Brand Saga: Idea Cellular Part 2 - Brand Idea gets bigger

Sneha Yadav
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Idea advertising journey

The concluding part of the Idea advertising journey celebrates the telco’s various marketing feats as it embraced newer technology and ventured into digital marketing all the while keeping cause-oriented communication alive.

In the first part of Idea advertising journey, we unraveled the tales behind its iconic campaigns - What an Idea, Sirji!, the infamous ‘Hello Honey Bunny’ and more. In the second chapter, we set out to explore the brand’s excursion to becoming one of the three major telecom players.


for ‘The strongest network’

2012 was the year of Idea’s viral ‘You are my Pumpkin Pumpkin, Hello Honey Bunny’, while 2013 saw Idea marketing 121 offerings, the toll-free number mobile users can dial to avail offers, subscribe to value-added services, internet plans, and so on.

A signature 1-2-1 dance move was created in a TVC conceptualized by Lowe Lintas. Commenting on the thought behind it, Lowe Lintas and Partners’ Ashwin Varkey shared “But I don't think anyone has been able to say what exactly this number does. We went back and forth and then decided to keep it simple. 95% of the things one can do at an Idea showroom can be done by dialing in on this number”.


Thereafter more 30-second commercials were launched in the ‘121’ series promoting the recharge services, additional data benefits, and talk time.


Idea - Ek Doosre Ko Samjhne Ke Liye

Humanizing content and adding an emotional touch has been an integral part of the Idea advertising journey. Extending that thought, with “Ek Doosre Ko Samjhne Ke Liye”, Idea created a new theme and narrated what happens when a simple act of phone exchange makes you realize the significance of people in your lives.

It was again conceptualized by Lowe Lintas and Partners.


This was followed by the release of the second commercial directed by Chrome Pictures’ Amit Sharma., this time a father acting as a bridge between the mother-son duo’s ruffle by swapping phones.


Festive Marketing

‘Har tyohar manana ek acha Idea  hai’ defined Idea Cellular’s tryst with festive marketing. By leveraging occasions like Holi, Diwali, Eid, and Raksha Bandhan, Idea launched a series of ads to drive home their point respect every faith.

The ads released during the festive season spoke of – “It is a good idea to celebrate all festivals, no matter what faith one may follow”.

The issues it addressed cut across caste, creed, region, and religion and in doing so, found a fan following in villages of the hinterland as much as among the educated elite.

'No Ullu bana-ving’

2014 saw the rise of a new anthem from the house of Idea Cellular as it took to reposition itself.

“Idea wanted to do something different. As they were still talking about vice and SMS, now they wanted to speak of the Internet. This led me yet another reality of India”, shared Hemant Bhandari of Chrome Pictures with K..V Sridhar in his book 30-second Thrillers.

Bhandari helmed the ‘No Ullu Banoing advertisement featuring Abhishek Bachchan.

On the campaign thought, he further goes onto share, “India is a con country owing to the ignorance. So, I felt, what if the phone in your hand, with the internet, becomes an awareness tool? What if it fights ignorance and foolishness that exists? Hence the tagline”. 

When the campaign was live, Idea kickstarted a Twitter contest asking users to share their ‘ullu’ stories. The core message of the campaign was ‘Idea Internet All India’ dramatized by the catchphrase ‘Har mobile par internet, what an Idea!’ 

As an extension of the campaign, on the occasion of India’s 68th Independence Day, the telco released its very own Idea anthem featuring a choir singing – ‘Hum nahi banenge ullu aaj se’. The idea was to reinforce its earlier thought of ‘no ullu banoing’ towards a mobile-driven country.

Internet Connection and #DelhiNahiRukegi

2015 witnessed Idea going big on its 3G services and promoting Idea Internet Network (IIN) carrying out 360 degrees integrated marketing campaign.

The insight stemmed from the fact that India is replete with stories of successful young people and was created by Lowe Lintas.

Involving a series of television commercials,  the campaign brought forth stories of achievement that had been made possible through IIN.

Later, in the month of December, commuters in Delhi noticed hoardings highlighting the plight of commuters stuck in long traffic jams, despite the city having 90 Flyovers and 5 National Highways.

It was revealed that the OOH activity was a part of Idea Cellular’s #DelhiNahiRukegi campaign supporting the launch of its 3G network in Delhi NCR.

#EasyShare and #Internet4All

With the aim to spread the power of mobile internet amongst people, in 2016, Idea came up with the concept of sharing Internet with campaign Idea Easy Share. The campaign suggested sharing the internet with those in need and the uninitiated riding on the broader theme, ‘India Share Karega, India Care Karega.’

Taking the campaign beyond the walls of a TVC, Idea invited people from 41 cities across India to come and pledge data on ‘Shareable Website’   created in association with Big 92.7 FM. The brand claims it saw a total of 1,76,410 MB data pledged from radio, social and other digital platforms in a 92 hours 7 minutes long marathon.

