Technology has not just given us a pair of shoes to run faster, it's given us wings: Geetu Verma

Dependency on technology has changed social structures, human interaction and the way we market our products and services, says Verma, Executive Director - Foods & Refreshments, Hindustan Unilever Ltd

e4m by Collin Furtado
Published: Oct 1, 2014 8:12 AM  | 5 min read
Technology has not just given us a pair of shoes to run faster, it's given us wings: Geetu Verma

Change is happening faster than we realise, and the challenge for marketers is to be geared for it, be future ready.

In her presentation titled ‘Marketing to the Jetsons,’ Geetu Verma, Executive Director - Foods & Refreshments, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) said, “There are many facets of this change and they are galloping… We need to wind up with the thought that change is not about to happen, but the fact that change is here and it is now”.  Verma was speaking at the exchange4media Conclave.

Verma explained how technology is at the helm of this change, deciding the way we live, from the industrial revolution to the invention of the light bulb or vaccination and preventive healthcare to even how elections are fought through social media. And what is aiding this change is the information explosion. “With 240 million internet users, 950 million mobile subscribers, 650 million websites… information is something that is available easily,” she said. “If you reflect on change, you’d realise it took about a hundred years for 30 million landlines in India and it took only 20 years for mobiles and for internet to reach these kinds of numbers. That is the pace we are talking about,” she added.

In her presentation she also touched upon our dependency on technology. Verma said, “It is jokingly said that in today’s day it is may be easier to find a clean glass of drinking water with a Wi-Fi … this dependency on technology has changed social structures, changed the way people interact with each other and most importantly, how we market our products and services. It’s not just given people a pair of shoes to run faster, it’s given them wings.”

Brand communication with the audiences has become two-way. Which is why brands need to have supreme confidence in their product or service to put it out there for consumers to disaggregate and do what they want with it. Citing the example of IKEA Hackers she said, “IKEA Hackers is one such fan page created for the fans, by the fans, where ideas have been taken apart, they have been built on and the company is letting it happen because it is confident of its offering. Consumers are engaging with it, they are tweeting and talking about it and they are building a conversation factor,” said Verma. Another example she provided to illustrate the power of consumer opinions is the way CNA Fashion, which is a Dutch clothesline. It allowed people to ‘like’ their clothes and there was a display on every hanger showing the number of likes each outfit had. This works both ways - helping people to choose according to other people’s taste, or go with something different.

Highlighting how addicted we are to technology today, she said, “I was just having a look at numbers which came out on a TATA Communications report. This says that 82 per cent of users in India suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), 46 per cent of internet users are spending six hours a day on the internet and 43 per cent of these internet users would happily trade television for the online. That is really the time that is being spent … we do not have time to watch a television program before tweeting about what we like.”

She said that this trend was not only limited to urban India but was evident in tier II cities too. Today farmers are using their mobile phones to get information on the commodity markets or a schoolteacher is using online booking. Andhra Pradesh has the largest number of smart phones in a tier II city. “Andhra Pradesh is one state where smart phone penetration is the highest in tier II towns… Let’s just pause and think about how we can round up the facets of this change. It has created an audience that is spoilt for choice. It has created a populace with a vocal kind of choice and now has a platform to express it,” Verma added.

She further talked about how companies used to look at India as one whole country when it is actually a combination of different nations. From Delhi to Andhra Pradesh, every state has a different audience.  Place becomes an important differentiator in how are we going to use technology. She gave the example of Kan Khajura campaign that used technology in this way. It leveraged missed calls to create effective promotions.

She briefly also touched upon the need for both etail and retail to coexist and the need for better solutions for them to evolve together. 

During Verma’s interaction with Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison World, she was asked about how marketers deal with the risks involved with change. She said one has to be comfortable with taking risks. “We did find this resistance to move to digital from the tried and tested television and print. Mostly because digital has more data. We did a couple of things internally - we actually earmarked a certain percentage of our spend for digital.  We did this for quite some time. Secondly, we even put a digital experimentation fund. Heads of businesses have a fund and you can come and pitch your ideas. It could be a bizarre or a risky idea but if you are convincing, take the money and go home. We have seen some marvelous things come out of that.”

Geetu Verma, Executive Director - Foods & Refreshments, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) was at the first session at the exchange4media Conclave 2014, in Mumbai, speaking about ‘Marketing in the New World’. The 14th edition of the Conclave featured some of the finest and most influential speakers from around the world.

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Medical students get assurance from 'study buddy' Manipal MedAce

The campaign has been conceptualised by 82.5 Communications

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 4:50 PM   |   3 min read

manipal medace

Manipal Global Education Services aims to make the long and tedious journey of medical students easier with the launch of their new app, Manipal MedAce. The app is designed to act as a support system that helps medical students learn better and prep effectively for PG Entrance Exams. The host of innovative ‘Learn’ (Basic Science) and ‘Prep’ (PG Entrance Exams) features coupled with content curated by experts makes the app stand out as that reliable friend every medical student needs.

