If there's one thing that Ad Nut has learned through all of its interactions in the non-woodland world, it's that human beings are truly preoccupied with the notion of existentialism.
They can spend days, nay months, nay years, pondering, lamenting and ruminating over who they are, what their purpose is, where they belong, what makes up their unique DNA, and how they fit into the wider world around them. It seems identity and the pursuit of it is the root of most of humanity’s explorations, and for a very clearly defined squirrel such as Ad Nut, this is a fascinating topic to unpack.
It appears the same rings true for Kazakh telco company, Altel. Owned by Kazakhstan’s largest telecommunications provider—Kazakhtelecom—the company has been around since 1994, and has long been considered one of the country’s leading service providers. Which is why in recent years the company identified (in a release to Ad Nut) that market share started to drop due to users no longer identifying with their product as a result of several campaigns featuring overseas talents and visions of foreign escapes beyond the Kazakh borders. So, they looked within to re-establish their national identity and win back local audiences.
Titled ‘Just Like You’ Altel’s latest campaign conceptualised by BBDO CA brings together modernity, creativity and a sprinkle of AI to generate a more relatable version of the brand’s identity amongst local consumers. Whilst most companies in the country focus their ads on the natural beauty of the hills, mountains and horses of Kazakhstan to draw customers, Altel chose a different path by trying to identify the face of Kazakhstan through a national brand ambassador. But how do you select one amongst millions to be the look of a brand? That's where AI comes in.
During the pre-launch stage, Altel asked subscribers across the country via shopping centres and their platforms, to share their photographs in exchange for a lifetime freeze on their plans. They gathered around 16,000 images. The brand then collated and merged the characteristics from thousands of individuals photos, using MetaHuman technology and AI to create a collective image of the ‘typical’ Altel subscriber.
The result: The creation of brand ambassadors that represent the everyday Kazakh consumer, tapping into relatability and representation as a way of helping them feel connected to the brand.
Now, is Ad Nut blown away by the use of technology or the novelty of the idea? Not quite. Even basic models of Photoshop can blend images, extracting traits and features to create franken-humans, as Ad Nut has seen before. Companies and creators too, have done this aplenty, and AI-generated imagery is becoming commonplace in the name of innovation.
Also, the images definitely give AI-vibes, and there is a robotic feel about them, inspite of the design's best efforts to humanise them. Ad Nut does wonder, however, if this is a technology advancement and maturity issue versus a brand one, but regardless, Ad Nut does fear this may impact the element of connection to an extent, as scepticism for AI content grows.
With that said, what peaks Ad Nut’s interest here is the cementing of the new ambassadors into a revived brand persona with a purpose-led storyline, making the campaign slightly more holistic and end-to-end.
Each video begins with the phrase ‘Just Like You’ and roots back to Kazakhstani traditions—from sampling before purchasing to leisurely strolls as Kazakhstanis' favourite summer activity. The campaign has also taken their ‘Just Like You’ message across multi-platforms from events to OOH, adapting it and bringing it to life outside of video and into new contexts.
Examples include 'Just as Fast as You' at the Astana Marathon, 'Just as Creative as You' at the Ashyq Apsan Festival of Modern Art, and 'Just as Innovative as You' at TEDxAstana.
The use and adaption of repeated phrasing is clever. Much like a McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ or L’Oreal’s ‘I’m Worth It’, Altel’s ‘Just Like You’ has the potential to seep deep into the skin, especially when paired with the nuances of representation. Is it revolutionary? No. Does it reinvent the wheel? Also, no. But what it does do is smartly tap into every human being’s desire for belonging and identity—especially for those who submitted an image of themselves and will now feel represented as a contributing factor in the make-up of brand ambassadors.
For a country with 19 million people, yet so few spoken about on the international stage, Ad Nut can’t help but feel a little sentimental about the power of seeing oneself reflected back this way.
According to the press release shared with Ad Nut, the campaign idea has resulted in Altel achieving double-digit growth in new subscribers and revenue, leading to a significant increase in its market share, and ad awareness rates spiking from 36% to 43%.
Will the boom last? Time will (Al)tel.
|Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.|