Agility, adaptability & technology important in crisis time: Oliver Mirza, Dr. Oetker

Mirza, Managing Director & CEO for Dr. Oetker in India & SAARC countries, tells us how the company connected with consumers and encouraged them to don the apron and wield the ladle during the lockdown

e4m by Simran Sabherwal & Sanstuti Nath
Published: Jul 7, 2020 8:42 AM  | 6 min read

The three-month long lockdown saw an increase in in-home cooking & dining. This certainly led to a surge in the demand of products like pizza sauces, mayonnaise, and sandwich spreads. Dr. Oetker, a popular brand in this category, too witnessed greater demand for its offerings. Oliver Mirza, Managing Director & CEO for Dr. Oetker in India & SAARC countries, tells us how the company adapted its working model and how it connected with consumers and encouraged them to don the apron and wield the ladle during the lockdown


Initial trends post lockdown showed there is an increase in consumption of packaged food items. How have the products in the Dr Oetker’s portfolio performed? Which product was the outperformer?

After an initial hiccup, we witnessed an increase in demand for some of our retail packs. As in-home cook & dine is on the rise, more and more consumers are experimenting with western food at home. Hence, retail packs of our pizza sauces, mayonnaise, and sandwich spreads have seen a surge.
In times of uncertainty, consumers rely on the brands they trust. Dr. Oetker is a trusted brand since 1891, and FunFoods was established nearly 40 years ago. Our responsibility during this time was to be consistently available at retail shelves for consumers.
For us, the best performers have been some individual mayonnaise jars, which saw a jump of around 50 per cent and select pizza sauces, which grew by up to 80 per cent.

During the lockdown, people experimented with home cooking. How has this helped in the sales/revenues, particularly when it comes to your range of sauces and spreads?

With restaurants shut for dine-in and ordering-in at an all-time low, in-home cook & dine has seen a massive surge during the lockdown period. Consumers wish to prepare tasty dishes that are easy to make such as pizzas, sandwiches, pasta, and wraps. These dishes also bring families together over food. More and more consumers are using our range of sauces and spreads as they enable them to prepare these western and indo-western dishes at home with ease. It is reflected in the increased demand for our range of mayonnaise, sandwich spread, and pizza sauces.

Production and distribution was impacted due to the lockdown. How did Dr. Oetker overcome the challenge?

It was an important step to announce the lockdown in March to slow the spread of the virus. Post the announcement, our plant was shut for a few days. After receiving necessary permissions, we restarted operations with less than one-third of the workforce for limited hours, as mandated by the government. Since then, we are operating special buses with social distancing protocols for employees. Thermal screening, regular sanitization, and social distancing are a part of standard operating procedures. We even sanitize shoes of every employee before they enter the production area. We have also taken a conscious call to only produce SKUs with a focus on broad shopper appeal and necessity.
As the movement of goods was also restricted throughout the country, it was difficult to acquire raw material as well as manage logistics. Even for finished goods, movement was a challenge. Our objective was to keep the supply chain going and ensure smooth operation of the plant. During this time, several consignees, distributors, and retailers have gone out of their way to ensure the availability of products on retail shelves. Our constant endeavour is to support the retailers, so we introduced a hotline number and an exclusive app for them to access us directly and place orders. We also reached retail outlets via B2B platforms like Udaan and Gram Factory. During this time, everyone pitched in with their bit - most of our workforce was working from home; we encouraged them to take orders on the phone or if they stepped out to buy groceries. Initially, servicing orders was a challenge, but we eventually managed to fulfil every order.

What was the insight behind the ‘What’s in your fridge’ campaign? What has been the consumer response?

Social media is an integral part of our consumer engagement strategy, and during this unprecedented time, it has become even more crucial. With more time at hand during the lockdown, social media consumption of relevant content went up significantly.
Our strategy on social media has been to engage with the audience and connect them to our repertoire of easy-to-do tasty recipes. During the lockdown, we rolled out an Instagram campaign titled, ‘What’s in your fridge?’ to help consumers with convenient and tasty recipes from the ingredients available in their fridge. We asked our followers to share the list of readily available ingredients through the ‘Ask Me Anything’ feature on Instagram. Our in-house chef then worked on easy-to-do recipes to be shared on Instagram stories. We also featured pictures of the most exciting dishes prepared by consumers on our channel.
Our audience received the campaign very well and it emerged as one of our best organic campaigns with an engagement rate of over 90 per cent.