As per the data from Big 92.7 FM, the campaign garnered a total of 18,000 tweets and 40,699 calls, within 3 days of this marathon.

#Internet4All contributed Data to friends and family (someone not using internet for 90 days) by inviting them to the #Internet4All.

Further to amplify the reach of the campaign, Idea roped in industry players to share their stories of using Idea Internet to touch a million lives.


Transforming India with 4G

Idea announced the rollout of its 4G services in August 2015 and was competing with Airtel and Vodafone. In a bid to democratizing 4G to empower the lives of rural Indians, Idea advertising journey saw the relaunch of ‘What an Idea’ campaign taking 4G to the rural areas.

Conceptualized by Lowe Lintas and titled ‘Transforming India’, the campaign talked about 'reverse migration' from cities to villages while addressing the imbalance in a population that exists between rural and urban India.

Next up with #TheBiggestSmallChange, Idea roped in actor Vikrant Massey as the ‘gadget guru’ to tell people 'what's the big deal about 4G'. With the campaign, the company targeted already existing Idea internet users and communicate to them the benefits of its 4G services like high-speed, great quality, video calling & live-streaming.

Massey occupied TV screens when to compete with the Airtel Girl.

Idea 4G #LookLook

The campaign which began with teasers on digital was revealed with a 60 seconds TVC on Digital and TV. Close on the heels of Idea Cellular’s pan-India mobile broadband network roll-out, the ad established the width and expanse of Idea 4G network across India, with - ‘Idea 4G - India jitna bada network’.

#LookLook carried Brand Idea’s signature tune - the lyrics penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya; composed by Abhishek Arora and sung by Benny Dayal.

Also Read: Brand Saga: Idea Cellular Part 1 – What a journey, Sirji!

Following the success of #LookLook, Idea rolled out a suite of digital entertainment services.

Further, Idea launched a brand campaign with the message ‘No Ajnabee with Idea 4G’. A series of TVCs promoting Digital Idea entertainment apps – Idea Music, Idea Movies & TV and Idea Games were launched supporting the announcement.


The campaign developed and executed by BBDO India demonstrated a cool way of connecting with people in the offline-world, using the digital medium.


From an ‘Idea’ to a ‘Video’ Can Change Your Life

A video can change your life’ - aimed at elevating the role of Idea 4G beyond the category conversation around speed, coverage, content, and apps to reflect its transformative role in people’s lives. It was based on the insight that videos are a universal language that transcends literacy, and hence hold power to transform. 

The 70-second ad film was helmed by Shimit Amin of ‘Chak De India’ fame and developed by BBDO India.

#MeriRealLife – Be

Real on Social Media too

Addressing the growing phenomenon of the need for validation on social media, Brand Idea launched #MeriRealLife, encouraging people to drop the pressure of chasing and sharing perfection on social media.

While the campaign was promoted on a 360-degree level, it saw a few strategic digital integrations in shows/programs such as Film Companion by Anupama Chopra.

‘Dekho Bejhijhak’ with Idea 4G

Aimed at further increasing data consumption among users, while incentivizing customers through cashback and other prizes, Idea Cellular launched a new offer, ‘Jeeto Bejhijhak’ in June 2018 to drive data usage on its network. This was a new chapter of Idea advertising journey.


“Kal Dekhe So Aaj Dekh, Aaj Dekhe So Right Now” was targeted at prepaid customers and the feature music was composed by Amit Trivedi.

Idea 4G - India Ka Live Network

Hiding behind the veil of anonymity, people often display improper behavior, which gets immediately corrected when they know they are in public glare. Further, live video streaming in HD quality is commonly perceived to be the truest test of an effective and efficient 4G network.

Bringing these twin consumer insights to light, brand Idea joined hands with its creative agency BBDO India and kickstarted 2019 with ‘Idea 4G – India ka Live Network’ where the tagline tuned- Ab HD ka maza, bin buffering ki saza’.

In August 2019, Vodafone India merged with Idea Cellular and was renamed as Vodafone Idea Limited.

‘What an Idea’ in 2020

Idea re-launched a new campaign under ‘What an idea’ theme- this time to address the issues of unemployment and underemployment. Titled ‘NOT working?  Try NETworking!’, the campaign showcased the myriad opportunities that internet, through Idea 4G network, throws open to people from different age groups and socio-economic backgrounds, across India.

Digital Brand

Idea advertising journey started Twitter in June 2009 and has around 364k followers on the platform currently. The social content inventory includes campaign promotion, influencer activities, occasional and moment marketing.

For the launch of #SabkaTimeAagaya, Idea roped in online influencers such as Awez Darbar to dance on the newly launched signature step.

From promoting Idea Movies & TV App to campaign-specific content to topical posts, Idea's social media platforms boast of cross-sharing content on all platforms.

Although today we know it as Vodafone Idea, Idea's 'Sirjee' will always be remembered keeping the Idea advertising journey evergreen.

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