We have been growing triple-digit while landscape has been mostly flat or negative: Amit Agarwal, Amazon India

Post demonetisation, Amazon India had stopped their COD service for 48 hrs to allow the logistics team to stabilise their operation and adjust dealing with new notes

e4m by Sarmistha Neogy
Published: Dec 15, 2016 8:20 AM  | 4 min read
We have been growing triple-digit while landscape has been mostly flat or negative: Amit Agarwal, Amazon India

The sudden withdrawal of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from the Indian market led to a windfall across various sectors, e-commerce being one of them. Sales dipped initially as many companies withdrew their Cash on Delivery (COD) service owing to the paucity of cash in the hands of the consumers. But now slowly, things have started to fall in place, as more and more consumers are adapting to the digital mode of payments and with the host of exciting offers, each player has on plate.

Commenting on the impact of demonetisation on Amazon India, Amit Agarwal, Vice President and Country Manager from the company said,One of the things worth understanding is that consumers use cash in many cases because they don’t trust a service. On the other hand, Amazon has always been very focussed with customer experience over the last three years and have been rated as the most trusted brand. We already had a significant share of digital and prepaid payments on Amazon India. What demonetisation has helped to do is to push that even higher. So it has actually been great for us and we are seeing a lot of customers move away from cash to digital methods.”

Agarwal further spoke on the impact of the immediate withdrawal of COD post demonetisation, advertising budget if it will get affected, challenges in the Indian market for the e-commerce category and the initial response of Amazon Now.

Excerpts:

When you had stopped COD for 48 hours, did it impact your sales?

Yes absolutely it did impact our sales, when you stop COD for 48 hours, without any advance notice, the customer is bound to face some problem. But we did that so that our logistics team could stabilise their operations and get comfortable dealing with the new notes. Now we are back to normal.

Roughly, what is the percentage of transactions that is happening online as compared to cash after demonetisation?

We don’t share the mix, but from all what we heard, Amazon is very unique in their high share of digital payments added with fantastic service and customer trust.

What is your take on demonetisation and how will the e-commerce category benefit from it?

Personally I don’t have an insight on how demonetisation is impacting e-commerce, but I think the idea of a cashless society is noble and it is a right direction for consumers, businesses and for the country. It is a long term vision and I am looking forward to participate in it.  

Will there be a cut in the ad spends because of demonetisation?

We don’t really talk about our spends, but all I can tell you that every single quarter, we have been growing triple-digit year-on-year, even though the landscape has been mostly flat or negative. Personally this year, has been the most exciting year for Amazon India.

What has been the response of Amazon Now (2-hour delivery service that offers popular consumer products)?

The response has been really amazing; we have recently expanded Amazon Now out of Bangalore to Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. Customers love this service and we are quite excited about it.

What are the challenges which are still prevalent in the Indian market and how do you plan to overcome them?

I think e-commerce in India is at a very early phase. Our focus is how do we invest in infrastructure and innovation that makes it easier for any consumer or seller anywhere in India to shop online. It requires a lot of infrastructure build out, all the way from logistics, to payments, to seller training and that requires technology and hard infrastructure and that is what we are focussed on. This process is going to take many years and we are very early in the life cycle.

We have a very long term orientation when it comes to thinking about India, we are barely getting started and as I have often said, it is probably, not even minute one of day one. So you will continue to see us investing and adding, more selection on our platform, ensuring that we make it cost-efficient for our sellers to operate their businesses, so that they can offer great prices.

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Maaza’s new film with Amitabh, Nagarjuna & Pooja Hegde talks about kindness

The ‘Aam Wali Dildaari’ campaign has been conceptualized by Ogilvy India as a part of OpenX from WPP

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 1, 2023 2:50 PM   |   3 min read

maaza

Maaza, Coca-Cola India’s homegrown mango drink, has unveiled its new ‘Aam Wali Dildaari, Bina Naam Wali Dildaari’ campaign.

The latest campaign features veteran actor Amitabh Bachchan and renowned actress Pooja Hegde, along with south-Indian superstar Nagarjuna, recently on-boarded as the new face of the brand. With this new campaign, Maaza extends its spirit of benevolence and encourages anonymous acts of kindness to spread joy and happiness. The campaign further highlights the fulfilling mango experience that brings out one’s selfless personality.

