afaqs!

Selling a sale

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 03, 2012
The new campaign from Shoppers Stop, launched only on YouTube, talks about the 'End of Season Sale' in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

It is not often that your spouse or your parents feel proud of you and talk fondly of gifts received from you. The new campaign from Shoppers Stop that promotes the 'End of Season Sale', highlights the love of dear ones, such as that of a father or a wife, thanks to the gifts bought for them from the sale.

ShoppersStop wife

ShoppersStop Dad

Conceptualised by Contract Advertising, the two television commercials titled 'Dad' and 'Wife', show a father talk of his son, and a wife talk about her husband, rather fondly. In the end, however, it is revealed that both are actually happy about the clothes and accessories such as jewellery that they have received, which have been bought from Shoppers Stop's End of Season Sale.

The commercials, which have been launched only on YouTube, are being promoted through a Facebook page, and Twitter. The retail brand claims to have a fan following of 1.9 lakh followers on Facebook.

Vinay Bhatia, customer care associate and senior vice-president, marketing and loyalty, Shoppers Stop, explains, "All commercials of Shoppers Stop have a particular language that is tongue-in-cheek. Every commercial has a positive twist in the end, and that is what makes the TVCs work."

Talking about the company's decision to refrain from television advertising, Bhatia says, "Both Facebook and Twitter are pull-base mediums, and that works for us. Rather than spending heavily on television, online helps us target consumers in a better manner."

Raj Nair

A sale is a sale is a sale. Right? Wrong!!! And, the easiest thing to do is just show a bunch of merchandise and say -- up to 51 per cent off. No intelligence required to decode that, is there? Except that only a million other sales presented by other brands are doing precisely that. Now, how do we present the Shoppers Stop Sale as being special? And, that it makes the customers feel special?" asks Raj Nair, regional creative director, Mumbai and South, Contract Advertising.

He adds, "If we look at consumer behaviour, a sale is a convenient time to buy because things are priced better. But, communicating a mere price off was never going to make anyone bite the bait because there is just no differentiation from a million other sales that are out there. So, we hit upon the creative idea/insight of gifting your loved ones stuff you buy from the sale. (While they may think that you truly love them with your thoughtful gesture of the gift, the truth is you got it at a sale.) A refreshing, humorous take on presenting yet another sale. It's an insider joke in which you let the viewer in at the expense of the recipient."

The retail outlet has further launched an augmented reality application to promote the sale. With the help of this app, readers can activate an AR (augmented reality) set-up in which they can view certain 'secret offers'.

Establish a connect

The ad film gets a positive feedback from advertising professionals, and the humour works for the brand, as well as for the commercials.

Shiveshwar Raj Singh

Vivek Dutta

According to Shiveshwar Raj Singh, group creative director, Draftfcb Ulka, Shoppers Stop's advertising has always been smart and witty. "These commercials continue to uphold that tradition. Understated and elegant. However, the problem with using dry wit and irony in today's predominantly slapstick and dumbed-down landscape is that not everybody gets it. And, of those who do, unless the humour is sharp and biting, it elicits little more than a fleeting smile," says Singh.

He remarks, "My other quibble is with the casting, or rather, the miscasting of the two characters. They are diabetically sweet and gentle souls, definitely not the ones you will want to be mean to. It's nice overall, but could have been better."

However, Atika Naik, senior vice-president and executive planning director, JWT, opines that Shoppers Stop has tried to go beyond its ecstatic-looking-models- offering-upto-51-per cent-discount type of print execution. "It could have been a nice way to drive sales by triggering 'thoughtfulness' and surprise gifts because they are more affordable. But, its final super 'It's not love. It's a sale', is like a cold water splash on a winter morning. The good 'intent of giving', vitiated with the smartness of the motive. It ends up undermining givers and receivers of Shopper Stop gifts. I wonder if they were given something like 'kyunke saste mein mil raha tha'."

Vivek Dutta, business director and national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept, notes, "It definitely beats the run-of-the-mill sale commercials. The monologue and the anti-climax is a nice way to create intrigue about something as boring as 'Sale'. I liked the fact that it targeted the user, rather than the purchaser. Finally, it's great to see that the client accepted and respected the fact that its consumer is evolved enough to appreciate a slight tongue-in-cheek humour."

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