The much-awaited brand transition for Hutchison-Essar, India's fourth-largest mobile service provider, is expected to be kicked off in the next three or four days.
And contrary to expectations, the new name will not be a hybrid but just Vodafone, reflecting the majority ownership of the world's largest telecom company.
Vodafone's worldwide CEO Arun Sarin will be visiting India to launch the transition from the deep pink logo to Vodafone's trademark deep red speech mark in the 16 circles in which the service provider operates. The speech mark logo was introduced only in 1998.
Vodafone acquired 67 per cent in the company from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa some months ago for an enterprise value of $12 billion. The campaign, which is expected to be in the form of a simple announcement, especially print, has been undertaken by Ogilvy & Mather, the agency that worked on the popular Hutchison-Essar campaign with a pug dog.
As part of a Rs 300-crore advertising blitz, Vodafone has booked virtually all the ad slots on Star TV for September 20. Star sells 10 minutes of commercial time per hour.
There has also been some bulk booking on other channels like Sony TV. Vodafone will spend Rs 8.5 crore across Star channels and around Rs 5 crore on Sony Entertainment Television on the first day.
This apart, it has signed a bulk deal for nearly Rs 30 crore with Star for two months, according to media buying sources.
Star executives confirmed the bulk bookings, about which Sony declined to comment. When contacted, Asim Ghosh, MD of Vodafone-Essar, merely said: "We will comment at the appropriate time."
However, sources close to the Ruias, which own 33 per cent in the company, confirmed the development and said that the roll-out would take place in a few days. However, the date of September 20 had not been finalised, they added.
Hutchison-Essar itself went through a major brand transition a few years ago from its popular Orange brand to Hutch which was supported by an advertising blitz.