is tranquil. It offers spectacular natural beauty, a strong Portuguese heritage, stunning architecture, and unique attractions. All of this, plus the small, calm island setting, make it special. And that’s what our campaign sought to highlight.

I worked on the campaign with the talented Abhijit Karandikar and his team consisting of Nilay Moonje, Nishigandh Dhende and others—solidly supported by Hirol Gandhi, Nikhil Mohan and Nayna Tekwani in client servicing. The exquisite photographs for the print and digital campaign were taken by the amazing Vikas Dutt. And we made the films with Prakash Varma of Nirvana. For me, there is no better director for tourism commercials. He has a knack for bringing out the beauty and mystique of a place. The haunting music was composed by Rupert Fernandes.

The campaign began with newspaper adverts. The beaches were beautiful, but none of them mentioned the name of the place, only the URL www.ilhadecalma.com. The URL contained a contest in the form of a game wherein visitors had to uncover concealed items and guess where they were, in four steps. The contest winners would be treated to a trip to the island, along with their partners. A short film, mostly a montage of the hypnotic views of the island, was uploaded online to add to the suspense.

A week later, a TVC, print and online ads revealed the location. The URL in the ads was modified to www.visitdiu.in.

The campaign’s target demographic was anyone seeking a peaceful break. It was especially focused on Mumbai residents, as Diu, on the Gujarat coast, is relatively close by.

The campaign went on to win the prestigious National Tourism Award, Kyoorius Awards and the international AMES Award.

Diu will always have a special place in my heart. I was able to explore it when I went for the recce and later for the shoot. Filming inside a cave with shafts of light coming in through gaps in its ceiling was one of the highlights of the shoot. Another was, filming in the beautiful interiors of a house in the old walled city. There was so much more—a Portuguese church, a lighthouse, a fort … But, because I love horses, the biggest treat for me was shooting these beautiful animals running free on a cliff by the Arabian Sea at sunset. 

Huge thanks to Sumanto Chattopadhyay for recollecting this beautiful campaign.

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