Paytm seeks to cash in on demonetization with advertising blitz

With Rs.600 crore allocated for branding and marketing in 2016-17, Paytm is leaving no stone unturned to milk the demonetization opportunity


Admen and branding gurus feel that while Paytm has created trust among consumers in a rather risky sector like payments, the firm must exercise caution when it comes to the tonality of its current campaigns. Photo: Bloomberg
Admen and branding gurus feel that while Paytm has created trust among consumers in a rather risky sector like payments, the firm must exercise caution when it comes to the tonality of its current campaigns. Photo: Bloomberg

New Delhi: Cashing in on the opportunity of demonetization of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes, mobile commerce firm Paytm has launched a full-fledged marketing campaign to promote its cashless payment option. Paytm is run by One97 Communications Ltd.

One of the early movers in the cashless payment space, Paytm, founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma, sprang into action immediately after the demonetization on 8 November, releasing full-page print ads congratulating the Prime Minister, with a word play on its tagline ‘Ab ATM nahin, #Paytm karo.’

Paytm simultaneously simplified the method of using the app for the new users.

With Rs.600 crore allocated for branding and marketing in 2016-17, Paytm is leaving no stone unturned to milk the opportunity. The marketing plan designed by the company along with its agency on record, McCann Delhi, was implemented when the firm on 12 November rolled out television commercials ‘Drama band karo, Paytm karo’ (Stop being melodramatic, use Paytm) which featured a visibly angry woman talking about the hardships that demonetization has created especially for daily wage workers or household helps who are often paid in cash.

The campaign miffed a section of social media users after which the firm tweaked it changing the tagline to ‘Chinta nai, Paytm karo’ (Do not worry, use Paytm). Currently, the upgraded ad campaign is being run across television channels with ads featuring different content.

“The Paytm ads creatively depict how our cashless payment solution can come as a great relief as millions of Indians run out of cash. The video essentially highlights Paytm’s strong product benefits and drives the message of financial inclusion,” said Shankar Nath, senior vice president, Paytm.

Admen and branding gurus feel that while Paytm has created trust among consumers in a rather risky sector like payments, the firm must exercise caution when it comes to the tonality of its current campaigns. “The brand will be enthusiastic because a huge opportunity has fallen in its lap. I think it’s all about finding the appropriate restraint to be able to deal with it without coming across as over-eager. Paytm is a strong brand because it provides a real utility,” said Santosh Desai, chief executive officer (CEO) of Future Brands.

Desai’s observation is in line with the unprecedented growth numbers of Paytm. Currently, the platform claims to have 150 million wallet users with five million transactions a day and is on the way to processing over Rs.24,000 crore of transactions by the end of this fiscal year.

“The company registered a 700% increase in overall traffic and 1000% growth in the amount of money added to the Paytm account over the last couple of days. During this period, the transaction value continued to be 200% of the average ticket size while the number of app downloads went up 300%. The number of transactions per user also went up from three transactions to over 18 transactions in a week,” said Paytm’s Nath.

With over 850,000 offline merchants using Paytm across India, Paytm’s communication is also looking to target daily wage workers such as electricians or plumbers with a do-it-yourself (DIY) print ad. This is a target group which wasn’t the focus for the company up until now.

Paytm’s marketing journey started in 2014 when it came out with its first television campaign. Its first major ‘Paytm Karo’ campaign was launched in April 2015 after the platform became the associate sponsor for the Indian Premier League, the popular Twenty20 cricket tournament. Subsequently in July 2015, Paytm won the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s title sponsorship rights for four years for over Rs.200 crore.

Since then, the company has been investing heavily across print, broadcast and digital media to reach out to its consumer base. With over 80% of its users between 18-34 year olds, the top ten markets for the firm include Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Jaipur, among others.

“India is an overly cash dependent country which needs to change. I would strongly suggest any move that a brand makes to help consumer move from cash to card. I’m surprised that none of the credit card companies have leveraged this golden opportunity (demonetization),” said Ambi M.G. Parameswaran, brand strategist and founder of Brand-Building.com.

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