WhatsApp has been a lifeline to many during this lockdown: Avinash Pant, Facebook India

Avinash Pant, Director - Marketing at Facebook India, shares insights on WhatsApp’s first India campaign, user data safety, India as a market and more

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jul 4, 2020 12:18 PM
Avinash Pant

As WhatsApp launches its first India campaign ‘It’s Between You’ on Saturday, Avinash Pant, Director - Marketing at Facebook India, tells exchange4media how important the market is for the American tech giant.

“WhatsApp has the potential to help accelerate India's ability to be a digitally inclusive society and we hope to play a strong role in advancing awareness and adoption of digital tools. WhatsApp remains deeply committed to serving the people of India with a secure platform that helps connect loved ones and businesses with their customers,” he said.

Pant spoke to exchange4media about the campaign, WhatsApp’s commitment towards the safety of their user’s data, India as a market and more.

Edited excerpts:

Tell us about the 'It’s Between You' campaign. Is there any particular reason why you chose to launch the campaign in India now?

The ‘It’s Between You’ campaign captures real stories on how Indians are using WhatsApp with their closest relationships in an intimate way. Privacy gives people the ability to communicate as their true selves. When privacy is deeply felt, relationships feel more intimate and real. That is what comes through in these ads. This is true especially true during this time of physical distancing when WhatsApp has been a lifeline to many during this lockdown.

At a time when privacy is being thoroughly discussed at every level across sectors, what is WhatsApp doing to ensure that the data of its 400 million plus users in India are secure?

Respect for our users’ privacy is coded into our DNA - we remain committed to helping connect the world privately and protect personal communication in India and over the world. 

Every private message sent using WhatsApp is secured with end-to-end encryption by default and strong encryption is a necessity in modern life as more of our lives move online. We believe that your private conversations deserve to stay where they should and that’s between you.

Our privacy policy document is on the open forum and can be accessed by anybody to learn more about what we do at WhatsApp to ensure data security and privacy.

How did you manage to put together a campaign in the lockdown when most people are working from home? Are there similar campaigns being launched for other markets?

The fact that people can feel connected in a personal and private way while separated across distances is the very essence of WhatsApp. Shooting these films remotely was definitely a new and a challenging experience for everyone involved. Shot in the early days of lockdown, the production happened remotely following utmost standards of safety and precaution. This meant casting had to be done keeping in mind that the actors and the cinematographers who lived together, so no one from outside would enter the premises. The rest of the family members became hair, make-up and costume assistants. This also meant a new language at the shoot itself - for the first time we heard, “Action, Mumma” instead of just “Action”. The client's agency and even the director supervised the shoot through a WhatsApp video call, just as they conducted the pre-production meetings (PPM) and the presentations.

We ran similar ads in Brazil.

Who's your exact TG for the campaign? How do you plan to promote it? Is digital going to be the only means to spread the word or are you going the traditional way too?

The campaign is aimed at all users of WhatsApp - irrespective of where they’re from or what language they speak. Over the course of the campaign these films will be available in Hindi and several other regional languagesIt will run for 10 weeks, across India on a diverse number of media platforms where our consumers are. These include Facebook and Instagram, TV, OTT and other Digital Mediums (YouTube etc.)

You have doubled your user count in India in about two and half years. What is the next milestone for India? How important is it as a market when it comes to monetization? Tell us about your plans for the Indian market?

WhatsApp has over 400 million users in India who are using our private messaging platform to connect with people that matter - whether its friends, family, doctors, lawyers and many more. We want to provide an experience that both people and businesses find valuable, and one that helps create strong relationships. WhatsApp has the potential to help accelerate India's ability to be a digitally inclusive society and we hope to play a strong role in advancing awareness and adoption of digital tools. WhatsApp remains deeply committed to serving the people of India with a secure platform that helps connect loved ones and businesses with their customers.

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