K.itna I.sko L.atkau B.hai?

find a larger image of this online and take a closer look at the scariest model in existence (second from right)

An international, premium-rate call of gratitude is due to Lowe, !dea Cellular’s agency, for playing their hand behind the “Main Mumbai Ka…” teaser campaign well in time and revealing the brand while interest and curiosity in the creative ran high.

A few days more and the striking outdoor, which preceded the “world’s biggest ever, single city launch” might well have been glossed over and we would have rendered the brand !d.o.a. instead

This would be the case in the unnecessary K.I.L.B. business which, incidentally was for Religare Aegon Life Insurance, in case you fell asleep waiting for the big reveal

There was initially some furious and interesting speculation around the K.I.L.B. campaign – based either around the use of Irrfan Khan, who, as spokesperson of Hutch/Vodafone, was expected to be touting another mobile product or due to the medical imagery and similarity of the acronym to diseases such as AIDS and SARS.

One web prognosticator offered “Kya aapko Iphone Lene ka Bukhaar hai?”; there was also the discovery that a dictionary had listed “kilb” as the predilection “to kick insanely large breasts (closer to a foot slap than a kick)” and thanks to wikipedia, just about everyone learned of the town of the same name in the district of Melk, Lower Austria.

Ultimately we just got bored of waiting (disclosure: the title of this post was offered up in several web forums before I used it). The folks at Religare probably got blindsided by the fact that they had to wait two years to operationalize their JV – and lost perspective of the rules of thumb for teaser campaigns, which state that a week-to-10 days is normally as long as an increasingly harried viewership will wait to be gratified for their exposure to a marketing campaign.

They also failed to provide any search marketing strategy, adding to the frustration and departure of the net curious audience, which, on one day in August took “kilb” to the top 5 google India search terms for the day. This disaster continues as it seems apparent that competitor TATA AIG and an aggregator called ApnaInsurance compete for the keyword to point at their “No kilb No Non-sense” pitch.

So, kudos to Contract (Religare’s agency) for thinking different in a very crowded category, but a note to the client to alter the terms of their media arrangement, which one would assume is mired in the old ‘the more we spend more we earn’ commission model.

A suggestion also for the marketing folks at !dea. While they’ve carved out a useful emotional niche with the “ideas/communication as a driver of social change” platform, they need to come good soon with a real and long-term commitment to each of the causes they choose to espouse (I count rural literacy, communal harmony and national integration). Else they will begin to look like dishonest and opportunistic carpetbaggers, insincerely latching onto the latest hot button social issue purely for commercial gains.

It’s very easy to read the !dea for Mumbai campaign as a simple variation on the very theme of segregation that it aims to mock. And that will simply cause our pragmatic consumers to hang up.

Homework for the day:

1. Do you know of any additional rules of thumb for teasers?

2. What is your strategy for hunting down info on teasers?



  1. Hi! Just passing through. I liked your take on both ads and I completely agree with you on what Idea should be doing in the future.

    It looks to me like if it does get involved in social activities, it will be a wonderful concept. However, while it may help the brand name, I really don’t see why sales should pick up in any way. The Vodafone ads are just too tempting to make me even remember an Idea. 😉

    • whattothink

      Too true, Kartik.
      !dea’s new platform – of creating a virtual and instant democracy – using the mobile to check in on public opinion is an absolutely smashing one. The microsite they’ve set up to support it, as well as the pointers towards the site, leave a lot to be desired. Not sure the campaign even has a link to the microsite.

      On a related note, I think TATA TELE – should tie up with Jaagore.com (which is being supported by TATA TEA). Those guys are doing a fantastic job – both in terms of providing a popular and necessary social service, and of broadcasting its existence.

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