The 'Incredible India' Campaign: Marketing India to the World

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG122
Case Length : 24 Pages
Period : 2002 - 2006
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Ministry of Tourism, India
Industry : Tourism
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Before (the Incredible India campaign), India was being promoted differently in different countries, if at all. There weren't two or three distinct images. This campaign changed that."1

- Lavanya Anirudh, Account Director, Ogilvy & Mather (India),2 in 2004.

"The `Incredible India' positioning and branding has focused on what makes India unique and unmatched in the tourism world. This has brought back the discerning traveler to India."3

- Amitabh Kant, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism, in 2003.


According to spending data released by Visa Asia Pacific4 in March 2006, India emerged as the fastest-growing market in the Asia-Pacific in terms of international tourist spending. The data revealed that international tourists spent US$ 372 million in India in the fourth quarter (October-December) of 2005, 25% more than in the fourth quarter of 2004. China, which came second in the region, was successful in making international tourists fork out US$ 784 million in Q4 2005, a growth of 23% over its Q4 2004 figures. The tourist spending figures for India would have pleased the Indian tourism ministry, which had been targeting the high-end market through its long-running 'Incredible India' communication campaign.

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Also, the fact that India was able to earn around half of what China could, in spite of attracting only a fraction of the number of tourists that its neighbor managed to lure, indicated that the campaign had been successful in achieving its objective.

The 'Incredible India' campaign was an integrated marketing communication effort to support the Indian tourism industry's efforts to attract tourists to the country.

The campaign projected India as an attractive tourist destination by showcasing different aspects of Indian culture and history like yoga, spirituality, etc. The campaign was conducted globally and received appreciation from tourism industry observers and travelers alike.

However, the campaign also came in for criticism from some quarters. Some observers felt that it had failed to cover several aspects of India which would have been attractive to the average tourist.

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1] Shailaja Neelakantan, "India Reaps Rich Benefits,", 2004.

2] Ogilvy & Mather (India) is a part of the Ogilvy Group, which was founded by David Ogilvy in 1948. It is a major advertising agency in India and has several large clients. The Indian operations take the fifth place, in terms of profits, among the group's companies. The group has over 350 offices in around 100 countries.

3] Purvita Chatterjee, "Ad Magic,", October 16, 2003.

4] Visa, the pioneer in the electronic payments industry, was established in 1970 as BankAmericard, Inc. The name was changed to Visa in 1976. As of 2004, there were 238 million Visa cards in the Asia-Pacific region and they generated around US$ 326 billion in annual card sales volume.

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