Incredible advert!sing

As I tried to catch some shut-eye at Chicago O’Hare yesterday, I kept hearing Indian music playing in the background and finally tracked down the source. This very slick ad for Indian tourism is running endlessly on CNN’s airport network. It’s part of the Incredible !ndia campaign, which used to be Incredibly L^me.

I agree with this critique:

Not bad but they need to do a few more urban-themed things… they all seem to focus on rural women spinning around with pots on their heads… There’s nothing wrong with pushing our history (indeed it is a big tourist draw), but by dropping in some stuff from modern India we can really change people’s perceptions. Remember, this is a bit like what Japan did with its Shinkanshens… India must be marketed as a nation where futurism runs alongside tradition. [Link]

The Turkey Welcomes You campaign shows off a modern subway system (watch clip), though it uses a lot of cheesy, Daler Mehndi-esque, gratuitous greenscreen.

Here are some of the ’05 print ads. Again, the newer ads are more visually interesting than the flat, hackneyed ones from years past:

They really need to get off the Taj kick. I’m sure France tourism features much more than the Eiffel Tower. Interestingly, the government of India is spending cold, hard cash to push the same visual shorthand I rail against in book marketing:

But this is just tourism; good literature is not.

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29 thoughts on “Incredible advert!sing

  1. Pretty but as you quote, needs more “urban themed things.” Another print one features men (in colourful turbans, of course) on camels wading across a pool with inexplicable swathesof fabric stretched across..in front of the Taj. Colourful fabrics, turbans, colour, camels, colour, Taj – oooh, so exotique.

  2. These types of adverts are just pure eye candy. They are hyping up the main reason why someone would go to India, i.e. to check out its rich culture and history. How would showing urban scenes make people want to visit India?

    Australia has made a similar ad which plays up its natural beauty and shows only one very brief urban scene.

  3. They are hyping up the main reason why someone would go to India, i.e. to check out its rich culture and history

    Fair enough, India does have a relatively low tourism share, all things considered. But I think it’s the over-exoticisation aspect..bit of a phobia about reducing India to a series of Ayurvedic resorts in Goa. ;-)

    bengali, are you from Oz?

  4. We aren’t exactly NY or London like, so, let us not kid ourselves. If we continue to portray “vonly” the balle-balle-dancing, naan-tandoori-eating, tu-tu-tu-tu strutting desi stereotype not to mention the 1 hour crash course we get on India when some white speckled brown troupe lands next to my table at a desi restaurant, folks will continue to romanticize the camels, cows and the British Raj. People over here love the vintage stuff.

  5. Like this, this or this.

    I get your point, without at least some modern & urban scenes these ads kinda portray India as being backward and medieval.

    flygirl, yup I’m from Oz, Brissie to be precise.

  6. They know what they’re doing. Tourism is low comparatively speaking but it’s growing exponentially. The ads seem catered to specific travelers and hence the emphasis on North-East/buddhist destinations and Kerala and Rajasthan. I personally wouldn’t highlight urban Bombay or Calcutta to get people to come to India (they’d stay the hell away!)

    The atiti devo bhava bit at the end was a nice touch (a guest is like God).

  7. I personally wouldn’t highlight urban Bombay or Calcutta to get people to come to India (they’d stay the hell away!)

    haha! That’s what I thought at first, but I think showing images like these wouldn’t go astray..

  8. yea.. nice clip.. i could have done without that large fellow in the tights… he looked like a llama (the four legged one)… but whatever… the atithi devo bhava bit is sort of a tag line… i’ve heard through reliable sourcesthat tourism india is embarking on a major initiative to annul the hard-sell mentality of the touts.
    dont think it’s that bad to tout the colors and heritage of india. who, in the right mind would go to india to use a telephone or go gee-whiz at a computer. i would have preferred an emphasis on flora and fauna to highlight the natural wealth.. but that market seems to be cornered by africa.

  9. “Tourism is low comparatively speaking but it’s growing exponentially.”

    Good to hear, India has low visitor numbers relatively, esp considering its drawcards as a destination and in terms of size.

  10. That ad is all over the place in Asia- especiall on Discovery;s Travel and Living channel. I for one am happy they finally seem to be getting their act together to promote Indian toursim. I am of the ‘leaning toward highlighting the beuatiful, historic and the exotic’ kind more than urban. My problem with the film is its sorta headless. It has that woman doing yoga in different locales but thats not really a thread. It has a couple of people lookign at camera, but thats not consistent. It has a lot of lots of stuff, but its a string of (very) beuatiful images. Of course, its how it affects anon-indian that matters, but I do feel it could have beena little more….cohesive?

  11. and oh- that aussie ad works well for me. It not about projecting a ‘well-rounded’ image, its about getting people to say- “now that’s a reason for me to go there”

  12. There’s a commercial for Nokia being regularly shown on CNN (at least here in the UK) which includes several clips of Akshay Kumar & Priyanka Chopra from the “holi” song in Waqt….

  13. putting pics of london, newyork skyline, or calavatra bridges on india tourism posters might just confuse people. peole come to india for a myriad of reasons – come to look at taj mahal to take tourist pics they could have created in photshop, kerala spa wellness tours, rajastan riughing in the desert tours etc…man i met som goriya in goa who hadn’t ventured anywhere else in the subontinent.

  14. There is a reason why India has such a poor tourism market, FILTH. I hate to say it, but it’s an embarrassment. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Delhi it was if I had entered the 16th Century. No infrastructure, no roads, beggars and filth everywhere. I know most people will label me as a self-righteous NRI, but seriously, why is this country so disgustingly dirty?

  15. There is a reason why India has such a poor tourism market, FILTH. I hate to say it, but it’s an embarrassment. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Delhi it was if I had entered the 16th Century. No infrastructure, no roads, beggars and filth everywhere. I know most people will label me as a self-righteous NRI, but seriously, why is this country so disgustingly dirty?

    when was this? frankly, if you are a self-righteous NRI you’d never have got to see all this in recent times. probably been picked up in a honda with darkened windows by a wizened hollow-cheeked guy in a white linen and taken to the family farm where you’d enjoy the country air and talk out of your arse about “this is why my heart is in the punjabi pind”…
    seriously tho’ please do post your travel logs online. I for one would love to read it – good or bad.

  16. hello there,, im making a small enquirey. i have a member of my familiy who loves the music played on this advert and hes asked me if i can look up what sort of music it actualy is ,, and also asks me to try and get it for him..

    if anyone knows then please let me know,, its urgant lol.

    its the sort of enchanted music im looking for. if you listen to the chant right at the end of this advert, this is the genre im looking for,, if anyone knows of this, please help me,, thanx.

  17. hey Guy, maybe this may work for your buddy. if you do buy the cd, please drop in again and tell us how it went.

  18. I saw the ad INCREDIBLE INDIA in cnn in the last when she say INDIA INCREDIBLE INDIA SEEMS LIKE SHE IS VERY SAD it makes the whole ad sad i suggest make ad more lively and happy. Pritam

  19. Hey, i found this blog in google because this advertising campaign has come back this year. i think it is rally good i am an english man and these adverts certainley added to my longing to go on holiday to india. I did-it was !ncredible!

  20. I love the Incredible India music – is there an extended version available. Indian Tourism should release or have available for download

  21. Hi

    Does anyone know the artist and track on the Incredible India adverstisment please.

  22. I love to keep our india safe so please everyone safe the nature especially our traditions and tigers

  23. Dear indians we are in the danger of losing our nature , tigers,tradition,culture,etc…… Please here after we should create awareness among our people and save all those things jaihind…………………