The campaign was conceptualised by 82.5 Communications, an advertising agency that is known for its ‘Ingenious Indian Ideas’. The 82.5 team realised that friendships formed in medical school are the lifeline of medical students and translated it into a powerful and relatable piece of communication, ‘In This Together’. It was brought alive through a heart-warming brand film that traces the everyday lives of medical students across India, accentuated by an infectious jingle, ‘I got you buddy’. The brand film shall be followed by 7 short films highlighting the state-of-the-art features of the app, showing how Manipal MedAce is every medical student’s new study buddy for MBBS and PG Entrance Exams prep.

Commenting on the association with 82.5 Communications, Preethi Frederick, Head, Product Development and Marketing, Manipal MedAce said, "We understand the pressure that comes with pursuing an MBBS degree and preparing for a medical competitive exam. And the idea of having Manipal MedAce as a friend who helps the students in their journey was brought alive in a simple and lucid manner. We are glad to partner with 82.5 Communications on this. They were able to understand the ordeals and challenges that the medical students face and come up with a narrative that’ll help Manipal MedAce forge new bonds in their lives.”

Bhavaneet Bhalla, National Head – Strategic Planning, 82.5 Communications said, “The profession of medicine is one where competency is perhaps the only constant. Manipal MedAce roots their existence in the right kind of content enabling the students to THINK right, giving exposure to a complete medical all-rounded education enabling the students to BELIEVE in possibilities across, and providing ammunition to aid students to ACE their curriculum. It’s in it together with every medical student to ensure they ace their every next.”

Naveen Raman, Executive Vice President & Branch Head, 82.5 Communications – South said, “We are thrilled to partner with Manipal Global Education Services, a leader in the field of education, on this journey. After deep-diving into the lives of the students, we were able to cull out insights that gave us the hook in coming up with a narrative that resonates with everyone. We hope this effort bears fruit and Manipal MedAce becomes an integral part of every medical student’s journey.”

Sangeetha Sampath and Ravikumar Cherussola, Executive Creative Directors, 82.5 Communications – South elaborated on the process, “Talking to medical students helped us understand the challenges they faced every day. But what was more interesting was how their friends made the tedious journey a little better. So, ‘In This Together’ is an ode to all the wonderful bonds people make in medical school. We wanted to let them know that now they have a new buddy they can rely on to get through this journey.”

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Andrea Jeremiah to endorse Casagrand Primrose

The company has rolled out a refreshing 360-degree campaign titled 'Surprise Ku Ready-a'

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 4:35 PM   |   3 min read


Casagrand announced its latest association with actor Andrea Jeremiah to endorse a community project, Casagrand Primrose. Located 10 minutes from Tambaram, the project is the largest gated community of the location.

 In line with this association, the company has rolled out a refreshing 360 degree campaign titled “Surprise Ku Ready-a” , spotlighting the unique features of the all-in-one community, which is a one-stop destination for homebuyers of all segments, who are looking at purchasing properties across varied segments of housing. The campaign highlights the location and price advantage of the property with a tagline ‘Tambaram Pakkathula, Indha Price , Semma Surprise’.

Strategically positioned on 200 ft road, Casagrand Primrose is an expansive 9.14-acre gated community project that caters to homebuyers from all walks of life. This ambitious venture offers a wide range of housing options, including affordable, mid-segment, luxury, and ultra-luxury residences, housing a well-balanced mix of 932 units, including 2 and 3 BHK high-rise apartments and uniquely planned spacious 4 BHK sky villas.

Committed to delivering a luxurious living experience that's accessible to everyone, the property offers the convenience of being only a short 10-minute away from Tambaram and easily accessible from key destinations like Perungalathur, Vandalur, Chrompet, Pallavaram, and Mudichur making it an ideal destination for residents of all age groups, ensuring their convenience and comfort. The property is 20 minutes from Chennai International Airport, 7 minutes from the upcoming Metro Station and Mofussil Bus terminus.

Encompassing a vast 7-acre landscaped area, this stunning high-rise enclave provides access to more than 95 world-class amenities and facilities. These include a Cafeteria, mini theaters, virtual reality game zones, state-of-the-art fitness centers, a serene sunken barbecue area, a clinic for residents' convenience, arcade basketball, snooker and foosball tables, and a plethora of swimming pool amenities, such as an island seating area and an aqua gym. These extravagant offerings make Casagrand Primrose the perfect investment opportunity for homebuyers seeking a harmonious living experience that seamlessly combines luxury and affordability. The property also boasts a lavishly planned 28,550 sq ft clubhouse and vehicle-free podiums, fostering a serene environment amidst the bustling city.  Furthermore, Casagrand Primrose prioritizes open spaces and natural light, with 77% of the community dedicated to green, open spaces and 49,000 sq ft of meticulously landscaped podiums. The Vaastu-compliant homes are designed with a zero dead space concept, ensuring maximum functionality and comfort.

