Airtel has leveraged its sponsorship arrangement with Manchester United to launch Airtel Rising Stars, a football talent hunt to find the best young footballers (14-16 years of age) in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Announcing the initiative and driving buzz for Airtel is BBH India. The agency will handle the project and create all communication for Airtel Rising Stars.
The campaign comprises a TVC series, besides digital, print and outdoor media.
One of the TVCs is a 80-second film which shows a boy each from Kolkata, Dhaka and Colombo waking up at 4:30 am, putting their football kits on, and hitting the field to train. The regime is repeated for the next few days, before the trio finally get it right in individual games they take part in. The hard work finally pays off, and they are shown leading a group of youngsters on to the pitch at Old Trafford (the home of Manchester United).
Three shorter edits of the 80-second film (one each for India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) and a 10-second film that shows Manchester United's Wayne Rooney saying, "If you're out there, we'll find you" are part of the television arsenal for the initiative.
On working with BBH India, an Airtel spokesperson said, "As a company, we strongly believe in constantly innovating fresh ideas and concepts – working with partners that show that entrepreneurial spirit has always been a natural choice for us. BBH is a well known boutique creative agency and have been part of some recent successful campaigns. The different and fresh communication approach that they provided met our expectations and hence the reason for bringing them on board for the the campaign."
On BBH India's affiliation with Airtel and the campaign, Subhash Kamath, managing partner at the agency, said, "Airtel was looking to manage this campaign as a project. Football is a growing sport in India and the whole idea of kids going to train with Manchester United was an extremely exciting prospect for us to work on. The brief was simple, where we had to create a campaign that runs across India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to capture the fact that Airtel is sending children to train at Manchester United."
The films featuring boys from India, Bangladesh and SriLanka have engaged a unique editing technique, to show them striking the same shot at goal in the end.
The films went on air on 27 June.
Creative agency: BBH, Mumbai
Creative: Russell Barett, Vinod Sudheer, Kunal Sawant
Account management: Subhash Kamath, Royston Netto, Mandar Shete
Agency producer: Sushma Joseph
Film director: Ram Madhvani
Production house: Equinox Films
Media agency: Madison