Maaza has been sharing the goodness of rich and juicy Alphonso since 1976. Believing that true generosity seeks no credit, nor any reward or fame; through its latest campaign, Maaza urges its consumers to anonymously spread joy, with acts of compassion and generosity, the company said.

Announcing the launch of the new campaign, Ajay Konale, Director Marketing, Nutrition Category, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia said, “Maaza is a heritage Indian brand- since 1976 and has been India’s most loved mango drink for decades. The brand has become synonymous with the unparalleled taste of real mangoes and has witnessed phenomenal growth. Through our latest campaign ‘Aam Wali Dildaari, Bina Naam Wali Dildaari’, we aim to spread the message of true happiness and joy through selfless generosity, that seeks no reward or recognition. We are also humbled to have Mr. Bachchan, Ms. Pooja Hegde and Mr. Nagarjuna onboard with us to bring alive this philosophy of selfless generosity”

The light-hearted storytelling in the TVC depicts Amitabh Bachchan/Nagarjuna as a passionate Maaza lover while Pooja Hegde is an inquisitive kind citizen who loves to take part in social service activities. The two ad films portray the spirit of Indian citizens who like to indulge in the act of generosity by contributing to society. It also highlights the message of how true generosity comes with anonymity.

Pooja Hegde said, “I am proud to be associated with Maaza for over a year now. The brand’s philosophy of true generosity and acts of kindness is something I personally relate to. The brand brings nostalgia and takes me back to my childhood days of enjoying fresh mangoes and sharing joyous moments with my loved ones.”

This campaign has been conceptualized by Ogilvy India as a part of OpenX from WPP.

Commenting on the creative insight behind the campaign, Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy India says “This campaign brings out the beauty of anonymous generosity. The idea came from the insight on how even though culturally we are a land of generous people; we also love talking about it. But true generosity and happiness come through selfless, giving which is far sweeter. And that's what we should inculcate in our lives too. What better than having our brand ambassadors like Mr. Bachchan and Mr. Nagarjuna along with Ms. Pooja Hegde to spread this message.”

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boAt celebrates India’s indomitable spirit with a campaign

The campaign, titled Rock’In India campaign, narrates how we are ushering in a new era of ‘Make in India’ products

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 12:29 PM   |   2 min read

boAt

Audio and wearable brand boAt has released a new campaign titled Rock’In India. The film narrates how the country is ushering in a new era of ‘Make in India’ products, the power of Indian-ness and why it distinguishes us from the rest of the world.

“The brand is building an enabling ecosystem that will rapidly transform India into a manufacturing hub for new-generation wearables with minimal dependence on foreign countries. Defying the conventional norms, the homegrown brand boAt has manufactured more than 10 million (1 crore) products (wearables) in India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. The design & engineering prowess will establish the brand globally now,” the company said in a statement.

India's growth story has been made possible by the undefeated spirit of the people. boAt salutes individuals like Athlete Hima Das and more who are #BreakingStereotypes and driving #DoWhatFloatsYourboAt philosophy. The stereotypical beliefs expected from girls never restrained the 'Dhing Express', Hima Das an Indian sprinter from achieving her desires. She became the first Indian woman — indeed the first ever Indian athlete — to win a gold medal in any format of a global track event at IAAF World U20 Championships when she clocked a speed of 51.46 seconds.

The brand has also designed and published a unique & interactive print ad with a special QR code. To interact with it, readers can scan the QR code placed at the centre of the ad. Once activated, the creative ad draws attention to the power of Indian-ness and marks boAt’s 1 Crore ‘Made in India’ product milestone.

Aman Gupta, Co-founder, and Chief Marketing Officer at boAt said, “boAt has proved naysayers wrong by successfully undertaking the design, engineering, and manufacturing of wearables in India. Today, 90% of our wearables are manufactured in India. We are grateful to the Govt. for putting in the right policies and support system that is helping in upgrading and providing the catalyst needed for wearables growth in the country. With this campaign, we want to reinforce our commitment and will continue to invest in ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’.”

