A positive change involving national brands and regional languages other than Hindi!

I stumbled upon 3 recent instances of national brands localizing their communication. All 3 are mighty impressive, in the face of many national brands still assuming that Hindi and English text, in all editions, is good enough. BYJU’s goes one step ahead and shows its Hindi ads on Sun TV, amidst a plethora of Tamil ads!

The first one is by Axis Bank that has roped in Kerala-based (but multi-lingual; their new song from the Kannada film, Mundina Nildana is smashingly good! —thank me later!) band Masala Coffee for a song!

The context is the new Axis Kochi1 Card, a prepaid transit card for Kochi Metro that can be used for shopping and dining too. The idea was conceptualized by Lowe Lintas, and includes, besides Masala Coffee, Manu Manjith, a Malayalam film lyricist, and Fejo, a Kochi-based rapper.

The music video contextually showcases the use of the card in multiple occasions and locations – Kochi Metro (multiple times), restaurants, shops etc. That a national brand like Axis Bank looked beyond its brand ambassador Ranveer Singh, to localize the narrative around a specifically local product is common sense, but in these days of using Hindi in print ads in all editions nationally, such common sense seems to be uncommon.

Excellent thought, well-executed.

The second one is by Titan. In a completely surprise move, Titan has launched watches specifically for Tamil Nadu! I notice 6 watches, and they have a combination of Tamil text, kancheepuram saree’ish design and Tamil Nadu’s temple architecture on the dials! Considering it has been launched in December, this is perhaps a great time to promote them as a Pongal gift, since Pongal is called ‘Thamizhar Thirunaal’ (a Tamilian Festival).

Is Titan planning watches in more Indian languages? That would be fantastic!

On the Titan website, I notice that they are giving away their smartwatch free with these new Tamil watches. That’s an interesting deal, but do they really expect us to wear 2 watches, one in each hand? 🙂

The third one is technically not localization, but more of a national brand’s nod to what was till now considered ‘regional’. Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCB) has roped in music composer Ilayaraja for a corporate anthem. What is special here is that this is the first time Ilayaraja is working on producing music for a corporate, in the 43+ years of his magnificent career!

Even as Ilayaraja’s music has gone places, given his predominant South Indian repertoire and success, he is still seen as a ‘Tamil’ composer. But HCCB, a national brand getting him to produce something that is not restricted to just Tamil Nadu alone is a sign of both the composer’s immense talent and appeal, and a nod that what was considered ‘regional’ can go national too.

I believe this video has been released more as a behind-the-scenes and more versions are on the way, including versions of the theme with lyrics in multiple languages. Even this video was embedded in a news item by The Hindu BusinessLine and is nowhere to be found in HCCB’s corporate website. That’s a cardinal sin in digital marketing. I notice the corporate communications head of HCCB in the video, and it is mildly baffling that he/his team decided to drive traffic to a media website instead of their own corporate website.