redBus, the online bus ticketing platform, has launched a 360-degree integrated marketing campaign featuring its brand ambassador, MS Dhoni, highlighting the conveniences and advantages of using the platform as opposed to traditional methods of bus ticketing. It emphatically urges people to avoid being puppets of unorganised ticketing methods and take control over their journeys with redBus.
As part of the campaign, redBus has launched a 30-second TVC, which is the first in the series of two commercials, with the second video set to go live on December 7. The films emerge from the core idea of highlighting the plight of travellers who are at the mercy of offline bus ticket booking system. They often have no control over the choice of bus, seat or ticket pricing. The films dramatise this lack of control by portraying the offline consumer as a puppet controlled by greater forces. The messaging deals with two major pain-points faced by offline ticket purchasers – limited range of options and arbitrary prices. redBus comes to the rescue on both occasions with Dhoni carrying the brand’s message of ‘taking control’ of one’s bus journey with the help of the redBus app, with his sporty elegance.
redBus launched its first brand campaign with Dhoni in May this year, where the cricketing legend was cast in an unusual avatar of a hockey player. The films associated with the campaign emphasised on aspects such as choice of leg room and best discounts offered on the redBus platform and were well received across India. The campaign helped deliver growth in the west and north markets for redBus.
In the films, viewers witness a metaphorical puppetry, where travellers are depicted as puppets controlled by an archaic offline ticket booking system that leaves most of them helpless, owing to its rigidity on the choice of bus and high cost of tickets. The puppet strings attached to the characters overtly emphasise their vulnerability and lack of control over their journey. Dhoni arrives as a well-wisher and advisor, who empathises with the puppets and offers them the best solution to break free of the strings — use redBus to cut it and control the journey yourself. The videos are complemented with vocals in rap that give it a humorous undertone.
Prakash Sangam, CEO, redBus, said, “We have strengthened our footprint across the country, especially in West and North India, with MS Dhoni anchoring our campaigns. The online bus ticketing segment is still underpenetrated with tremendous potential to grow and our objective is to attract a large cohort of offline ticket purchasers to experience the convenience of booking on redBus and thereby drive growth.”
Pallavi Chopra, VP and Head of Marketing, redBus, said, “The objective of this campaign is to attract a large segment of offline ticket purchasers who are deprived of choice and best ticket prices to try redBus and enjoy a hassle-free travelling experience. We have put up a strong narrative to emphasise this message, with Dhoni delivering it emphatically to a PAN-India audience. The films are both educating and entertaining and sure to command strong attention from our audience.”
Dileep Ashoka, EVP, McCann South, said, “redBus, India’s No. 1 online bus ticketing app, has already managed to get a large share of the early adopters on board with previous campaigns. The objective of the current communication is to target the laggards in the category— those who are habituated to booking through traditional methods, despite all the pitfalls. The use of the puppet as a visual device, a catchy rap and Dhoni’s mass appeal is aimed at driving home the message to a wider demographic in the most disruptive way possible and shake offline consumers from their current state of inertia”.
The campaign will be aired on all leading national and regional TV channels, including digital and social media.
The first film:
Agency: McCann Worldgroup, Bengaluru
Creative Director: Puneet Kapoor
Production House: Keroscene Films
Director: Rajesh Saathi
DOP: V. Manikandan