If you were asked to design a series of adverts for the Indian Tourist Board, what would you feature?
In groups, outline ideas for the images to be used on three poster ads to promote the country?
What image of the country have you created? Why have you chosen to project this image?
The first marketing initiative of its kind, Incredible India was conceptualized in 2002 by V Sunil (while he was Creative Director, O&M Delhi), and Amitabh Kant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism. The primary objective of this branding exercise was to create a distinctive identity for the country.
The original campaign ran in 2002/3. Here are the images.
TASK 1: Looking at the ads, who do you think the target audience is?
The aim was to create an image that would encourage those overseas to see India as a high end holiday destination. The next slide hints at the type of audience the ads were aimed at. See if you were right.
In 2003, Condé Nast Traveller selected India as one of the top ten preferred destinations for the discerning traveller. “India’s results are very exciting and show the country’s increasing popularity amongst sophisticated travellers. It also reflects very positively on the individuals involved in promoting India as a premium tourist destination.” Sarah Miller, Editor, Condé Nast Traveller, 2003. In January 2004, Lonely Planet conducted a survey in 134 countries to select the world’s favourite destination for individual travellers. India was ranked among the top five. According to Lonely Planet, “ the respondent for the survey was today’s independent traveller – professional, with a degree or post-graduate qualification who is aged 25 to 34 .”
TASK 2: It started with the creation of a logo. Deconstruct the logo and decide what image it creates of India:
The slogan uses alliteration to tie the country and the adjective closely together, forging a strong positive image
The adjective incredible connotes that India offers more than we can ever imagine – likely to appeal to adventure seeking travellers.
The serif font suggest the curves and hooks of Indian script and gives the logo an air of the exotic
The use of an exclamation mark for the I of India is its most distinctive element – it uses the ! to stand for the ‘ mind-boggling depth and intensity of the Indian experience ’ (Sunil, Creative Director of the campaign). Apparently, ‘ Every aspect of India …is summed up by the simple yet profound exclamation mark .’
TASK 3: Most campaigns have a theme or idea, linking ads in the same batch together. Look at the ads again and see what image of India they are presenting to the audience?
TASK 5: Why do you think the Incredible India group have chosen this image? What function is this image of national identity trying to achieve?
How do you think the target audience – wealthy western tourists might respond? How do you think Indians and diaspora Indians might respond to the images of India here? The next slides might give you a few clues to see if you were on the right tracks! Read the accompanying hand-out in your pack too!
The campaign successfully established India as a high-end tourist destination, generating a 16% increase in tourist traffic in the first year.
But does the world buy the concept 'Incredible India'? The answer is, unfortunately, NO. In a simple concept of marketing any product, the most pivotal and prime factor in the success of a company is the quality of the product and services. No matter how much you spend on advertising, how many celebrities you use, how many promotional campaigns and offers are shown, if your product fails, your organization fails.
Despite the fact Incredible India campaign has promoted India as a royal, luxurious, relaxing destination for tourists, it has failed to change India's image. Lack of infrastructure, poor facilities, poor standard of living are the first and only things that tourists visiting India see. Unhygienic food, poor drinking water facilities, frequent electricity cuts are the various factors which are visible to every traveler coming to India. Visiting popular global destinations like the Agra, Delhi, Goa, and Mumbai have substandard facilities, poor communication with tourists etc. Despite one of the finest architectures and cultures in the world, what India manages is a bad word of mouth and negative publicity. Moreover, debacles like terrorist attacks, internal security issues, corrupt government and more recently, the Commonwealth Games disaster, further corrodes the image of India on the world scene.
And here are a few aimed at the Indian audience – how do they differ and why?