What were the key learnings when it came to consumer engagement during this period?
It is essential for brands to engage with consumers meaningfully, even more so during times of a crisis. During this time, it is critical to listen to consumers and understand their requirements, to be able to provide relevant content.
During the lockdown, our objective was to engage with our audience and provide them easy to do recipes with our range of products. We rolled out ‘What’s in Your Fridge?’ campaign on Instagram, aimed at providing a solution to consumers’ everyday problem - ‘How can I make exciting food with basic ingredients at home?’ We also provided a platform for consumers to showcase their talent by sharing the most exciting recipes made by them on our social media channels.

As a leader, what are the three key takeaways for you from this crisis?
Key takeaways for us during this time:
Agility- Under crisis, it is essential to be agile and make faster decisions.

Adaptability- Adaptability is important as it gives power to adjust according to changing circumstances.

Digitalisation- It is crucial to adapt to new technologies and solutions continuously. The crisis has fast-tracked our digitalisation efforts, which will help us grow the market in the future.

These are unprecedented times, something that most of us have never seen in our lifetime. You cannot use your learnings from the past and implement them for instant success. It is important to be flexible and rapidly adopt new technologies to be able to deal with constantly changing circumstances.

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Pinkvilla Style Icons Awards set to return for 2nd edition on 7th April, 2023

The hottest red-carpet event, which garnered a reach of 1 billion in its maiden edition in 2022, is ready to shine brighter than ever in its second edition

By Native Content | Feb 1, 2023 11:31 AM   |   4 min read

Pinkvilla Style Icons Awards

Global mega lifestyle and entertainment media hub Pinkvilla is back with the second edition of its uber-stylish Pinkvilla Style Icons awards! The sizzling second season of the awards, which honor India's greatest style stalwarts across industries like film, television, business, sports, and fashion, will be held on 7th April 2023, at JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu. The second edition of the wildly popular celebrity event will take place in April of this year, and it promises to be the height of glitz and refinement, complete with the most alluring red-carpet attire and glittering performances.

Pinkvilla recorded a footprint of over 1 billion across the internet and social media during the maiden edition of Pinkvilla Style Icons, which premiered on June 16, 2022. The awards ceremony acknowledged India's top style icons from a variety of sectors, including film, television, business, sports, fashion, and many more! It was highly praised for its ultra-chic setting and VIP attendee register. Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar, Kartik Aaryan, Kriti Sanon, Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, Sidharth Malhotra, Shikhar Dhawan, Ayushmann Khurrana, Arjun Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Janhvi Kapoor, Masaba Gupta, and Parineeti Chopra were the winners amongst the many crowned as the country’s style idols.

Here’s a glimpse of the first edition of Pinkvilla Style Icons – the ultimate celebration of glitz, glamour, and unparalleled style with the industry’s leading lights, that amassed a whopping reach of 1 billion: 

The glamorous gala truly made a thunderous splash, garnering over 8 million interactions, about 8 million likes, over 60 thousand shares, and nearly 30 thousand mentions across social media platforms. Quickly becoming the talk of the town, the event set a new benchmark for awards shows in the country, featuring some of the freshest celebrity red-carpet looks. Taking the internet by storm, the event was also extensively covered by the media and the night’s celebrity guests on social media, with the country's leading publications sharing all the night’s updates.

The maiden edition of PSI set the stage for several iconic viral moments of the year 2022

The second Pinkvilla Style Icons event is already creating a lot of excitement and buzz, and it promises to be a memorable evening for the nation's brightest superstars and icons!

Speaking on the launch of the second edition, Nandini Shenoy, Founder & CEO, Pinkvilla stated, "As we start a new year and get ready for the highly anticipated second edition of Pinkvilla Style Icons awards, we look back with great pride on the success of the previous edition. Pinkvilla Style Icons is a special asset for us that symbolizes our ongoing dedication to expansion and diversification. We are sure that this year's awards ceremony will further establish our reputation as one of India's first digital entertainment and lifestyle platforms and highlight our accomplishments in the high-profile events industry. We'll keep pushing the envelope and establishing new benchmarks as we go along, not just for Indian events but also for other innovative creative ventures.”

Mukul Kumar Sharma, COO, Pinkvilla added, “The first edition of Pinkvilla Style Icons awards in 2022 was a huge success for us; it went on to become one of the most enduring award events in recent memory and marked a significant turning point in our growth story. Setting new standards for the media, entertainment, and events industries, its success represents not just our entry into the high-profile events market but also our commitment to development and innovation. We are optimistic that the second edition in April this year, which will bring together some of India's most illustrious personalities and platforms to celebrate style like never before, will be even greater than the first..”