Commenting on this special occasion,  Vimesh P, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Casagrand, said, "We are delighted to announce our collaboration with the renowned and highly acclaimed South Cinema singer-actress, Andrea Jeremiah for our special project Casagrand Primrose. In line with our established legacy, we take immense pride in introducing Casagrand Primrose, an all-inclusive gated residential community crafted not only to provide our customers with a secure sanctuary but also to enhance their lives with the utmost convenience and luxury. We look forward to an enthusiastic response from discerning homebuyers eager to embrace the unparalleled lifestyle we provide”.

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Yash & Radhika stress on the importance of healthy choices in TVC for Freedom Cooking Oil

‘Dhyaan se Lijiye’ campaign tells consumers to exercise caution while buying edible oil

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 3:51 PM   |   2 min read


Freedom Healthy Cooking Oil launched an advertising campaign, ‘Dhyaan se Lijiye’, with a key focus on the importance of making careful choices, particularly while buying Sunflower oil. The campaign with brand ambassadors Yash & Radhika by Freedom Cooking Oil is designed to sensitize the customers to purchase their preferred edible oil with caution and be sure of the quality of edible oil they consume. It has reached over 14 million+ views across the digital and other platforms.  

The campaign revolves around brand ambassadors Yash and Radhika, who convey the core message of making thoughtful selection in refined sunflower oil. The portrayal of Radhika's character initially leaning towards cheap refined sunflower oil is smartly influenced by Yash towards the 100% pure sunflower oil brand – Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil. The Brand effectively communicates the campaign's central message: not all sunflower-themed oil pouches or yellow-coloured oil pouches contain authentic and pure sunflower oil. Imitated product packs closely resemble genuine ones, posing a risk to consumers who may unknowingly purchase fake oil pack. It's crucial to choose wisely, rely on the trusted brand from sunflower oil for your health.

 The central idea of ‘Dhyaan se Lijiye’ aligns with Freedom Cooking Oil's ethos that even small choices can lead to significant transformations in one's health journey.

According to P Chandra Shekhara Reddy, Senior Vice-President of Sales & Marketing, Freedom Healthy Cooking Oil, said “Freedom Healthy Cooking Oils are known for the quality and trustworthiness in the cooking oil market. With our range of products known for the purity and health benefits, the brand has successfully established itself as a reliable choice for health-conscious consumers. The ‘Dhyaan se Lijiye’ campaign with our brand ambassadors the rocking couple ‘Yash & Radhika’ is an initiative to contribute to the health and wellness of consumers. Freedom Refined Sunflower Oil, as brand leader in the category aims to inspire people to be cautious while picking the brand of sunflower oil. Consumers need to check the brand credentials and not be fooled by the use of yellow colour or an image of sunflower on the pack. They need to carefully check the brand name of their choice to be sure of the cooking oil being purchased. A mindful choice will help them prioritize health and be safe.”

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Crossbeats gets Suryakumar Yadav as brand ambassador for its smartwatch category

The collaboration is part of the brand's endeavours to penetrate new markets

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 2:30 PM   |   2 min read


Consumer tech brand Crossbeats has roped in ace cricketer Suryakumar Yadav as the brand ambassador for its smartwatch category. This is the first time Crossbeats has signed a brand ambassador since its inception.

Suryakumar Yadav (SKY) will be the face of the brand’s existing and upcoming range of smartwatches. The collaboration promises to be a game changer for Crossbeats as it will open doors for the brand to penetrate the new market.

Archit Agarwal, Co-Founder of Crossbeats said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with SKY and extend a warm welcome to him into the Crossbeats family. His consistency as a match-winner reflects Crossbeats' energetic and dependable persona”.

On this association with Crossbeats- Suryakumar Yadav, who is exclusively managed by RISE Worldwide, said, “I have always believed in innovation, style and walking the extra mile for excellence. I am excited to partner with Crossbeats for their smartwatches category, which also pushes boundaries to strive for performance, design, aesthetics and technology.”

Crossbeats has always been the industry leader, however, this collaboration promises to be a game changer as it will open doors to penetrate the new market. With this new development, the brand is looking at redefining the smartwatch experience for the new generation and rigorously pushing its smartwatch segment in India. It is set to tap into new audiences and take the world of smartwatches by storm.

Stay tuned for what promises to be a game-changing inning in the world of smartwatches.

