Jabong, the online fashion e-tailer, is making a statement yet again, this time more unabashedly. Its latest campaign is an extension of the brand positioning 'Be You', launched last year, and takes on a much more pronounced and bolder avatar.
Executed by Bang In The Middle, the first of the three TVCs features a young couple in a live-in relationship and enjoying each other's company to the fullest. The insight behind the campaign is 'love is more than a ring and a piece of paper'. It is above what people might think. The voice over starts 'Most of our neighbours don't talk to us, we are supposed to be living in sin, but that's their problem' and the tone for the rest of the film remains the same, ending with the core positioning of 'Be You'. The second TVC features a young woman who breaks stereotypes, juggling a technical job while following artistic pursuits.
"It might look like that campaign is on lines of being "irreverent & bold" but the same does not hold true. The message that the campaign aims to deliver is to appreciate oneself and be proud of what you are without following others," he says.
With approximately 10 million registered users, Jabong is targetting consumers between the age group of 18 and 32 years in the category SEC A, B. Currently the platform sells most products in the shoes and apparels category but is betting high on the kids category which is almost tripling itself year-on-year.
Sinha says the biggest marketing challenge for them is differentiating themselves from the rest of e-commerce players who are talking about deals & discounts.
In a bid to consolidate its position as ultimate fashion destination online, Jabong will be coming up with campaigns during season change (Spring summer and autumn winter), Diwali - Christmas in order to cash on festive buying.
The three TVCs, which will be aired across various channels, have been creatively scripted and shot across the length and breadth of India. It captures aspirations, dreams, thoughts and personal styles of people who have chosen to break free from the norm and follow their own style and passion.
Is Jabong following the footsteps of Fastrack, a brand known for its 'irreverent attitude', when it comes to advertising?
Naresh Gupta, CSO, Bang in the Middle disagrees, and says that their campaign is a 'reflection of reality, of what is happening in the society'.
"The campaign depicts the choices the youth of the country is making today. We tried to keep it absolutely non-judgmental. As a brand, Jabong knows the pulse of young India, of what they think, believe and aspire for, and this campaign is an execution of the same," he explains.
For Prathap Suthan, CCO, Bang in the Middle, the 'Be You' campaign launched last year was a balanced act of liberation which pushed people to go beyond the shallow definition of fashion, and gave them the freedom to stand up and be themselves.
"This time around, instead of a common philosophy, we are bringing to life stories of individuals, how they choose to live their lives and how they use their minds to create a niche for themselves. More importantly, these ads also surf the top of emerging social trends and try to present the changing faces of the country. Young India is a more confident, globally-conscious and empowered lot of people," he adds.
While the two campaigns are already out, the third one is expected to be rolled out soon.
For the record, Jabong was launched in early 2012. Having entered the fashion e-commerce market late, it competed with majors like Flipkart, Myntra (now owned by Flipkart) and FashionandYou, among others.
According to a ComScore report of September 2012, Jabong.com had the second highest volume of traffic among Indian e-commerce websites, within just a few months of launch. The platform clocked 1.9 million gross orders in the first quarter of the calendar year 2014, according to a disclosure by Swedish investor Kinnevik, an investor in Rocket Internet as well as Jabong.
The report further indicated that Jabong, in March 2014, had a total customer base of 2.9 million, as opposed to one million in the corresponding month last year. In December 2013, Jabong crossed $25 million in revenue.
"I'm not sure if Jabong can pull it off with this half-hearted attempt at portraying a couple with a bohemian mindset. For one, it's very wannabe, and if you really have to make a statement, then use real people and tell their stories - instead of dressing up models living in a make-believe world," he says, giving a thumbs-up to the visual execution.
Brand strategist and CEO of Brands of Desire, Saurabh Uboweja, is of the opinion that while the brand recognises that its TG is the youth, it has failed to understand what is aspirational for today's youth in India.
"Live-in or being independent is so passé," he shrugs off.
According to him, the campaign is 'overdone'. On one side, it is talking about 'be you', while throughout the films, it seems to be justifying the actions of its protagonists.
"It's clearly six-years-late as an idea, overdone by Bollywood movies already. The positioning is good, but concept is not new. The music is catchy though," he notes.
Uboweja believes that the new bold is about taking risks, testing your limits, going the extra mile. It's about young people inspiring the older generation, and building a brand story around that would have been interesting.