The brand recently celebrated the grand success of the first edition of Creators United, India’s first and biggest experiential creators’ festival on January 15th and 16th, in the ultimate dream destination, Goa. The two-day event, held by Pinkvilla in collaboration with India’s leading influencer marketing agency, Mad Influence saw India's biggest content creators and influencers from different walks of life coming under one roof. The collective digital reach of attendees of the event was close to a whopping 900 million, which is almost thrice the population of the U.S.A.

This is a marketing initiative by Pinkvilla.

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Adscholars enters strategic partnership with Kidoz to sell inventory in India exclusively

Native Content: The partnership will allow Kidoz to scale its business solutions in India in addition to other markets

By Native Content | Feb 1, 2023 10:01 AM   |   2 min read

Ad Scholars

Adscholars has partnered with Kidoz, a leading COPPA & GDPR compliant contextual mobile advertising network that safely reaches over million kids, teens, and families every month. The partnership will allow Kidoz to scale its business solutions in India in addition to other markets. Adscholars is unlocking a strategic market with this emerging partnership in India.

By leveraging Adscholars' programmatic expertise, Kidoz will be able to offer multiple activation options and unique experiences to consumers on their preferred platforms. Kidoz is a global leader in monetization for publishers and their unique monetization solution enables app publishers to safely monetize their apps with relevant ads. 

The mobile adtech developer’s leading SDK platform and direct programmatic connections reach over 400 million kids, teens, and families monthly across 5000+ apps. Kidoz Contextual Ad Network helps the world's largest brands such as Mattel, Lego, Crayola, and many more safely reach and engage kids across top apps all over the world. With this platform, brands can reach out to Young dads and Moms to promote their products, especially focusing on FMCG brands.

Adscholars’ CEO Srikanth Rayaprolu said, "We are delighted to introduce innovative adtech solutions to the Indian market. We have partnered with Kidoz in the other markets for quite some time and the advertisers' response to the campaigns has been phenomenal.”

“Kidoz provides unique ad inventory for brands to showcase their ads to children between the age group of 4 years to 16 years. Additionally, this inventory allows brands to reach out to young parents too. We’re truly excited about the future with the launch of the Kidoz ad inventory in the Indian market,” he added.

Eldad Ben Tora, President and GM EMEA at Kidoz Inc. said, "India represents one of the largest growth potential audience segments in the Kidoz network and we are excited to partner with the Adscholars team, whose leadership, proven track record with the Kidoz product, and awareness and expertise of the Indian advertising market will bring the Kidoz Network to leading marketers looking for innovative ways to reach kids and parents."

This is a marketing initiative by Adscholars.

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Dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2023 to be unveiled on February 2

The event will have a stellar line-up of insightful sessions by industry leaders on the theme ‘Creating Value In The Web3 Digital Economy’

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 1, 2023 7:45 AM   |   3 min read


The digital landscape continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, helping companies to become more innovative, sustainable and resilient. The rapid internet penetration and adoption of digital media have opened various ways for interaction, creating huge opportunities to tap into the uncharted arena of digital space in newer ways. To highlight the significant trends in the digital domain, Dentsu and exchange4media Group have once again come together to launch the 7th Edition of the Dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2023. The report will be unveiled on February 2 at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai by Divya Karani, Media Chief Executive Officer, dentsu South Asia, Vinod Thadani, Chief Digital Growth Officer, dentsu Media & CEO iProspect, Abheek Biswas, AVP Consumer Insights, DENTSU CREATIVE India. The event is co-powered by Criteo, Bobble AI is the co-gold partner while Lemma is the lanyard partner.

Dentsu, one of the leading global media conglomerates in India, specialises in Media, Digital and Creative offerings. The unveiling of the report will be followed by insightful conversations where industry leaders will come together to discuss the opportunities and future of digital under the Theme ‘Creating Value In The Web3 Digital Economy’.
The conference will kickstart with a welcome address by Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld and Founder, exchange4media and Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder, exchange4media following which the much-awaited Dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2023 will be unveiled. Divya Karani, Vinod Thadani and Abheek Biswas will share the key insights of the report and highlight the significant trends of 2022-23 and real-time facts and figures pertaining to the entire digital domain.

The event will showcase a stellar line-up of insightful sessions by speakers throughout the day. Rob Gilby, CEO, dentsu APAC, will deliver a keynote address on the topic- ‘Creating value in the Web3 digital Economy’. Following this, will be the first panel discussion on the topic ‘India digital stack for technology and creativity in the new digital economy’. The panellists are Gagan Singla, MD, blinkX by JM Financial, Prasad Pimple, Executive Vice President & Head of Digital Business Unit, Kotak Life, Medhavi Singh, Head of Enterprise - India, Criteo, Abhijit Shah, Head Marketing, Digital & Customer Experience, ICICI Prudential AMC. The session will be moderated by Rashmi Sethi, Chief Strategy Officer, Fractal Ink, a Merkle Company.

