Abid Hussain Barlaskar

"One can't make a salad out of a discount..."

That's a line from Milkbasket's Bangalore-focused long form print ads yesterday.

Grocery delivery service Milkbasket's latest print outing is a humble introduction of the brand to the residents of Bengaluru. The ad copy is an open letter which doubles up as a prologue to the brand's launch of its operations in the city.

"One can't make a salad out of a discount..."

Milkbasket's introduction to Bengaluru residents in a latest ad
Click on the image to enlarge

The letter highlights its proposition of letting users order items right up until midnight, in smaller quantities and still expect assured delivery before 7.00AM in the morning - for free. The copy also takes a dig at the 'discount game' that most e-commerce players resort to for attracting customers.

By the end, the long-format ad copy makes it clear that the brand is already doing its business in Gurgaon and Noida and is about to start "easing" the lives of Bangalureans.

The ad was conceptualised by the brand's in house team and was published in financial dailies - Mint and The Economic Times.

Originally developed for delivering milk to homes, Milkbasket later forayed into the grocery delivery space.

"One can't make a salad out of a discount..."

Satyendra Singh

Satyendra Singh, VP and head of marketing, Milkbasket, says "When everyone was focusing on bulk buys, we focussed on top-up buys (because that's how India shops - from its kirana stores). While launching our campaign, we decided to disrupt the way groceries were marketed."

Speaking about how the ad was created and executed, Singh adds, "We took a conversational approach where we are directly talking to the users instead of hard-selling our USPs. We used long copy because that's how you converse with friends instead of a cookie-cutter approach of one image, four words (in 20 per cent area), 25 characters and a CTA (call-to-action) button."

A globally famous example of how a brand utilised a long-form copy in an ad is Durex's apology letter to the citizens of Singapore from 2015. The contraceptive brand asked citizens not to use their products as the country's fertility rate dipped.

"One can't make a salad out of a discount..."

Durex's apology letter in its ad from 2015
Click on the image to enlarge

So, how does it stack up?

"One can't make a salad out of a discount..."

Karthik Srinivasan

"One can't make a salad out of a discount..."

Sanjeev Kotnala

Communications consultant Karthik Srinivasan likes the simple, conversational tone of the ad. "It felt like reading a note from a friend. The reason to choose the brand's service and the value proposition comes across without any major hype in the text. And since it has been released only in The Economic Times and Mint (as opposed to The Times of India, Deccan Herald, The Hindu etc.), I assume the idea is a test launch to test the waters in Bengaluru with a few early adopters, learn the nuances of the city and then perhaps roll-out a broader launch," Srinivasan adds.

Sanjeev Kotnala, brand and marketing advisor and founder - Intradia World, says "For its service promise of delivering everything and leaving it at your doorstep before 7.00AM, Milkbasket got its TG, maybe the vehicle and perhaps the opening 'Namaskara Bengaluru' right. But that's all."

Kotnala, however, considers this ad in its current format a waste of effort and resources. "To be effective, newspaper ads need to be treated in the way the audience consumes them. Long copy, unless interesting, intriguing or engaging, is a definite no-no. There is hardly any incentive to go beyond the first paragraph. Even if you somehow manage to push yourself to read it, there is a whole lot of foreplay with no 'finale' to discover," he explains.

"Also, asking the potential consumer to say where they should launch the service first, is an expectation of a tall order. It makes me question whether the brand had the right digital approach to connect with the audience," Kotnala further adds.

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