 

 

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A slow start to 2023 for the ad industry

While the year may have begun on a muted note for advertisers, the industry hopes that the IPL season infuses some momentum into the spends

By Naziya Alvi Rahman | Jan 31, 2023 8:31 AM   |   4 min read

slow start

With the festive season coming to an end and brands cutting their ad budgets, it’s not exactly the perfect beginning to a new year that media agencies had hoped for. Going by the industry veterans, there is a drop of up to 10-12% in the business in January. Experts say the real heat of a possible recession has started to show now as the festive season has officially come to an end.

“Factors like war, recession and drying up of funds have been on for quite some time but thanks to the festive season and, prior to that, events like T-20 World Cup and IPL we did not feel the heat so much. But now some brands have just completely withheld their spends and things look quite bleak for us in this quarter,” said a senior agency executive.

Most believe the tough times are going to last till the end of the first quarter. “We are pinning some hopes on IPL to bring back momentum into the spends but overall, even the event may get impacted due to the slowdown,” said another media planner.

Increase in cost of raw material

January 2023, when compared to the same month last year, has been significantly down. “Post Covid outbreak, January 2022 showed significant growth. That was the time all agencies made big predictions for the ad industry. No one had thought of a possible war hitting the world soon leading to an increase in raw material prices. Also, China is still struggling with Covid led pandemic which further has increased the cost of raw materials. All these factors have led to cautious behaviour forcing the industry to cut on ad budgets,” said another senior executive.

Experts believe both the FMCG and consumer durable sector is likely to get affected if the situation in China continues to worsen. “The companies are watching how the situation pans out in China once their festival season is over in early February. If the rise in infections persists leading to another lockdown or shutdown of factories, it is likely to impact raw material cost required for making televisions, smartphones, and summer appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators in the April-June quarter,” shared another expert.

More trouble for agencies with start-up clients

The drop is believed to be almost to the tune of 18-20%, for agencies that handle start-up clients. They have believed to cut their ad budgets almost to nil. “They were one of the bigger spenders until last year. Now that they are struggling to show a decent top line, they are cutting significantly on advertising budgets.”  

As per a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) there is a 52% decline in funding in CY22. 

“There is a market pullback by VC funds that are picky about their investments. Hence there is a drop in ad budgets,” said a marketer.
 
Recession fears

Recession fears have had a significant impact on the Indian media industry. “As companies and businesses face financial difficulties, they have reduced their advertising budgets, which is a major source of revenue for media companies. This has resulted in a decrease in overall ad spend on traditional media such as television, print and radio, as well as a shift towards more cost-effective forms of advertising, such as digital media,” shared a media planner.

Experts feared that in addition to the reduction in ad revenue, the recession may also lead to a decrease in consumer spending on media products and services, further exacerbating the financial challenges faced by the industry

“This is a challenging year for us ahead. Indian media companies may have to adapt to the new economic reality by finding ways to reduce costs, diversifying their revenue streams, and focusing on digital platforms. They may also have to be more creative and innovative in order to attract and retain customers,” added another media expert.

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Fujifilm India’s instax unveils ‘keep it alive’ campaign

The campaign has been launched in collaboration with Cheil India

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 30, 2023 4:07 PM   |   3 min read

fujifilm

Cheil India has launched a new campaign for Fujifilm India instax’ instant camera and printer range. The new campaign is headlined with the theme of “keep it alive” and showcases how instax photo print films can express everything in a hip way while also retaining the old-world charm of an actual print.

“The feel of a photo print is a different experience altogether which many today may not be familiar with. The joy of holding a print, using it in different ways, and keeping those as memoirs of moments is beautiful. We are looking for new ways to rekindle the love of physical photos and bring its relevancy in the collective consciousness of Gen Z. This campaign will help us with a 360-degree makeover and establish a connection with Gen Z whose lingo is photos hence the origin of Photo lingo. The idea is about a new photo lingo that can capture instax worthy moments in Gen Z life. The possibility of expanding the campaign is limitless,” said Arun Babu, General Manager, Electronic Imaging, Optical Device & Instax Division, Fujifilm India.