The next panel discussion will be on the topic ‘Customer expectations in new digital economy’ where panellists including Raunika Malhotra, President – Marketing and Corporate Communications, Lodha; Sachin Shukla, Head, Brand and Digital Media, ICICI Bank; and Shoorveer Shekhawat, Head of Marketing, Video Banking & TFx Initiatives, AU Small Finance Bank will throw light on the expectations of the Web3 consumer and the ways brands can meet them to create value in the new digital economy. The panel will be moderated by Anita Kotwani, CEO, Carat India.

Gulbahar Taurani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ISC, Philips Domestic Appliances, will deliver a keynote address on the topic ‘Unlocking the potential of Web3 decentralized economy for consumer marketing and commerce’. The insightful evening would conclude with the last panel discussion on the topic ‘Experiential creativity for the modern consumer’ where panellists including Manasi Narasimhan, VP and Head, Marketing & Communications, South Asia, Mastercard, Adrian Terron, Head of Corporate Brand and Marketing Strategy, Tata Group, Sunil Nat, Head - E-commerce & Digital Marketing, Galderma. The session will be moderated by Heeru Dingra, Chief Business Officer, DENTSU CREATIVE India.

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Enigmatic Smile appoints MS Dhoni as its India brand ambassador

Launches launch card-linked offers in India

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 4:15 PM   |   2 min read


Enigmatic Smile has onboarded former Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni as its brand ambassador for India.

“Anyone who has ever launched a new product or service, especially when it involves strict compliance, security and safety standards, knows that cool headedness and high integrity are paramount. As Captain Cool, MS Dhoni embodies these two qualities, as well as those of loyalty and reliability. This is why we approached him to represent our brand in India. We are delighted to have him on board and look forward to a long and fruitful association,” said Bish Smeir, CEO, Enigmatic Smile.

MS Dhoni said, “I am delighted to represent Enigmatic Smile and as their exclusive brand ambassador for the rewards space in India. As they launch “India’s largest rewards economy,” Enigmatic Smile promises to improve the lives of millions of Indian people by helping them “Link their cards once. Collect rewards forever.”

That promise is a simple vow which resonates with me, and one I can stand behind. I wish Enigmatic Smile, all connected retailers, reward programmes, offer publishers and consumers every success as we launch this great, and rewarding project together.” He further added.

Commenting on the launch, Chandra Bhushan, India Country Head, said: “Pinelabs, Innoviti and NDTV have come on board with Enigmatic Smile, enabling all their connected retailers to benefit from the brand new card-linked solution, we look forward to many such associations benefiting the end consumer.”



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EssenceMediacom launched with 120 offices globally

The new agency by GroupM will be led by its Global CEO Nick Lawson

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 3:37 PM   |   3 min read

essence mediacom

EssenceMediacom – GroupM’s newest and largest agency – formally launches today with an ambition to deliver marketing breakthroughs for their clients. Disrupting the old models across media, creative, innovation and analytics, the agency has been built to find new opportunity for brands and deliver truly integrated media solutions.
Comprised of 10,000 people across 120 offices globally and led by Global CEO Nick Lawson, EssenceMediacom combines Essence’s performance, data, analytics and creative technology DNA with MediaCom’s scaled multichannel audience planning and strategic media expertise. 

The agency launches with an enviable client roster, which includes global and local clients, and will be responsible for more than $21bn in global media billings (COMvergence, 2021).

EssenceMediacom is part of GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, giving it access to the richest data, most robust benchmarks and most advanced capabilities in the market fueled by the company’s cross-channel performance division GroupM Nexus and Choreograph, GroupM’s industry-leading data and technology services provider.  

In India, EssenceMediacom recently announced the leadership elevation of Navin Khemka as CEO, South Asia, and Sonali Malaviya as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, South Asia. 

Navin Khemka, South Asia CEO of EssenceMediacom, said, “I am looking forward to this transformational role in leading the merged agency of Essence and MediaCom. India is one of the fastest-growing markets, and with the merger, I am confident that we will be able to future-proof our talent and offer unmatched services. Thanks to all our clients for their continued trust and partnership. Our clients can now look forward to the sophistication from EssenceMediacom that is required to succeed in the new era.” 

