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Case Title:

Big TV takes off a Digital TV Teaser Ad: Is it Ethical?

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: S Edavalapati, D Arora, A Syed

Industry: Manufacturing


Case Code: MCS0021IRC

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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The year 2008 witnessed remarkable growth of the Indian DTH (Direct-to-Home) market with an increased number of players. Intensified competition led to the adoption of unconventional advertising strategies to hold the customer base. Reliance Big TV banked on the teaser ad campaign of Airtel Digital TV, took off the concept and used its own teaser. Airtel's ad was not carrying any information about the brand and product, and moreover the brand colour for both the players was red. These prompted Reliance to hijack Airtel's teaser ads and then take the opportunity to communicate the special features of Big TV. Big TV's teasers were similar to Airtel's and were aired as long as Airtel Digital TV teasers were aired, which left viewers in a state of confusion. Later, the tactics played by Reliance Big TV became a controversy. The ad hijack act of Reliance made Airtel's pre-launch campaign in vain. However, Airtel came out with its post-launch campaign which was a colossal ad that helped in better positioning its Digital TV. Was it an ethical move by Reliance to hijack its competitor's concept? Was it an inevitable decision for Reliance? Would this have an impact on Reliance's brand respect and business? Would this lead to the death of teaser ads in India?

Pedagogical Objectives:

    This case study can be used:

  • To understand the ethical issues in advertising
  • To analyse the significance of advertising during a product launch
  • To elaborate on teaser ads and examine their feasibility in the Indian advertising scenario
  • To analyse the similarities between Big TV and Digital TV's teaser ads
  • To analyse the reasons for ad hijack by Reliance
  • To examine the flaws of Airtel's teaser ad campaign
  • To analyse the impact of ad hijack on Reliance's brand image and business
  • To understand the significance of revealing brand and trade mark usage in advertising.

Keywords : Advertising ethics, Teaser campaigns, DTH (Direct-to-Home), Reliance Big TV, Airtel Digital TV, Product launch ads, Pre-launch ads, Post-launch ads, Unethical advertising,Ad hijack, Ad spoof, JWT, Mudra

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