In this great land where virginity does command a premium, Richard Branson does a tango with Tata Teleservices to offer Virgin mobile to the ever growing Indian mobile subscriber population. The mechanics of the partnership has been explained quite well here. For the lazybums, Virgin is globally a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) i.e. it buys spectrum time from operators and then sells it under its own brand name. Thats not allowed in India, so Branson said Tata. Its good for Tata Indicom because even with (or should i say specially because of) Kajol aunty, the youth haven’t quite taken to Chindicom.
Virgin has launched with a dhamaka offer of paying 10p/minute to the customer for the incoming call, which can be used to avail of other Virgin services. Many publications here had a frontpage takeover with a red ‘Zara Hatke’. An offer, they say, will make the competition see red. Me thinks maybe those Eveready guys should get into OEM services for Virgin batteries. Gimme red? 😉
Now that we have the facts out of the way, lets get back to the scope of the blog. The weekend also saw a liberal splashing of the new TVC. Though it reminded me of an old forward, it was done extremely well, and was definitely ‘zara hatke’. It had spunk, a positioning that steered well clear of the regular mobile service provider brand ads and an execution that will easily grab eyeballs. Can’t seem to find the TVC anywhere, so lemme know in case you guys suddenly discover it on you tube or someplace else. They’ve also (in association with Channel V) shot the short movie Andaaz Apna Very Hatke. If you are a Neha Dhupia fan, you can read about her special appearance in it here. Branson and Dhupia almost got themselves a Richard Gere-Shilpa Shetty there.
While the Indian mobile market is already in a highly developed state in terms of at least number of players, i think there’s still room left for clever positioning and lots of ground to cover on services being offered. Virgin Mobile interests me because of two of its other partnerships in India
· a minority stake in Fever 104 FM (with HT in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai). At this point only Big has entities in these two hot but diverse entertainment platforms. This is tiny in comparison, but i think, relevant.
· the venture with Studio 18 and UTV Software in publishing, TV, gaming and film. The potential of the last two items on a mobile platform is phenomenal.
If they are able to evolve some kind of synergy on multiple platforms, we’d have some really fun Virgin services.
until next time, lets talk about virgin territories 🙂