Putting Gujarat on the Map

Ogilvy, India

Consistent communications helped the Indian state of Gujarat, which was not even on the average tourist's radar, to become a buzzy, hotly discussed and sought-after tourist destination in just 3 years.


Client

Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (Gujarat Tourism), India

Challenge

This is the story of leapfrogging a brand from obscurity to 'consideration' - a destination  travellers would think about visiting. It was a daunting task considering Gujarat was an unknown tourist destination to domestic travellers, let along foreign tourists. Added to that, top-of-mind tourism destinations like Kerala, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu were way ahead of the curve, having moved to promoting their states as holistic destinations. The average tourist struggled to point to Gujarat on the map and it was not even a blip on their radar. Our key challenge was to build familiarity and consideration for brand Gujarat, thereby accelerating tourist growth.

Strategy and Solution

Every destination has a story to tell, but how can we make this believable? How do we go beyond the communication clichés and ‘picturesque poster’ advertising? Consumer immersions with both domestic and international tourists led us to a simple category truth – the unique travel experiences and stories of friends and relatives help tourists to make holiday decisions. From this category truth stemmed our idea. We would not do 'advertising'. We would write a Travelogue. The question was, whose holiday experience would get Indians to think about Gujarat?

ENTERS AMITABH BACHCHAN - Charismatic, well travelled and well read, a persona who is universally respected and revered, a person of immense stature, an explorer and appreciator of art and culture. Thus 'Khushboo Gujarat Ki' (Breathe in a bit of Gujarat) was born as a first person account of Amitabh Bachchan's unique experiences in Gujarat. This creative idea helped the brand in terms of both salience and influence, leading to growth. We expressed the diversity, beauty and culture of Gujarat through poetic expressions rendered by Mr. Bachchan. From 2010 to 2013, we launched a series of TV commercials, radio, print, outdoor and digital campaigns, which were essentially stories about the chosen locations. We have done 12 locations so far through 12 advertisements in the last 3 years.

Outcome

Through the campaign, we have added 8.4 million tourists in three years at a healthy CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 14%, as against a growth rate of 8% prior to the campaign. (Source: GITCO & Client Data) 

If we had continued to grow at the pre-advertising rate of 8%, we would have ended up with 4 million tourists less!

CAGR growth at 14%, higher than the category growth rate of 12%.  (Source: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India)

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