Shah Rukh Khan becomes brand ambassador for West Bengal tourism. Watch the video
Bengal is well-known for its rich heritage, culture and traditions all over the world. Intricately woven stories of many bright mornings and colourful evenings run through the region; stories of many civilisations have left their mark here. That’s why, visitors continue to flock to this part of India all through the year to experience a gallery of emotions. The place attracts tourists from all over the world with its culinary delights and warm hospitality.
To promote tourism in West Bengal, the state’s tourism department has attempted to allure travellers with a new ad campaign that pitches the state as ‘The sweetest part of India’. Conceptualised and created by Ogilvy & Mather, Kolkata, the film gives you a glimpse of the state and its colours through the eyes of a foreigner. The film opens with a traditional Bengali wedding that the foreigner is attending. The wedding is set to a famous Bengali song “Ami chini go chini tomare ogo bideshini” (I know you, I know you, oh, my lady from an alien land), written by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, played on a Dotara (a two stringed musical instrument resembling a mandolin). What follows, are sights across the state as the lady travels through it.
The ‘Bideshini’ wanders through the corridors of ancient terracotta structures, and dances to the tunes of a Baul ‘gaan’. She relishes lip-smacking cuisines served by her warm host. Through the course of her visit, she realises that in Bengal, she is never really far from home. Towards the end of the film, a tram stops by the lady, and she boards it. Surprisingly, in the tram is Shah Rukh Khan, who takes the lady in his arms and sings, “Ami chini go chini tomare ogo bideshini”. The film signs off with SRK saying, “Welcome to Bengal – The sweetest part of India”.
The three-and-a-half-minute-long ad film has been directed by Prakash Varma of Nirvana films. The campaign stays away from the stereotypes associated with Bengal as a destination and introduces new places, rituals and experiences. “It showcases the hospitality of Bengal, something that lends uniqueness to our state,” says Sujoy Roy, managing partner – Ogilvy & Mather, Kolkata.
While the campaign was launched about a year ago on radio, outdoor and print, the video has now been launched on the digital platform.
Speaking about the campaign, Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy, says, “We travelled around the state along with Nirvana Films, capturing places and people in a way that have not been seen before. We use the Tagore song, ‘Ogo bideshini’, in the film in order to address a lady from a faraway land. It is a perfect connect for our film in which we see a foreign traveller discovering the sweetness of Bengali culture, cuisine and customs.”
According to Ajeet Shukla, senior creative director, FCB Ulka, tourism ads such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, have already set a benchmark. Hence, seeing this one was a bit of disappointment.
“Two things that held my attention were the music and camera work. Other than that, I could not find an idea per se, although I loved the Rabindra Sangeet… ‘aami chini go chini…’ Also, the positioning of the campaign is, ‘The sweetest part of India’, but where are the delicious sondesh and rosogulla?” he asks.
He adds, “SRK seems like a waste of a celeb brand ambassador. It looks like a disconnected patch in the end. He could have been used as inclusively as he has been in the Dubai Tourism campaign. If I have to point out what attracts me enough to visit Bengal after watching this commercial, I am not sure if I’d like to visit.”