Shreyas Kulkarni
Advertising

Demand has picked up more swiftly in Tier 3 and 4 towns than metros says Bata India's Anand Narang

He spoke about Bata India's new campaign that wants 2020 to end right away and is also accompanied by the launch of a new footwear collection.

To yearn for a kinder New Year has become a habit of sorts. From young, restless kids to weary, wise adults, the stresses of the pandemic year have left everyone with little to no energy...

Such has been the stress that you must have heard someone on a Zoom (video) call exclaim, “I’m done with this year.” There’s a good chance that you’ve said this out loud, or in your mind, from time to time.

Now, imagine a brand taking this very declaration that you’re done with this year, to build eagerness for the one to come. That’s what Bata India, the 89-year-old footwear and fashion accessory brand, has tried to achieve with its new ad campaign.

One glance at the Bata website and you can see a range of footwear options for women and men betraying the image of the black office and school shoes. From ballerinas and stilettos to Mocassins and sneakers and prices starting from the three digits that go up to Rs 9,999 (as per the website); the brand caters to every footwear need.

Featuring actress Kriti Sanon, the 31-second ad called ‘Kick out 2020 & Get Ready Again with Bata’ shows her returning home after shopping. She has a (face) mask on. When her brother asks her about the (shopping) bags, she replies that she’s done with the year and “that it is time to kick out 2020.”

We see her show off the different kinds of footwear she’s bought: one for fitness, one for the time when she will visit her friends and one to wear when she celebrates with her family. She then presents her brother with his ‘New Year’ gift, a stylish shoe pair for his next date.

The campaign is also accompanied by the launch of a new collection ‘Ready Again’, which includes a wide variety of footwear to go with every outfit and occasion. Casuals, festive, fitness, fashion, you name it and the ‘Ready Again’ collection has all the comfortable and stylish designs.

What’s worth noting is the fact that this is Bata India’s first ad campaign since the COVID-induced lockdown. After all, when everyone was stuck inside their homes and only stepped out when needed, to buy a new shoe pair was the last thing on one’s mind. Anupama Ramaswamy, managing partner and national creative director, Dentsu Impact told us that she felt it’s (the ad) a sweet thought. And it resonates with the current sentiment. However, it could have been produced a tad bit better.

Anand Narang
Anand Narang

Anand Narang, VP marketing, Bata India Limited told us it (the campaign) was inspired by the real-life conversations that we all have been having since the last 6-7 months. “You can do a quick sweep of social media, and you will find a lot of relatable content blaming everything dreadful on 2020… led us to come up with the overarching theme for our campaign,” remarked Narang.

Future indicators

The last six to seven months weren’t the best for brands in terms of sales unless it sold essential items. What are the indicators telling you now for the next few months? Said Narang, “Owing to relatively lesser number of cases, demand has picked up more swiftly in Tier 3 and 4 towns in comparison to metros where cases are relatively higher”.

He revealed demand, since the economy opened up in June, had picked up week after week and while people earlier opted for fitness and casual wear, now with the festive season kicking in, the demand for fashion and festive footwear has also picked up.

Digital domination versus offline’s future

Ever since the lockdown, digital has dominated shopping trends while offline retail outlets floundered. We asked Narang whether digital will dominate Bata India’s sales or will offline sales make a comeback. He told us that during the pandemic, it (Bata) rolled out our presence across marketplaces like Ajio, Amazon, Flipkart and Myntra. “With consumers shopping remotely, we are seeing an increase in our online sales. We believe the trend will continue for the festive season as well,” the revealed VP marketing.

He further said Bata India had segmented its consumers in three categories- Digital Natives, Digital Adopters and Digital Novices.

1. Digital Natives (people who are comfortable with technology) - We are promoting and engaging with the customers through our largest Bata store – the Bata.in website where we have 6000+ styles. Our website continues to do well.

2. Digital Adopters (people who are new to technology) - We have introduced Bata ChatShop, a shopping service over WhatsApp that allows customers to remotely shop from their neighbourhood stores by interacting with store managers… also launched an application called ‘Find a Pair’ for our store staff - In case a pair of shoes that the customer wants is not available in one store, it can be sourced from another store nearby with the help of this app, and is then shipped directly to the customer’s house…

… Also recently launched a new service called ‘Bata Shoe Size Finder’. It enables consumers to find their exact shoe size virtually. The feature works on all smartphone devices – Android and iOS and is available on Bata.in and Bata ChatShop.

3. Digital Novices (elderly, children and homemakers) - we have launched Bata Store on Wheels and Hush Puppies Store on Wheels for people who haven’t been stepping out of the house. We're reaching out to them right at their doorstep through this channel, and it will continue till the situation demands.

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar
Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, chief creative officer, Contract Advertising, the agency behind the campaign, told us that Bata has always launched a campaign around this time of the year under ‘Surprisingly Bata’ and that’s because whenever people saw the range of footwear collection the brand had to offer, their first reaction was, “Yeh Bata Hai?”. He referenced this reaction to the campaign that featured Kriti Sanon and the late Sushant Singh Rajput.

Speaking about the ‘Kick Out’ campaign, he said, “Bata is an old brand (founded 1894) has gone through two world wars, a pandemic (Spanish flu of 1918), lots of ups and down… this year we played a similar thing of riding on negative sentiment and converting it into positive sentiment… that’s how the first thinking started,” and added the campaign will run till the end of the year with more interesting stuff in the pipeline.

Mahabaleshwarka spoke about the first day of the shoot (his first since the lockdown). While he was apprehensive, he saw everyone come... Kriti, the DOP, the crew and get into… Everyone took the necessary precautions… Post the first shoot apprehensions, he’s been on a few more ad shoots since then.

He agreed once 2020 ends, the pandemic won’t go away as many hope, he stressed on the fact that people don’t want to carry negative sentiment with them and while there will be apprehensions (change, virus, stepping out) “let them come along with us and kick out 2020.”