A few years ago, while taking a walk in M.G Road, Bangalore I noticed a huge white billboard with a human head emerging from the bottom. As this was gradually replaced by a full face (no celebrity, just a common face) with a bold ‘Hi’, with no indication of the brand or the company, I was intrigued. By the time ‘We are Hutch and we are in India’ message came up, I was completely hooked.

Infact, no other marketing initiative would have captured so much imagination among the Indian consumers than the Hutch advertising campaigns inspite of a no-nonsense and uncluttered approach, very uncharacteristic of the Indian advertising industry. When Airtel and Spice were creating all the noises with plenty of hooplah from an overzealous Shah Rukh Khan and the Kapoor siblings, Hutch stuck to its basic branding principles. Strong visuals, a friendly custom-designed typeface, some excellent work by photographers like Suresh Natarajan and creative agency O&M India all contributed to some memorable campaigns. None more remarkable as the ‘pug and the boy’ with a surprisingly simple, yet effective tagline – ‘Where you go, our network follows’ . The men behind the campaign, V Mahesh(who passed away recently) and Rajiv Rao will be remembered not only for making the whole of India sing “You and I, in this beautiful world..” composed by Rupert Fernandes exclusively for the advert but also for making the pug one of the most sought-after pets in the country ever since it adorned the laps of Chinese emperors as early as 1766 BC.

Watch the Hutch Musical Chair TV ad in You Tube.

Danny Pope, 44 year old Australian cinematographer who also worked on some memorable TV spots like the ‘Fevicol overloaded bus’ had this to say about the pug ‘Chika’ which belongs to a Goan couple.

“We allowed the dog and the little kid, Jairam, to spend some time together and they became friends and it would follow the boy everywhere and all we had to do was shoot. Every shot was done in a couple of takes; the dog was really lovable; infact when he was climbing stairs, his stomach would drag on the stairs — he had such short legs!”

In a branding point of view, Hutch may have lost its way a little as some might argue and the ‘hot pink rebranding‘ might even be considered repulsive despite a smooth transition from a more traditional orange. But it still commands an admirable brand identity in an increasingly crowded telecommunication sector.

Hutch boy and Chika

Here is a Mutiny exclusive gallery of the past Hutch campaigns. You might also want to download the popular Hutch jingle, ‘You and I, in this beautiful world’.