Sohini Sen
Advertising

"It may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, Truecaller has a close consumer appeal": Kari Krishnamurthy

The caller identification app has come out with its first mass-media campaign featuring actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who shares his true story of almost missing a big opportunity.

Opportunity knocks only once. Or maybe rings twice. But, what if you miss both the calls? Sweden-based caller identification mobile application, Truecaller, believes it is imperative to help people from missing opportunities that can change their lives. The app's first ever, mass-media campaign tells a true story.

"It may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, Truecaller has a close consumer appeal": Kari Krishnamurthy
In its 90-second-long film (with a 35-second edit for television), actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui shares a bit about his life with the viewers. He speaks about his struggling days, when he would often work in the mornings as well as nights, as a guard. Physically exhausted, he would often miss calls. One such call was from a casting director which changed his life. Siddiqui signs off with the advice of using Truecaller, so that the right opportunities are always answered.
"It may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, Truecaller has a close consumer appeal": Kari Krishnamurthy
"It may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, Truecaller has a close consumer appeal": Kari Krishnamurthy
"We could have made a series of testimonials that millions of users have given us. People have told us how Truecaller saved them from spam, or it let them take the right call etc. The fact is, it may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, it has a close consumer appeal. A relatable story is more rustic but truthful in nature," explains Kari Krishnamurthy, vice president, growth and partnerships, Asia, and country manager, India, Truecaller.

It is a simple, slice-of-life film, but what is significant is the application's user base. With over 80 million users in India, the country is Truecaller's largest market, followed by Middle East. Within that, around 70 per cent of the users are urban smartphone users.

While the use of smartphones is growing at an exponential rate in the country, it is the tier I, II and III towns that are the propellers of this growth. Thus, Truecaller's new target audience resides in the unmetros - people who are still unaware of the opportunity the app offers.

Explaining the creative idea, Mayur Hola, executive creative director, Contract India - the agency behind the campaign - says, "The people we're speaking with don't see the mobile phone as a nuisance as we do. The mobile is a great leveller. It empowers people and offers a world of opportunities. Truecaller is part of that world. It tells you about the friend whose number you've lost. It informs you that the HR department of an organisation called while you were away from your phone. It helps you reach a potential client. Yes, it blocks spam and unwanted calls, but that's something it does much like we brush our teeth. That's hygiene. What we wish to stand for is not a blocking app, but an app that gives you access to a better life."

Truecaller's actual moment of truth is when people from smaller towns give them feedback about not missing a recruiter's call. But, blocking a spam call is also important, as seen by a growing number of female users. Unlike many other mobile phone applications, Truecaller's data shows that over 35 per cent of its users are women. Considering the app adds around 150,000 new users every day, this number is only set to grow. Not bad for a five-year-old company.

"We are not just speaking to women. We can't even say our target crowd is something like 18 to 44 year olds. Every person out there with some kind of data - whether with a smart phone or not - is a potential user for Truecaller. Our ambition is to make the user interface and user experience cut across all devices a user wants to lay his hands on, even an age-old operating system like Symbian," points out Krishnamurthy.

Krishnamurthy's plan is to build engagement through the longer digital film and reach the masses through television's edited version. For the TV spot, Hindi GECs, movie and news channels will be used, along with some sports channels, keeping in mind the TG. Radio spots will run in 50 cities for six to eight weeks.

"It may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, Truecaller has a close consumer appeal": Kari Krishnamurthy
Siddiqui as the face of the brand is an interesting choice. Though not the poster boy of Bollywood, he is a face that stands for ambition and dreaming big. It is perhaps a refreshing change as well, with brands opting for unconventional brand ambassadors like Irrfan Khan (Syska LED, Vodafone and IndiaMart) and Sidiqqui.

According to Ashish Chakravarty, national creative director, Contract India, "Nawaz is the voice of the emerging India; his screen presence is magnetic and persuasive. And, the true story of where he has emerged from, the story of a guy who made the most of what life and luck threw up is compelling. We saw an effortless link between the task and Nawaz's story. Thereafter, the only thing to do was to have him tell us his story in his words and observe the same."

Is the ad effective? Here's what a few ad guys have to say:

"It may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, Truecaller has a close consumer appeal": Kari Krishnamurthy
"It may be a technical product for us, but, for our users, Truecaller has a close consumer appeal": Kari Krishnamurthy
According to Pravin Shah, founder and CEO, Six Inches Communication, "Every TVC has an AHA score. This commercial's AHA value is Nawazuddin, and his story of almost losing an opportunity by ignoring an unknown number holds true at some point for all of us. So, problem well captured! But, in this video-flooded world and scarcity of attention, will the brand be visible? Chances are bright with the lead actor."

However, he isn't as impressed about the shareability of the video. "It could have worked better with smaller capsules, perhaps 20-seconders," he adds.

Razneesh Ghai (Razy), director, Asylum Films, finds the video to be charming. "The film presents one man's story of success with a quirky charm that highlights the importance of Truecaller. However, I felt the aesthetics of the film were lacking action and the camera movement could have been more captivating to the audience," he says.