In early July they tethered an inflatable dingy (complete with ‘cut rope in emergency’ instruction) to a billboard in an area of central Mumbai notorious for its flooding problems. Within a couple of weeks, it monsooned, the rope was cut and pedestrians were paddled to safety.
But hang on, this wasn’t an impulsive ‘power to the people’ moment, a second glance at the photos shows that blokes with Aircel branded t-shirts were in charge of the whole operation.
In one way this is kind of sweet, the brand making sure that their boat was used properly to really help people – and in another way it makes me a bit cynical, with images in my head of a marketing team sat there waiting for the heavens to open so they could dispatch their branded team of helpers – plus of course a photographer to document it all.
Brilliant coverage achieved, but it all feels a little bit too planned and manipulative to really connect with cynical old me – then again I’m not exactly Aircel’s target audience – and I wasn’t the one getting my feet wet.