“How Can I Join Idea IIN?” The Story Of One Misleading Ad (After Another) From Idea Cellular

Idea's IIN ads have branded the internet as its own making. The article looks at reactions on social media and what Idea can do about them

Idea IIN

UPDATE: Idea IIN Rolls Out New Series Of Ads And They Are Equally Misleading

The internet is a great place to learn and learning leads to empowerment. Perhaps that is the reason why Facebook – one of the biggest internet companies in the world – has embarked on its ambitious Internet.org project that will bring the internet to those people who do not have access to it. Not really a philanthropic move by the company, Internet.org will enable it to create a larger business value for itself and its partners, while empowering millions of fresh internet users from emerging countries in the world. (Read also: Not Just For Facebook But Internet.org Makes Business Sense For India Too).

There is another company called Idea Cellular – an Indian mobile service provider from the Aditya Birla Group – which is claiming to empower users by helping them use the internet to their advantage. And it’s doing that by inviting Indians to join IIN or the Idea Internet Network.

While Facebook’s Internet.org uses technology like balloons and satellite drones to bring internet access to mobile phones for free, Idea’s IIN is just built over the internet – the already present World Wide Web of vast information to whosoever that can access it.

IIN = Internet?!

Launched in December 2014, the IIN ads have targeted a varied consumer segment where it portrays people who couldn’t complete their studies for whatever reasons, finally looking content after having joined IIN.

In this TVC conceptualised by Lowe Lintas and produced by Crazy Few Films, we see an enthusiastic young boy not letting an IIT rejection kill his urge for further learning. The boy’s father strongly believes his son is only good for the family baking business. Left with no choice, he joins his father in the bakery, though his heart lies in gaining knowledge.

They say – where there’s a will, there’s a way, so the boy joins Idea’s IIN. This means he continues to seek knowledge by using his data-enabled mobile phone while working at the bakery. One day he surprises his dad with his invention of a talking drone to deliver stuff to the bakery. He credits IIN when asked how he learnt to make a drone. World recognition follows soon after, while the ad film focuses on IIN as the ‘greatest place to learn’.

Uploaded on Dec 4, 2014 on Idea YouTube channel, the 90-sec TVC has received over 1.1 million views till date.

There are a few 20-second ads too – a proud eunuch who is learning algebra and other subjects from Idea IIN, following a long spate of being rejected from educational institutions, a tourist guide who learns French from Idea IIN and is now cool with his foreign tourists, a mother who is pursuing her studies after marriage, and so on.

Each of the 20-30 second ads have clocked views anywhere between 100K to 500K. And the common thread through all of them is – they are all equally misleading!

The joke is on us

Idea is on an aggressive branding spree splashing us with its highly popular tagline ‘An idea can change your life’. IIN ads are being bombarded at us from all over and apparently, it is working. The third largest domestic carrier by subscriber base has added the maximum number of subscribers in December 2014, followed by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, as per an ET report. More results could be known when Quarter 1 2015 numbers are out.

Viewers subjected to these ads are wondering whether IIN is the greatest place to learn. Users on Quora have been asking questions like:

  • What is IIN (Idea Internet Network), and how does it work?
  • Which is the best IIN (idea internet network) in India?
  • What is it like to study at IIN (Idea Internet Network)?
  • Is IIN the best place to learn? Will it discourage students from going into IITs or NITs any more in the coming days?

Moreover, there are numerous Google search terms like ‘What is IIN?, How can I join IIN? driving users to our site. (which is what triggered the idea for this post!)

What Idea can learn from IIN (the greatest place to learn)?

While the average Indian understands the whole affair as a marketing tactic, there are many others who are being misled, as can be seen by these questions floating on the internet. For the others, Idea IIN has turned into a laughing stock, a university of losers really. Comments below the ad videos, Twitter jokes and the answers on the above Quora questions reflect the growing negative sentiments for the ad. There’s also a search term on Google for ‘Idea IIN jokes’! (Read also: “Sorry Idea, Twitterverse Do Not Believe ‘IIN’ Is The Greatest Place To Learn“) 

Idea must withdraw these misleading ads and issue a public apology, if it needs to save face. Idea must do this really fast – before the ASCI (Advertising Standards Council of India) forces it to do so. (Read also: Can Social Media Force Brands To Rethink Their Ads?)

What do you think about these IIN ads? Has anyone asked you how can they join IIN? Do share your thoughts in the comments.