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Tennis player Sumit Nagal ties up with Gatorade

'This association comes to me at a pivotal time,' said Nagpal

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 2:02 PM   |   2 min read

sumit nagpal

After coming across Tennis player Sumit Nagal’s heartfelt confession, Gatorade® came forward to support Sumit by welcoming him to the Gatorade® family with a 3-year association. 

"With a vast history of supporting athletes across the world, Gatorade® has believed in enabling athletes to achieve peak performance. This move by Gatorade® underscores its commitment towards helping athletes. In addition, Sumit will be assisted on his recovery and nutrition needs under the guidance of a team of experts at the Gatorade® Sports Science Institute (GSSI). Gatorade® Sports Science Institute help athletes optimize their health and performance through research, innovation and education on hydration and nutrition science which is key element for sportspeople," said the brand. 

Ankit Agarwal, Associate Director, Energy & Hydration, PepsiCo India adds on the association, “Gatorade has always believed in supporting sportspeople to achieve peak performance. Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine. As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad. We wish him the best as he represents the nation, and we hope to empower the next generation of athletes with this association as they continue to pursue their dreams.” 

Tennis Player, Sumit Nagal said, “I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court.”

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KRAFTON India teams up with Hardik Pandya

This collaboration will soon bring exclusive in-game items inspired by Hardik Pandya's style and personality

By e4m Staff | Sep 21, 2023 1:48 PM   |   1 min read


BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI)has announced a new collaboration with cricketer Hardik Pandya.

This collaboration will soon bring exclusive in-game items inspired by Hardik Pandya's style and personality, such as outfits, helmets, skins, voice packs and cricket-themed emotes. BGMI players will be able to enjoy these items and express themselves in the game with Hardik Pandya's flair and charisma.

Sean Hyunil Sohn - CEO, KRAFTON India, expressed his enthusiasm on the collaboration, stating, "We are delighted to launch this collaboration with Hardik Pandya. Embodying the spirit of grit, skill and survival, he is a dynamic force in the world of cricket, and his passion is something that BGMI players can relate to. This collaboration is a celebration of this shared spirit, and we're excited to bring a fusion of cricket and gaming to our players. We look forward to working with him and creating memorable moments for our players."

Hardik Pandya, who is exclusively managed by RISE Worldwide, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, saying, "I have always enjoyed seeing the passion and fire of BGMI players, which has made it one of the most unique and popular games in the country. I am excited to be part of the BGMI family and can’t wait to see the players sport their cricket-themed avatars, emotes, and gear.”

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Our marketing budget is up by 15% this year: Shashank Srivastava, Maruti Suzuki

Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer, Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki, talks marketing strategies and budgets on the 6th anniversary of the company's retail channel ARENA

By Aditi Gupta | Sep 21, 2023 1:41 PM   |   3 min read


Maruti Suzuki has rolled out a campaign ‘Find Your Match’ for its young buyers on the sixth anniversary of its retail channel ARENA.

exchange4media caught up with Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer, Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki, who shared the idea behind the campaign and how this time the marketing budget is close to around Rs 1,000 crore, 15% up from last year.

Tell us about the campaign ‘Find Your Match’. How was it conceived?

We have launched this campaign on the occasion of the 6th anniversary of ARENA channel which is the number one channel in the automotive space. We have reached over 7 million people in six years and add 1 million every year. The rate is one lakh a month. India has a growing economy and a lot of young buyers come into the buying space every year. ARENA is normally the place where younger people buy their first cars. So we thought we’ll have a campaign not just for the product but the entire channel with ‘Find Your Match’.

It is based on the research on what the buyers are really looking for when buying a car. It is not just about buying functionality that is transportation but also their lifestyle and aspirations. Cars enable them to socialise and it is also a status symbol in Indian context. Consumers have a relationship with their first car and we wanted to give them the good experience of buying the car through ARENA. It meets different requirements.”  

What will be the marketing strategy for the campaign and the media mix?

We have realised that it has to be vernacular. Young buyers are consuming a lot of vernacular content. On TV and OTT, it is GEC that we are focusing on. For digital, we are spending almost 30 % of our overall spends. For ARENA anniversary we have especially used influencers.

What are the plans for the festive season? Will the marketing be any different from last time?

We are looking at vernacular in a big way. We’ll have 12 festive films in vernacular which we will run on GECs, OTT space and digital too. We ran one film in Malayalam during Onam. We have a whole calendar line-up with Navratra, Durga Puja, Dussehra, Diwali, Christmas, Lohri etc. We have 12 such films which we will run in the next few months largely in the TV/OTT space and digital as well.

What will be the marketing budget this time ?

We have the World Cup also this time so we will be rolling our campaigns there too. The budget has increased by 15 % over the last year. The annual budget for the marketing campaigns this year is close to about Rs 1000 crore.

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