A latest research by IDC stated that smartphone sales in India are expected to reach 80.57 million units by the end of 2014. The report highlighted that India witnessed the highest rate of growth — over 186 percent — in smartphone sales in Asia Pacific region during January-March 2014, outshining countries like China.
Smartphones are proliferating in the country like never before, so is the activity of the smartphone users. According to Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights of 2013, in terms of the total time spent on smartphones on a daily basis in 2013, India came in second last with its smartphone users spending 156 minutes (or 2.6 hours) on their devices. Malaysia led the pack with 213 minutes (or over 3.5 hours), while Thailand came in second with 190 minutes (over 3 hours).
Indians with 8 mins per day were highly engaged on music and Malaysians with 9 mins per day were more engaged on video apps. When it came to engagement on entertainment on their smartphones, Indians are more inclined towards multimedia in comparison to games. Indian smartphone users spent a total of 33 minutes on entertainment daily in 2013, out of which 23 minutes (or 69 per cent) was spent on multimedia.
The latest Ericsson Consumer Insight Summary Report stated while Indians spend 3 hours a day on their smartphones, it leaves 58% mobile broadband users unsatisfied. The primary reasons being infrastructure; if it improves, the consumption needs will also increase by driving business for all. The report commented that, “Good network performance will influence consumer perception and in turn shape smartphone behavior.”
India’s leading telecommunication company, Airtel seems to have the answer to the woes of Indian users in the Smartphone Network. A good smartphone without a reliable and fast network is no good says Airtel and hence the next-generation network has been specially engineered to enhance the performance of your smartphone. So you can have a faster network with 3G and 4G, streaming of videos becomes 26% faster and better battery life.
To take it to the wider audience Airtel launched a very interesting TVC that made all the required buzz for the brand both offline and online. The TVC ‘Boss Film - The Smartphone Network’, designed and developed by Taproot India, features an urban couple who work in the same organization and in the same team too (goof up number one). The ad shows the woman as the boss who wants the work to be completed by any means and once she is back home she transforms into a wife who cooks for her husband to make him happy. She also tempts him to come home early for dinner.
The TVC made sure to trigger conversations on social media with quite a few users making a strong protest on Airtel encouraging male and female stereotypes. While there was a strong debate about the ad, this has helped the TVC to gain the much required buzz on the online space. With major online media sites covering the ad and the controversy, the social media chatter helped the video gain more views on YouTube.
Published on July 24th 2014 the ad on YouTube right now stands at 850K plus views and with the massive investment in digital advertising, the video will soon surpass million views.
According to Unmetric, the social media brand monitoring product, from the day the ad was launched the YouTube channel has gained more than 2 million views and 5682 new subscribers. The below screen grab shows the growth chart of both data:
Interestingly another shorter version of the TVC has already fetched more than 2 million views. The below screen grab from Unmetric shows the upward growth of the TVC on YouTube. The same video also happens to be the top all time video on the Airtel India YouTube channel.
Facebook and Twitter buzz
The Facebook page which grew by 21K fans in the same period, had posted the full length TVC which has got more than 850K views. The post on Facebook got more than 225 shares, 51K people liking it and another 324 people talking about it. According to Unmetric the post received 889 engagement score (a proprietary Unmetric score) which was also the most engaging post from the brand in the duration.
On Twitter the video received a good response while there were Twitter influencers who were not happy with the ad.
Say hello to #TheSmartphoneNetwork we just got a makeover: http://t.co/W9KRu5MC9L Know more: http://t.co/m3CnNl7Y5k
— airtel India (@airtelindia) July 25, 2022
The new Airtel ad, where wife is the Boss issuing orders in the day and coaxing hubby to leave work in the night. How fkin stupid!
— Half Gabbbar! (@GabbbarSingh) July 28, 2021
Not only is that Airtel wife/boss ad stupid,it’s deviously regressive. Lesson to women: You may be BOSS, yet must cook2please @GabbbarSingh
— Tedhi Lakeer (@TedhiLakeer) July 28, 2021
I’m shocked at the new Airtel Ad. I mean, who does front-facing video calls in landscape? Disgusting.
— Clinton Jeff (@clintonjeff) July 28, 2021
This airtel ad sends the wrong message. A double income, no kids couple can’t afford a cook?! Demoralising for management students!
— gaurav kapur (@gauravkapur) July 28, 2021
Thereafter the content of the brand has been pretty much focused on promoting the #TheSmartphoneNetwork and how it can make life easy for people who pretty much live their life online.
#TheSmartphoneNetwork stops your phone from sending signals when idle, saving battery life: http://t.co/gdRQtWUrKv pic.twitter.com/MxI7AQ3DTU
— airtel India (@airtelindia) July 29, 2021
Tweet, instagram, update status, stay social 24*7 on #TheSmartphoneNetwork as battery lasts 8% longer: http://t.co/HbyPnBHtcS
— airtel India (@airtelindia) July 30, 2021
With the growth of digital and social media in the country, telecom operators are moving from selling voice to data. We saw MTS doing this with Internet Baby recently, Airtel’s attempt with Smartphone Network is a similar move and this is just the beginning. The country is just scratching the surface for digital and internet penetration in the country.
The campaign has hit the right note for Airtel. While some may debate about the message, it has definitely got us talking about the ad. Now it is to be seen how the campaign moves ahead and will Airtel slash data prices, which is what is really required.