Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Oct 25, 2002
Pondy beckons with new ad campaign
CHENNAI, Oct. 24
WHAT plans for the weekend? Watch dolphins, learn a couple of French words, imbibe French wine, and try some yoga and shopping. To do all of that, just come to Pondy, a new ad campaign invites.
Launched today, a series of "Thursday ads" in national dailies will grab the weekend traveller in Chennai and Bangalore "by the scruff of the neck," and tell him/her that there's much to see and do in Pondicherry, said Mr Sunil Thoppil, Creative Director - TBWA-Anthem, which handles the account.
"The ad is in the form of a To-do list," Mr Thoppil said. "There are not just things to see, there are also things to do." A separate colour campaign in business and news magazines - featuring reproductions of French watercolour paintings with modern travellers - will also focus on the unique qualities of this quaint seaside town. Two humorous FM radio spots will ask drivers to take the turn to Pondy as they are driving home. The estimated media spend is Rs 75 lakh, and the campaign will run till March.
The first of the print ads reads: "Weekend: Pondicherry. Monday: French Leave." (That term, which means an informal, unannounced, or abrupt departure, is derived from an 18th-century French custom of leaving without saying goodbye to the host or hostess.) The tagline is: "Peaceful Pondicherry. Very French. Period."
The idea of targeting the weekend traveller is deliberate: Last year, an estimated 5.5 lakh tourists visited Pondy, of which only 25,000 were foreigners. "We are launching the campaign just before the tourist season because our target is the young urban Chennaiite or Bangalorean," Mr Thoppil said. "We are looking for upmarket travellers who are willing to spend. It's controlled tourism, because the place cannot support big numbers of people."
A long-time watering hole for college-goers and young professionals from neighbouring cities, Pondicherry was always regarded as a modest heritage and pilgrimage centre. The attempt of the current campaign is to make Pondy distinct as a travel destination, Mr Thoppil said.
"What's different about Pondy is its French heritage - that's very difficult to come by elsewhere in India," said Mr Thoppil, who also handled the Kerala Tourism campaign for five years. Most state tourism campaigns seem like a variation of Kerala's theme, he added, and that has created confusion for the traveller. "The traveller needs a different proposition, but it's not often that destinations are that different - they've become like toothpaste," he said.
In the case of Pondy, though, its colonial French heritage is the point of differentiation, which will help it occupy a different mind space, Mr Thoppil said.
A second campaign is being executed by the Chennai office of McCann-Erickson (India). Based on the same "Peaceful Pondicherry" proposition, the campaign, that is expected to break next week, will be an image campaign, said Mr Girish Chandrashekar, McCann's Vice President and General Manager.
"The focus is on de-stressing for corporate executives in Chennai, Bangalore, even Madurai," he said. "Also, Pondy as a quick getaway for young couples in these cities." The campaign's tag line is" "Give time a break."
McCann's print campaign will run in dailies and in travel, business and lifestyle magazines; there is also a series of ads for cinema. The campaign will run till March.
It's Friday, now, so Bon Voyage.
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