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Keeping your head above water in a global recession became more than an analogy for Aircel. Their billboard, erected by outdoor agency Primesite near Mumbai’s Milan Subway, bore a large, inflated dinghy with the headline line, “In case of emergency, cut rope.” And on July 15, such an emergency did indeed arise when monsoon floods made the Milan Subway virtually impassable.

The rope was cut on Aircel’s billboard, the boat was released, and stranded pedestrians were ferried to safety. The result? Near constant local media attention for Aircel, even including the headline, “Aircel did what government agency BMC did not.” Reportedly, Aircel now plans to implement something similar in Delhi and Kolkata as well, according to afaqs.

Beyond generating free publicity, of course—glowing as it was—Aircel’s effort is also a prime example of the corporate generosity that’s increasingly being expected by today’s consumers

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