Aishwarya Ramesh

A magic 'switch' for virality?

It's a never-ending battle between content consumers, content creators and the algorithm that stands between the two. In today's digital landscape, the nature of viral content is fast-changing. Everyone is trying to attain their 5 seconds of fame — whether you're a marketer trying to grab consumers’ attention, or a content creator who wants their work to get noticed. Panasonic Life Solutions’ new brand campaign — ‘Naye India Ke Badhte Load Ke Liye’ is a play on this thought.

In the new TVC, the focus is on Bakul Bose – a middle aged social media addict — who is always on the lookout for new ways to create viral videos. A press release mentioned that the intended message of this TVC is that Panasonic Life Solutions (also known as Anchor by Panasonic) switches can bear the burden of excessive load even when people are being ‘experimental’.

Panasonic Life Solutions as a company is a one-stop shop for complete home solutions and an industrial service provider. We had the opportunity to catch up with Sunil Narula, senior vice-president, marketing, Panasonic Life Solutions, to understand the campaign and its objectives better. Leo Burnett, the agency the brand has been working with for the past year or so, is responsible for this campaign.

Sunil Narula
Sunil Narula

We asked Narula about the timing of the campaign and its objective, who says, “We have 50-55 per cent market share, but as soon as you enter the space of premium switches, our market shares dip to 10-12 per cent or even less, in certain cases. One objective was to gain market share by connecting with a larger audience and then eventually grow in that category. The brief to Leo Burnett was to ensure that this category gets ‘premium-ised.’ The second objective was to connect with a younger audience.”

“Our focus was always on retail level and BTL advertising. Over the last few years, our focus has changed a bit and we’re focussing on using mass media to effectively connect with consumers. Besides our conventional campaign, we are also using digital and OTT platforms to ensure the younger audience is more strongly connected to us,” Narula tells us. The media spends for this campaign has been divided as such — 70 per cent is focussed on ATL advertising and the rest is being spent on BTL advertising.

“A lot of money and effort is spent ensuring that dealers are pushing the product off the shelves. This includes visibility at the retail level and incentives given to dealers. The campaign gives this offline activity an added push,” he says. As nuclear families grow, Narula expects millennials to be the growth drivers in this category in the next year or so. “More people are moving out of their family houses and they have a requirement for the products we provide whether it’s fans, switches or wiring. That’s the audience we’re looking to tap into it,” he informs.

He contests that the TG’s profile hasn’t changed much. “By and large it’s the same, but in terms of visibility and brand perception we’d like to bring about a change. All these years, our brand has been positioned as a ‘value for money’ brand, this is our first step towards premium-isation of the brand. In the same breath, what we’re also trying to do is interact with influencers such as architects and builders, and then sell to the community directly,” Narula adds.

When asked about some of the challenges that plague the category, he tells us, “The price of copper has a tendency to fluctuate, so the buying patterns of dealers also tends to vary,” he confides. “The real estate sector plays an important part in ensuring that our category sees smooth sales. If the overall construction activity is down, if houses are not being sold, then it has an impact in terms of tertiary sales and secondary sales from the retail outlet,” he elaborates.

What are the most and least used medium of communication for the brand? “India is the only market in the world where consumers have a role to play in buying these parts for their houses. If you look at the market abroad, consumers have no role to play. This is the only market where you can see brands advertising for wires, cement, paint, etc. It’s an influence-driven category, so TV becomes an important medium for us,” he explained.

The least used medium is digital, but they’re working on changing that right now. “We never had a digital agency in the past. But if you don’t keep up with the new age customer, how they think and interact with brands, it would be suicidal,” he shares.

According to Rohit Raj, creative chief and co-founder, Glitch, it's possible that the brand may have gotten their target demographic wrong. "When someone is shifting houses, a switch is the last thing on their mind, if they're staying on rent. Consumers who are 25 and above, more likely to be potential house owners, may pay more attention to such details," he thinks.

Rohit Raj
Rohit Raj

Raj opines that the ad was well shot but the product seemed to be a force fit for the concept. “It seems as if they’ve tried to emulate what the TG does — create lots of content. But the problem is that in the ad, the product is not easily noticeable at first. I’m not sure how much thought went into the implementation of the ad,” he says. We asked him about the changing nature of viral content and he mentioned that the ways of measurement are moving beyond likes to shares, comments and ultimately, impact.

We also spoke to Sumanto Chattopadhyay, chairman and chief creative officer at 82.5 Communications, to understand the nuances of content creation and virality today. He believes that content needs to be meaningful in order to go viral. “It should have a lot of meaning for the target audience rather than being focussed on the product. A piece of content with a storyline is more likely to go viral,” he tells us.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay
Sumanto Chattopadhyay

Chattopadhyay, a content creator himself, runs an educational YouTube channel called ‘The English Nut’ where he focusses on imparting knowledge about the English language and its nuances. During the course of the conversation, he points out that these days, things such as fake news are going viral for the wrong reasons and it’s more difficult for organic content to go viral. “Today you need to spend a lot of money to make something go viral. There is a huge spike in the amount of content that’s getting created and as a result, content has a shorter shelf life,” he signs off.

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