But there's one more reason why I loved the ad: it came at the right time for me. You see, this ad came around the time the Guy and I decided to be together. But we were living in different cities at the time. We used to talk on the phone for at least a couple of hours every day, and around half a dozen hours on holidays. Yes, we both used Airtel.
So it seemed like it was our story that was implied through that commercial. The Guy and I had been friends earlier, but while we had enjoyed each other's company tremendously we had always kept a certain emotional distance. It was then, when we were in different cities and could talk unself-consicously on the phone that we discovered more and more about each other and realised just how compatible we were. Neither of us earned a lot then, and the phone bills we rang up amounted than to more than the house rent we paid (both of us combined). We even had a sharing arrangement in which the Guy would always call me, as his STD charges were lower, and I would pay him half the amount charged on his bill as calls to me. We recognised that learning more about each other was an investment in our future, even as talking to the other gave each of us more pleasure than anything else. So cash-strapped as we were, we made little effort to cut down on our calling time.
But Airtel has since failed to live up to the quality of that ad, or in fact anything near it. When I first saw the Madhavan-Vidya Balan ads, I thought, Finally! They're telling our story! But it turned out nothing like it. The first two were quite nice. (The first one on long-distance calls is ironic though, considering that the Guy has had STD calls at Rs 1 on his phone for over four years now.) But they got progressively worse. They were also surprisingly sexist. The husband doesn't care about preparing dinner (salad!) or tidying up before guests get home - he's watching a match! The wife has to nag him to please do some housework. (After all, that's her job, not his?) In the latest, the husband brings in the newspaper, and the wife is only interested in the horroscope. (Surprising, really, because in an earlier one she seems to be reading the Economic Times.)
In all of these ads, it's the husband who activates or knows more about the service. The wife also uses Airtel, but of course cannot be expected to figure out its many features without male assistance.
This one was just baffling. The Guy suggested Airtel is saying, "Give up on our network, use toy phones and pretend to talk."
And then came the ad for Airtel Broadband. With the mantra, "Impatience is the new life", it extolls the "impatience" of young people - growing up without many of the restrictions the older generation had seen, these young people - us! - want a better, faster life. The ad says it much better than I do - and here's a detailed description.
We have used Airtel Broadband - not this super-speed one, but even the connection we had was great. Hardly any problems, and excellent customer service. It sucks that we had to move to BSNL because Airtel doesn't service this area.