Prasanth Kumar, South Asia CEO of GroupM, said, “GroupM’s global merger of Essence and MediaCom has given us a fantastic opportunity to have the top 3 brands in India apart from Mindshare and Wavemaker. Essence and MediaCom together land with complementary skills, and set up an advantage for clients across data, technology, digital and media expertise. It is a wonderful moment for our people as this creates opportunities to work across some top-class brands. I wish EssenceMediacom a fantastic journey - I am sure that EssenceMediacom will continue to demonstrate some groundbreaking work for our clients.” 

Nick Lawson, EssenceMediacom’s Global CEO, said: “This process has been nine months in the making and I am so excited to see our ambition of bringing Essence and MediaCom together finally become a reality. What will underpin our groundbreaking agency is our people, and we will be steadfast in our commitment to provide an environment of continuous learning so they can grow and be the best they can be. Together, and with analytics, data and technology at our heart, I have no doubt we will deliver breakthroughs across our entire client base.” 

Christian Juhl, Global CEO, GroupM, said, “The fusion of Essence’s measurement and data-driven DNA with MediaCom’s scale and strategic expertise creates something truly unique in the marketplace. Alongside Mindshare, Wavemaker, and mSix&Partners, the launch of EssenceMediacom ensures we have the solutions and thinking to meet the needs of every brand and marketer seeking to grow their business in the new economy. I’m personally excited to see the way EssenceMediacom’s commitment to creating breakthroughs will change expectations for what’s possible in business, culture, and marketing and produce enormous value for our clients.”

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Ananya Panday collaborates with for Valentine's Day campaign

Panday stars in a social media campaign for the gifting brand

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 2:16 PM   |   2 min read

Ananya Panday

Bollywood actress Ananya Panday has collaborated with for their latest Valentine’s Day campaign. The actress represents today’s youth and was found to be the perfect fit for the campaign.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by IGP (@igpcom)

The campaign was recently live on social media, the campaign will witness her looking pretty and glowing in love as she gets ready to look her best for a date with perhaps a special someone. She keeps her fans guessing as she gives a glimpse of the many Valentine's Day gifts she has at home, while dropping no names or hints about who she is giving or has received the gifts from. She walks to her living room Laden with flowers, hampers, chocolates, teddy and a cake. Ananya's eyes sparkle as she runs her fingers over the pretty flowers, picks up a beautiful heart-shaped chocolate, looks at a pretty red and white iced cake and then hugs a fluffy teddy bear. Then, sitting down, she addresses her fans by saying how ready she is for Valentine’s day with gifts from IGP. Ananya gushes about the gifting platform's collection of flowers, cakes, hampers and other gifting options as she flips out her phone to encourage fans to go on the IGP app and do the same and choose their perfect Valentine's gifts for their special someone. Finally, she makes a heart icon gesture cheerfully and wishes her fans a happy Valentine's Day before signing off.

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Hoopr launches music licensing plans for brands, digital platforms, production houses

This marks the platform’s entry into the B2B segment

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 11:35 AM   |   2 min read


Music licensing platform Hoopr has now launched plans for brands, production houses, agencies and digital platforms to license music. This marks Hoopr’s entry into the B2B segment after raising $1.5 million in seed funding and the subsequent acquisition of 65,000+ users across India since July 2022.

Giving further insights, Gaurav Dagaonkar, CEO and Co-founder, Hoopr, said, "Businesses today are adopting the mindset of a creator and taking steps to put out content that is relevant to their target audience on a daily basis. Considering the growth of the internet and the increase in consumption of video, a large chunk of this content released by brands or on behalf of brands is in the form of videos. Against this backdrop, the need for copyright safe music that is cleared across multiple platforms has emerged as a strong need. At Hoopr, we’re not only addressing this exact need but are also offering a diverse collection of music that is very diverse and as a result a perfect fit with different use cases and geographic sensibilities across India. We’ve also priced the product in a way that ensures accessibility across the board – from start-ups to large businesses. Furthermore, we’re also offering custom solutions for enterprises such as digital media platforms and brands."

The clearance of Hoopr’s B2B licence covers platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Podcasts, Tiktok, and other avenues such as radio, TV, OTT, etc. In addition to this, the business plans offered by Hoopr also allow for the usage of licensed music in live commerce and on influencer-led videos. With new channels of user acquisition such as these becoming ever more prevalent and providing tangible gains for brands across the board, it’s imperative to utilize the best available resources for such activities. This includes music where not only would an entity want music that is specifically curated for a particular use case or theme, but that which is also cleared for usage on such channels.

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