My best campaign is 'Web is what you make of it', says BBH India MD

Photo: screenshot from YouTube
Which do you consider your best campaign and why? When was the campaign launched?

It was a campaign for Google Chrome called “Web is what you make of it”. It was a global campaign that ran through 2011 and 2012. It was a really interesting way to build a global campaign where all the BBH offices around the world went in with their inputs on how the internet is evolving and changing society in India and the idea that the web is what you make of it was born from that.

The idea was to showcase real-life stories — about how people’s lives have changed after using the internet.

In our search for unusual businesses, we found Tanjore Oviyam. It was a story of an art form in search of an audience and a business looking for traction. The film highlights the story of G Rajendran, an artist from Tamil Nadu, who leverages the power of the web to keep alive the on-the-verge-of-extinction art form of Tanjore paintings. Through effective use of the medium, he not only ends up increasing the sales of his paintings but also becomes a successful businessman rather than just an artist.

The irony was what made this story so interesting. Here was an ancient art in the most traditional sense that used the youngest platform and the most modern marketplace to achieve success. Also, we did this without a single use of any computer in the commercial. Instead, several windows resonating different sections of his website are shown.

Arvind Krishnan, MD, BBH India
What did the campaign achieve for the brand? Could you also share some numbers to corroborate your claim?

Chrome was a late entrant in a market that was dominated by established players. With most machines running on Windows operating software at that time, Internet Explorer was the default browser choice. Our task was to break this habit. Along with the use of real-life examples, the campaign really broke down how Chrome could benefit people in the simplest manner possible.

This really helped humanise the brand, make technology appear less complicated, break a habit and all this together led to more user downloads. In three months, Chrome overtook competition and became number one with an increase in market share from 12 per cent in 2010 to nearly 37 per cent in 2012.

What was the key idea behind the campaign?

At that time, internet was undergoing a fundamental shift. It was no longer used only for viewing (reading, browsing etc), but also for doing things. People were leveraging the power of the internet to change the world around them. We wanted to celebrate these superheroes of the web.

What was the industry response to the campaign?

The campaign won a lot of awards locally and globally — both creative and effectiveness awards that year at Clios, Abbys and Spikes Asia awards in the film and film craft categories. It was also a finalist at the Cannes Lions festival. 

What were the execution challenges?

There were quite a few. First, these were stories of real people, not make believe. So we had to harvest the best true stories from around India and then get in touch with the people to get them to agree to do this. If I remember correctly, the long list had 43 stories, we finally boiled it down to the one we made about Tanjore Oviyam.

Once we did that, we wanted to make the ad more India friendly. The global work was more text driven, whereas we were pretty clear that we wanted it to be more visual in this case. 

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