Flipkart's relationship with mega-sales has been a bittersweet one. Remember the Big Billion Day sale that fetched the brand some serious moolah as well as some serious flak from angry netizens last year?
Well, that's all in the past. In its latest campaign, created by Dentsu Webchutney, the poster boy of Indian e-commerce has a simple message for online shoppers - No advertisement is good enough to sell a Flipkart sale. The ad, the second one in a recently launched series, promotes Flipkart's ongoing sale for personal care and beauty products.
But 2015, she insists, will be all about "the hairfie," and then goes on to cover her whole face with her hair in order to demonstrate the concept, for the benefit of her less-than-impressed client. Her colleague then introduces concepts like "the mouthfie" for toothpastes and "the skinfie" for face washes.
The marketing head of Flipkart - the one in the ad, of course - says, "This isn't good enough," before a voice-over goes, "Nothing can sell the sale, except the sale itself."
Shoumyan Biswas, senior director, marketing, Flipkart, says, "For our latest category-based sales campaign, we wanted to come up with an idea that is simple, innovative and immediately grabs the customer's attention. This film celebrates the idea of this sale as a grand concept that can sell on its own without the push of conventional advertising. We are sure our customers will enjoy the series..."
One can't help but notice that Dentsu Webchutney has opted to laugh at its own kind through this series. PG Aditya, copy supervisor at the agency, tells afaqs!, "Well, I guess we took a step back and looked at what we do, objectively... in meeting rooms, while pitching... the key was to find nuances that were relatable, without being clichéd. What better way to adulate the sale?"
He adds, "We're running promotions on social media by letting users get in on the action. Users have been invited to share their ideas to sell this sale. We've got some pretty interesting responses already! Hope it gets even better from here."
While he concedes that each element of the film-making process (casting, performances, detailing in the script, etc.) is in place, he can't help but spot a "disconnect between the plot and the proposition."
"I wonder how much of this is actually helping with the sale proposition," Pal says. The ad, he feels, could have focused on how one doesn't need to work hard on a campaign for a sale that sells itself.
Rohan Chincholi, associate director, digital media, Havas Media, finds the ad too long to be able to generate enough traction. It might result in a low click-through rate, he says. "There will also be a limitation on the total number of sites the brand can advertise on," he cautions.
Studying YouTube statistics, Chincholi points out, "There are more 'dislikes'... "
This ad, he feels, is "88 per cent about 'life in an advertising agency' and 12 per cent about the Flipkart sale!"
However, he appreciates the Twitter leg of this campaign, one aimed at crowdsourcing ideas from consumers. For such campaigns, he says, it is important "to allow users to submit ideas in any format," because, "while some might create and upload videos with the hashtag, most will try and fix a story in 140 characters. Use of the hashtag '#SelltheFlipkartSale' itself consumes about 20 characters. We are left with just 120 characters to explain an entire idea."
The hashtag, therefore, ought to be "brief and written as text in the video, thus reinforcing the message to the audience."
He adds, "Adding a layer of gratification can also increase participation. For example, the winner gets an exclusive link to the sale an hour before the rest... or gets a discount coupon. A very tactical eDM (electronic Direct Marketing) campaign with personalised copy can also generate interest and participation."