As the retailing sector in different business segments is taking baby steps in India, it is heartening to see how traditional and regional retailers have understood the efficiency of visual media and taken efforts to get the maximum mileage out of it. Pothys is a good example of such a retailer.
Pothys, with its creative agency Ideo-Praxist, has continuously evolved creative concepts that have attracted attention. A recent example is the in-store event termed the ‘April-May Dhool’. Generally speaking, summer is a season of average sales. To spruce up sales and to package the in-store ambience differently the idea of a ‘Rural Thiruvizha’ (rural festival) was conceived. Accordingly, the store was changed to give a feel of walking into a busy fair. The idea was basically to pamper the shopper with a lot of simple yet different freebies. Shoppers who stepped in were greeted with flowers and sweets. Then they could just stroll around and sit for a face painting session, check horoscopes, get their portraits done by an artist, meet up with a traveling magician and the other works that take place in a fair. An average of Rs 2 lakh was spent in a day for the event and other promotions during the months of April and May. B Chandrashekaran, Chief Executive, Ideo-Praxist, said, “The idea was to let the shopper have some fun, and the word-of-mouth impact the event generated was remarkable. Such ideas eventually become widely practiced once the response levels get noticed. We are doing it for the second time urged by the success of a similar event last year.”
Remarking on the event and ad initiatives, Ramesh, MD, Pothys, said: “ We have a floor area of 30,000 sq ft and so do most retail houses in Panagal Park. Nallis, Chennai Silks, RMKV and others also have a similair shop profile. So we had to do something new to pull the crowd into our showroom after which our service will convert the footfalls into buys. The event was one such communication tool that enabled us to increase the footfalls. On a normal day we have an average footfall of 8,000 and on festive seasons about 15,000. About 80% of this gets converted into buys. The event contributed to about 50% increase in footfalls and 20-25% increase in buys.”
How does Pothys bring in innovation during festive seasons, when every other retailer would be advertising? Replies Chandrashekar, “ We created a mascot to announce that we would be giving away free gifts for purchases during the festive season. We called our mascot `Pothys Raja’ and designed him to look like a `Raja’ (king) and later, when Christmas rolled in, we made some changes to the outfit of the mascot and made him a Santa who retained the look of our original mascot. At the time of Ramzan, we dressed him in a Moslem outfit. The mascot was a big hit and was responsible for strong brand recall.”
The primary mode of advertising for the group is television and outdoors. A recent television commercial used different ethnic colours and imagery to bring in the connect between silks and the different stages in a wedding. A woman portrayed in green silk against a background of betel leaves denoting engagement, red silk against a background of red roses denoting the actual wedding and white against a background of Jasmine to denote the first night, yellow silk against a background of turmeric denoting homecoming, was shot to reflect the different stages and moods of a wedding ritual with the rich feel of colour and texture. An effective technique termed ‘time slice’ is used here, which provides the rapid switch between fantasy and reality in the ad clip. The collection is termed as ‘Shubha Mangala Pattu’ (auspicious silks).
The more recent ad that took a peep through the history of Tanjore weaving through animations that simulate Tanjore Paintings won the RAPA Award for the television advertising category.
Established in 1930 to sell loom-woven cotton sarees and other attires, Pothys has now evolved as a strong regional retail player in silks and family wear. It has a six-storied showroom in Chennai and bears the tagline 'Aalayam of Silks’. Pothys also has retail showrooms in Srivilliputtur and Tirunelveli.