Home >Industry >Flipkart takes to new-age advertising to drive next phase of growth

New Delhi: Flipkart, the poster boy of Indian e-commerce, is changing the way it speaks to consumers as more and more Indians come on the digital platform to shop. This is the second big change in its communication exercise after 2015 when the company unveiled the tagline “Har wish hogi poori" (every wish will get fulfilled) which has now been changed to a more inclusive “Naye India ke saath" (With new India).

The e-tailer stated that it wants to be seen as a new-age company which is reflecting the way India is changing socially and culturally through its advertising. Taking the first step towards the change is the new digital campaign titled Penguin Dads talking about co-parenting. Made by digital advertising agency Dentsu Webchutney, the video shows dads choosing to do it all for their children from braiding hair, changing diapers to singing lullabies while finding a work-life balance to spend more time with them.

“At Flipkart, we are in the middle of the brand ethos change. We have done a lot in the brand journey but now we are looking into whether our advertising has a human connect. The role Flipkart plays in consumers’ life has to be defined. Flipkart has given the access, variety and affordability to consumers especially in smaller towns and now we want to be a part of this evolving progressive new India. The Penguin Dads is our first step towards it. Our advertising will have substantial human gravitas and a social connect going forward," said Apurva Sethi, director, Flipkart.

The ads, the company stated, will now have individual themes which will break social and cultural stereotypes.

“We wanted to celebrate the new generation of young Indian dads who are doing their bit, to break the gender roles that have existed in parenting for decades. The client brief was to identify the right creative hook to kickstart the conversation around these fathers, and through them, inspire many more," said P.G. Aditiya, senior creative director, Dentsu Webchutney.

The progressive narrative will not just be limited to the digital platform but will also be extended to mainline advertising which is handled by ad agency Lowe Lintas.

“A lot has changed about India and Indians over the last decade from the way we shop, date, travel, to pretty much everything. Due to increased data penetration and accessibility, the online brands have been a huge catalyst for this change. Flipkart has a deep understanding of the Indian consumer and has created solutions which help Indians live progressive lives and has played a major role in this transformation. So, as a natural corollary of this, the brand would be looking at multiple ways of engaging with this progressive Indian consumer," said Hari Krishnan, president, South, Lowe Lintas.

Currently, Lowe Lintas is working on an integrated mainline campaign focused on progressive Indian consumer which is expected to be released soon. While the new narrative will seep through every Flipkart communication, the brand will retain its popular “kids as adults" series of campaign which was first introduced in 2011.

Launched in 2007 as an online book store, Flipkart awarded its creative mandate to Bengaluru-based independent ad agency Happy Creative Services (now called Happy mcgarrybowen and a part of Dentsu Aegis Network) in 2010. Its flagship “kids as adults" series of campaign debuted in 2011, promoting services like cash on delivery (COD), ease of online shopping and easy returns. In 2014, the company adopted dual agency policy and brought Lowe Lintas on board for handling its mainline advertising. The company took a break from the “kidults" themes and brought celebrities like Amole Palekar to promote easy returns/exchange.

In 2015, Flipkart refreshed its logo and in 2016 brought back the “kidults" series to ensure quick brand recall. The e-commerce category was then witnessing intense competition between Snapdeal (which had Bollywood actor Aamir Khan as brand ambassador), Flipkart and Amazon spending big ad money to woo consumers. While Snapdeal has faded away from the e-commerce battle, global giant Amazon India continues to challenge Flipkart’s position by creating advertising deeply seated in core Indian insights in campaigns such as Aur Dikhao (promoting Indians love for variety) and Apni Dukaan (pitching Amazon as the neighbourhood shop).

According to Bindu Sethi, chief strategy officer at advertising agency JWT India, brands should be aware of the constantly changing environment in which they operate, while keeping a close eye on competition. “But they must not lose their individuality which has differentiated them from players like Amazon. While I agree that progressive advertising is a lovely space to be in but it is equally crowded. Flipkart advertising has been unique laced with its characteristic humour and fun quotient. I hope they don’t lose that and must continue with the popular ‘kidults’ series. I wish the Penguin Dads campaign also retained the authentic Flipkart humour which I personally enjoy," she said.

Saurabh Uboweja, brand expert and chief executive of brand consulting firm Brands Of Desire, said that although the new strategy by Flipkart is interesting but the brand has to work hard to find new insights because every other brand is doing progressive advertising. “I also feel that since Flipkart is targeting the next set of consumers who are coming online they have to simplify their advertising if they want to build loyalty. For instance, I did not realise that Penguin Dads is a Flipkart ad, it was way too confusing and lacked brand connect. Unlike Amazon which has cracked the localisation narrative, I think Flipkart’s communication is high on creativity but lacks emotional connect which they need to work on," he added.

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