Airtel has launched its latest campaign – ‘Rising Stars’ which gives 12 children under 16 years to train with Man Utd at the Carrington training ground, Manchester. The selection involves multiple screening rounds to select the best from the talent pool who will be trying their luck to sport Red and live a footballer’s dream. Manchester is the ‘Mecca’ for every football fan and getting a chance to not only fly there but also train with the best is as big a dream can get for a 16 year old.
With Cricket facing flake in recent times and TRPs spirally downwards, brands are scouting for alternates. Pepsi recently had a change of heart from cricket to football and launched the ‘Change the Game’ campaign reviewed here. Bridgestone sponsored the World Series Hockey. With the ‘Rising Stars’ campaign, Airtel is following ‘close on heel’. The campaign is covering Sri Lanka & Bangladesh too giving Airtel the opportunity to gain mileage from its international footprint. Back in 2009 when Airtel signed a multi-million dollar deal with Man Utd to provide exclusive Man Utd content, the horizon then saw them opening a football academy at a cost of Rs. 1 billion according to a Business Standard report here. With that horizon now behind, it was time to build a new horizon.
With a growing multi-nation presence, Airtel also needed a campaign to showcase the expanding footprint. The billion dollar question is will the campaign give Airtel the share of limelight that one would expect. This depends on whether and how Airtel plans to expand the campaign in time to come. Possible extensions can also include tie-up with the Manchester United Soccer School in India to select and train kids and retailing apparel and accessories at select Airtel showrooms. With retail rentals ‘touching the roof’, companies are have started to pay more attention to the cost per square feet of their retail spaces. Companies such as Airtel need to do all they can increase walk-ins to their showrooms. The mobile services market is almost stagnant and companies need to come up with newer ways to not just stand apart from competition but also engage their potential customers. Vodafone recently launched the ‘Vodafone delights’ campaign encouraging people to visit their showrooms. Initiatives such as these get the ‘antennas’ of the audience to stand up to take notice. Airtel needs to gear up and amplify their campaigns to keep the audience’s attention in tight grip.
Rating: The campaign is a winner. The start is right and so is the positioning. What is now important is the way the campaign is built to become bigger. Did I hear Zoozoos?