February 24, 2015

Have you visited Diu yet?

By Anusha Narayanan

Up until a year ago, Diu was relatively unknown beyond the residents of Gujarat who frequented it. It is far from being called a thriving tourist spot. Diu, a part of Daman & Diu – a Union Territory (UT), is a small island near the coast of Gujarat. And no, Daman and Diu aren’t one place. In fact, they are more than 600 kms apart. Diu has been popular for years among the people of Gujarat, not so much for its quiet beaches or old churches and fortress, but more for the easy access to alcohol which is otherwise banned in the state of Gujarat.

However, for the urban youth, stressed by the battles of modern work-life and yearning for a break from its mundanity, Diu could be an ideal getaway from the noise of the city; an “Ilha de calma” (Island of calm) seems apt.

The TV commercial 

Recently, Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai worked with Diu Tourism Department on ‘Visit Diu’, a branding and ad campaign for this once-sleepy town. Sumanto Chattopadhyay, ECD, Oglivy & Mather explained to us the brief, “Diu, an island with Portuguese heritage, is a calm, quiet place you would go to, to get away from it all. That was the brief given to us verbally by Mr Ashish Kundra, the administrator of Diu. It was clear, sharp and readily translated into the creative idea.”

To this brief, the agency’s response was that, “Isle of Calm seemed to be a pithy encapsulation of the brief. We thought that if we translated that into Portuguese, we could create intrigue around Diu. The idea of doing a teaser campaign was born – let people guess where Ilha de Calma (Isle of Calm) is. Let people think it is an exotic international destination and be pleasantly surprised when they realise it is right here in India.”

The teaser

We also asked him what the target of the campaign was. “This is the first time that there is a major campaign to promote Diu as a tourist destination. The truth is that few people in India or abroad even know where it is. So the idea of the campaign is to announce Diu to the world. Of course, people living in cities like Mumbai which are reasonably close to Diu are the first level target group. But we also want to seep into the consciousness of the whole nation as well as to the international community.”

The campaign repositions Diu as more than a cheap source of alcohol and highlights its history and culture. For most of us, the Portuguese never ventured beyond Goa. It also raises people’s curiosity because of the mystery around it, but it makes Diu look eerily calm, almost deserted.

The website does some justice by giving the visitors a taste of Diu’s heritage, through photo galleries and 360 degree views of the landscape. But the lack of infrastructural connectivity on ground in Diu, is perhaps something that could use some attention from the government, for the benefit of tourists and tourism.

Visit-Diu-04Visit Diu ads on bus stops

Visit-Diu-02Screenshot from the website – www.visitdiu.in

While digging around for information, we spoke to Aditya Dogra, the owner of a hotel in Diu and a resident of the island for years. Aditya had shared the campaign on his Facebook group a while back, and got some of the regular visitors of Diu talking (more than 60 comments on that thread). Here’s what he said,

“On the positive side the Diu campaign definitely has the ability to draw attention to itself and keep your attention long enough in an “Interested” mode. On the negative; for a new and a pan-India aspiring destination, the campaign fails to deliver owing to its lack of content/information and focus on Diu’s main product. Poor connectivity probably enhances the travellers need to be more clear, about what the destination they are being sold, offers.”
-Aditya Dogra, resident of Diu

We asked a few people in the industry for their take on the campaign:

How do you bring a little-known island into the consideration set for travelers/tourists in India, where exotic beach destinations abound?
Answer: Give it a Portuguese name, shoot sublime images of desolate landscape, add a background score that increases intrigue and top it with a teaser that makes you want to believe that the island destination could be from anywhere outside the country. Voila! Diu now has the promise of a Mediterranean island. While O&M has done a good job, will the Diu infrastructure, quality of catering and hospitality etc live up to this promise? After all, a brand is the entire package/experience and is not limited to just a campaign.
– Tanuja Goyal, Founder & Creative Head, The Fool

The first time I saw the work, it was in the teaser stage. Since it looked like a travel ad, I thought Ilha de Calma wasn’t about travel.  I thought it was some teaser for a brand that is going to give similar experience. The film is beautifully shot. But it doesn’t say anything. It hopes the pictures do the talking and they do. Having said that, I do think they will surely see a big increase in traffic. Because the work is inviting and since it’s a new place and in India.
– Emmanuel Upputuru, Chief Creative Officer, ITSA

It’s great filmmaking. That almost makes up for the oft-repeated story of switching off and finding serenity. Yes, it does seem relevant for an undiscovered gem like Diu but I would have liked something a little more than a pretty video gallery of a pretty place (where it seems you could point in any direction to click yourself a post card).
– Rajeev Ravindranathan, Director / Creative, People Design

This is one of the most memorable tourism campaigns that I have seen in a while. The tourism campaigns have been reduced to a template of pretty pictures and clever lines, all campaigns seem to follow that, this campaign broke the template. The fact that the print campaign drives you to a site that was like a treasure hunt and that didn’t tell you where the place is, was really intriguing. I think the campaign did well, clever and involving.
– Naresh Gupta, Managing Partner, Bang in the Middle

“It’s a beautiful campaign. Every shot is worth a thousand words. You are transported from a noisy city to the sounds of ocean in a matter of seconds and the contrast hits you immediately. The whole sensory experience calms you down and by the end of it, you’re taking deep breaths and relaxing. Without a second thought, you put Diu as the next destination on your travel list.”
– Jaideep Mahajan, ECD, Linen Lintas

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