The campaign went live on all digital and social media platforms of FUJIFILM India and underlined the innovative use of photo print films to complete the expressions that we use. The idea is expanded further with a series of short films showcasing how instax instant cameras and films can play a defining role in creating memories of the special moments and preventing them from getting lost in a digital folder by keeping them alive.

Sticking to the core idea of bringing quirky, humorous moments to life through the instax photo lingo, the first film captures a family anniversary function where the Dad of the family mistakes another woman for his wife because she is in a similar attire. What follows is a mix of fun and embarrassing moments where his wife catches him in the act creating an instax worthy moment for the kids to capture.    

The second film captures a similar humourous moment that happens between a group of college friends at a Valentine’s Day bash. The film begins with two college students who are bragging to each other about a girl that they are interested in while waiting for her. They make fun of the 3rd character, their geeky friend, who casually enquires about her but are shocked seconds later when the girl reveals that she is dating him. What makes it even more interesting is that fact that one of braggarts is asked by the girl to click an instax photo of her with her boyfriend.

Talking about the idea of the films Devdas Nair, Creative Director, Cheil India said, “We devised a completely new photo lingo to carry the message in this campaign. This new lingo used instax print films to complete phrases and expressions that are commonly used in everyday life situations among our target audience of Gen-Z. This device created a fresh and interesting take on how photo prints say a lot beyond just the photo in the frame. It is a beautiful reminder of those special moments captured along with the stories of those involved.”

instax‘ #KeepItAlive campaign involves a series of short films along with digital media amplification using engaging posts, videos, and reels. The brand will also leverage retail, OTT, and OOH medium for this campaign.

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Tonic Worldwide wins digital mandate for Waman Hari Pethe

The account will be handled out of the agency’s Mumbai office

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 30, 2023 11:20 AM   |   1 min read

Tonic

Tonic Worldwide has won the digital mandate for Waman Hari Pethe, the Mumbai-based Jewellery brand with a legacy of 114 years.

Speaking on the new win, Chetan Asher, Co-founder & CEO, Tonic Worldwide, says, “We are excited to partner Waman Hari Pethe in its vision to reach the digital audience with WHP, the digital brand that will cater to the younger generation. This TG is increasingly getting more interested in the category.  With our digital first approach to brands and the understanding of e-commerce funnels, we wish to put the brand in the TG’s top consideration. Our specialist arms GIPSI, Twip and Yellow Labs will play an important role along with our Media expertise in realising this vision.”

On the collaboration, Dr. Aditya Pethe says, “With this new venture we are looking at creating an online brand identity for WHP Jewellers that will have pan-India resonance. Our aim is to expand The Waman Hari brand to include a larger group of patrons especially the younger generation through relatable and trending content. We are looking forward to this new journey.”

The account will be handled out of the agency’s Mumbai office.

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Mascot Monday: The Lijjat Rabbit's hop to fame

How the co-op created a long-lasting legacy with its buck-toothed superstar

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 30, 2023 9:06 AM   |   4 min read

Lijjat

An anthropomorphic bunny enjoying papads in the company of humans may seem like something out of a fever dream. But ask any millennial or a gen xer and they will tell you about one of the most perplexing yet fascinating ads of their youth. In the early 80s, plucky little co-op and a master puppeteer came together to create one of the most unforgettable mascots India had ever seen -- the Lijjat Rabbit.

In today's edition of Mascot Mondays, we pay tribute to Lijjat's leporine superstar who made us look forward to commercial breaks and got us excited about the humble papad.



The rabbit's tale

A brand synonymous with "papads" in India, Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad is a success story in more ways than one. It's an enduring symbol of female entrepreneurship and empowerment, raking in upwards of $224 million in revenue yearly. Its immaculate success model notwithstanding, Lijjat also owes a part of its success to its brilliant ad campaigns and its unforgettable mascot.

Prior to 1980, Lijjat believed that the best promotion was through word of mouth. The co-op rather focuses on the quality of the product than spending huge amounts on ads.

However, its success also made way for many fraudsters to sell fake Lijjat papads in the market. To counter the menace, the company felt it was perhaps time to go big on branding. Lijjat's packaging already had a trademark picture of a boy eating papad, but the co-op wanted more.

