N. Shatrujeet

Baazee.com: It's really the price, honey

The latest two-ad campaign for Baazee.com marks a shift in focus towards pushing specific product categories that drive volumes on the e-trading web site

Dis-intermediation - put plainly, it means knocking the middleman to the other side of the moon - is one of the prime benefits that e-trading portals such as Baazee.com offer consumers. The payoff: products retailed at lower prices, of course.

Which, by itself, is a good enough reason-to-buy.

This last is the creative peg that Baazee.com has used to communicate the ‘really low prices' of jewellery retailed on the site - through its latest two-commercial campaign. The ads, conceived by Contract Advertising, go like this. The first ad ('ring') is about this man who surprises his wife with a diamond ring. The wife is quite thrilled, but is eager to know ‘what's it for'. Attributing no reason, the husband shrugs, ‘Just, yaar.' On her guard, the woman wants to know if this has something to do with his not being around for their anniversary. The husband rubbishes the thought. Unconvinced, she agonizes over this - till a new thought strikes her. ‘You're not seeing someone else… are you?' she ventures timidly, then backs off apologetically seeing her husband's hurt _expression. The voiceover chips in: ‘On Baazee.com, manufacturers sell diamonds directly at wholesale prices. So you can buy one… just like that.'

The second ad (‘telephone' - which is scheduled to break in early March) is about the wife from the first ad (which makes this ad somewhat of a Part II, although it can function as a standalone spot too) weeping as she holds a phone to her ear. A concerned voice on the other end of the line wants to know what has upset her. ‘You know… you know Vinay?' the wife asks, alluding to her husband. ‘I think… I think he's seeing someone.' Her confidant wants to know if she's ‘seen them together'. The answer is in the negative. ‘Did she call?' Negative. ‘Did he say something?' Negative. The confidant demands to know the grounds for her suspicion. ‘He just gave me a diamond ring,' the wife sobs.

‘A diamond ring?' an awkward silence is followed by a tentative, ‘So?' The wife immediately says, ‘You don't understand? Just like that! There was no reason. There was no reason…' Fadeout, followed by a super reading: ‘Diamonds. Now at really low prices.'

Before getting into the specifics of the two commercials, understanding the context of the campaign is pertinent. Baazee.com, through a series of branding initiatives, has positioned itself as ‘India's biggest marketplace.' At least in virtual terms. The fact that a wide range of products - from cell phones to telescopes - is retailed on the site has also been communicated to the consumer. Now, the focus seems to be on pushing specific categories, especially those that drive volumes on the site.

"We have successfully communicated the range of products that are available on Baazee, but, at the end of the day, consumers don't go for everything," says Vikas Bahl, associate vice-president, Contract Advertising. "So we are now pitching categories that are either doing well or have the potential to do well, bringing the consumer benefit up-front and thereby pushing consumers onto trading via the Net." Interestingly, the consumer benefit need not always translate into discounts. The benefit could well be ‘availability', especially when the products are unique and hard to come by.

Categories that are faring particularly well on Baazee are non-conventional electronic durables (cameras, CD writers, VCDs, MP3 players, cell phones etc), home and lifestyle products (beanbags, Feng Shui bric-a-brac etc), health and beauty products… and jewellery. "We have seen that most of the buyers in jewellery are loyal, and make a lot of repeat purchases," says a Baazee.com spokesperson. "Jewellery contributes somewhere between 15 to 20 per cent of the annualized gross merchandise sales. It is also one of the higher revenue generators for Baazee, because of the nature of the category, per se." She adds that the category has shown double-digit growth over the past year. "We are convinced that we will be able to show similar growths in the near future as well."

Specific to the jewellery campaign, while the idea was clearly about bringing out Baazee's edge in terms of pricing, the agency reveals that it had to "walk a tightrope". While the communication had to beam the ‘inexpensive jewels' message, care had to be taken to ensure that it didn't throw the shadow of ‘cheapness' over the jewellery. "While we had to say cheap, we couldn't let what we said take away from the charm of diamonds," says Aarti Nichlani, who scripted the ads. "We had to keep the diamond's aura and specialness intact, which is why, when the man gifts his wife the ring, she is elated," continues Parveez Shaikh, creative director, Contract Advertising. "He might have bought it cheap, but for her, a diamond is special." And for special occasions. So why would the thought of an inexpensive diamond as a gift enter the poor woman's head?

The creative idea of a surprise gift raising somebody's suspicion has its genesis in human nature. And here's how the distillation of the idea occurred. "We had to say that diamonds are now inexpensive," Bahl recalls. "The consequence of diamonds being inexpensive is that one can buy more diamonds. From that sprang the thought that you can buy diamonds for no reason - which is not something common to this category. Now what often happens when you do something nice without giving reasons is that people start looking for a reason, a motive. The thought of what an unexpected gift can do is based on this simple insight." Bahl adds that both ads were formally researched on couples - "not men and women as separate groups, but couples" - and both ads went down very well. "Women agreed that this would, perhaps, be their reaction to a surprise gift, while men simply shrugged and smiled as if to say, ‘See?'" Bahl recounts.

A striking aspect of the ad is its look. Very non-addy. Almost home video-like. Which is, in a way, the Baazee treatment. "We shot this on DV to give it the home video feel," says Shaikh. "There is no music, only ambient noise. The idea was to focus on the two characters and make it look as real as possible." In this context, Shilpa Kadam (the wife) deserves mention. She weaves through a range of emotions with dexterity, evoking concern and sympathy, and is particularly good in the second ad.

With this campaign, Baazee has made its first move towards pushing prime categories. And that this would form the bulk of Baazee's communication here onwards appears to be the case. "The communication will address the task of convincing the consumer to buy these categories, on Baazee," says the spokesperson.

Agency : Contract Advertising, Mumbai

The Team:

Creative : Parveez Shaikh, Aarti Nichlani

Account Management : Vikas Bahl, Ayesha Ghosh, Vishal Gupta

Baazee.com Team : Gautam Thakar, Harmeet Anand

Filmmaker : Abhiney Deo

Production House : Ramesh Deo Productions

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