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Home  /  Strategy  /  Ad Break  / Late Again? | JAN 09 , 2018

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Late Again?
You can get where you want to in time, if only you look before you leave, says Google Maps

Somdyuti Datta Ray

Everybody has that one friend, who says he’s only five minutes away, but inevitably arrives half an hour later. And the culprit more often than not is an inescapable traffic jam. Now that is an excuse that’s almost always believable. However, there is a way we can avoid this all by just timing our travel better and Google Maps emphasises just that in its latest edition of the ‘Look before you leave’ campaign.

Initially launched in November 2016, the search engine major used a desi situation wherein traffic at an intersection in this cricket-loving country comes to a standstill outside a TV showroom during a live match. Extending the strategy of displaying a local scenario for its current campaign released late last year, Google plays on the casual ‘Bas paanch minute’ line that many of us use even though we’re further away.

Sure, a small lie about how soon you’ll reach a location never hurt anyone. But Google spares no effort to emphasise that in fact one small lie about your arrival could spiral into a series of delays. Be it a pilot who earns the wrath of his co-captain for delaying departure that leads the aircraft to the back of a long queue to the runway or the mother of a groom who’s berating a florist for a late delivery.

“We tapped into the cultural norm of saying ‘bas paanch minute’ to show the impact an individual’s delay can have on a broader group. What works well for this campaign is its focus on human stories that reflect on everyday scenarios,” says Sapna Chadha, marketing director, Google India and South-East Asia.

Of course, avoiding traffic is only half the story. Lowe Lintas’ chairman Arun Iyer thinks it is more about people’s casualness, and India’s unpredictable traffic condition, which only add to our woes but can be rectified by just checking the app for an update. He elaborates, “One late arrival triggers a series of delays. It’s a domino effect. People blame the traffic, but that’s not the culprit. The lack of planning is the real reason.”

Call it an advertisement that promotes punctuality or the product’s indispensability, we could take all the help we get to reach our destination on time by a quick check on Google Maps. 

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