Actor Appi Umrani worked closely with Lijjat and was determined to shoot an ad for the co-op on a modest budget. Impressed by ventriloquist Ramdas Padhye, who performed on Doordarshan with his puppet Ardhavatrao, Umrani approached the puppeteer to gauge his interest in creating a character for the Lijjat.

Padhye, who initially pitched middle-class human characters for the ad, was convinced that a bunny muppet would do the trick. However, the folks at Lijjat needed convincing. "Why would a rabbit eat papad?" was the question.

A few days later, Padhye hauled a big bunny muppet to the Lijjat office. The large anthropomorphic rabbit with white fur, beady eyes and buck teeth wore a satin green bow over a black vest. Only after seeing the ventriloquist's creation, did the Lijjat executives agree to cast the mascot.


Muppet becomes a star

As bizarre as the concept of a papad-munching bunny was in theory, in practice, it was a hit. As soon as the ad was aired, viewers were instantly captivated by the muppet.

Padhye, who voiced the Lijjat bunny, also gave him a distinct "eh he he" laughter, which went on to become iconic in its own right.

After his successful TV debut, the bunny was inducted onto the Lijjat packaging right next to its original mascot "Babla", and the muppet has stayed put on the cover ever since.

The amazing Lijjat Papad story: from Rs 80 to Rs 800 crore

He even went on to wed Mrs Bunny who has also appeared in commercials alongside her husband. Eventually, the family grew and the Bunnys welcomed a baby bunny.

Abhijit Dey on Twitter:
In 2003, actress and model Shweta Tiwari had the honour of starring alongside the rabbit couple in a Lijjat ad.






While most millennials and gen xers have fond memories of the muppet, some were terrified of the giant bunny. An unintended consequence of the ad was that it stoked fear in the minds of kids. Pupaphobia or fear of puppets arises from their uncanny life-like appearance that makes people feel uncomfortable. Some also blamed the rabbit's giggle as a trigger. Redditors discussing Indian nostalgia on the forum have described the bunny as a "demon rabbit", "creepy" and "straight from hell."

That aside, it can't be denied that the giant rabbit bunny from the papad commercial is one of the greatest ad legacies of India. Despite being on a shoestring budget, Lijjat created for itself a mascot that ensures great brand recall decades after its debut.

Every time we see him on TV, the Lijjat Bunny leaves us jonesing for some crispy papads and tempting us to sing along to "kharram khurram."

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Dabur Amla urges all to break hairstyle stereotyping

Created and conceptualised by Dabur Amla and Schbang, the campaign #StrongHairStrongerYou shines light on the societal labelling of women based on their hairstyle

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 29, 2023 10:00 AM   |   2 min read

dabur amla

The way a woman wears her hair says a lot about her. Or does society read too much into it? Why is a clean, sleek hairstyle considered the trait of a bossy woman?

“This year, Dabur Amla Hair Oil challenges the stereotype. For decades, multiple labels and connotations have been attached to how women choose to wear their hair. The brand roped in Priya Malik, actor and poet, to put focus on the societal labelling that paints women in a negative light,” the company said.

With the launch of the campaign #StrongHairStrongerYou, Dabur Amla reminds women that their hair is a measure of their strength and not a judgement of their character. It implores viewers to look beyond the stereotypes and opens a healthy dialogue to reinforce the women in their lives positively.

Commenting on the campaign, Ankur Kumar, GM-Marketing, Hair Care from Dabur said, “Dabur Amla has been a trusted hair oil brand with 80+ years of legacy. It has always been fuelled by a mission to empower women to be confident about themselves backed by strong and beautiful hair. Through this campaign, we have taken this conversation forward encouraging women to own and embrace their true selves through strong hair and a strong spirit and not get bogged down by what the outside world might have to say about them”.

Ayush Rathod, Associate Vice President from Schbang said, “The role of women in the evolving dynamics of the world, make campaigns like these the need of the hour. Leveraging Dabur Amla’s core value of ‘strength’, it was a fulfilling experience to extract a meaningful conversation out of it that drives a behavioural shift in the society and empowers the women of today and tomorrow. Lastly, It’s heartening to see a legacy brand like Dabur Amla evolving with time and reinforcing its commanding voice in the hair oil category with Schbang’’.

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