Yash Bhatia

Here's why Yu Foodlabs parodied Shark Tank in its maiden campaign

Founders Bharat Bhalla and Varun Kapur talk about the IPL campaign, and how they'll drive the brand's R2E offerings.

Thanks to the popular business reality series ‘Shark Tank’, terms like funding, equity and investment have now become a part of water cooler chat. Yu Foodlabs, in its recent campaign #AbNoCompromise, seems to have taken inspiration from ‘Shark Tank’, as they have created a parody of the show named as 'Whale Tank'.

Bharat Bhalla, co-founder, Yu Foodlabs, shares, “We conceptualised the video and tried to make it relatable for the common man. If somebody watches ‘Shark Tank’, he can understand the format. But nowadays, everybody’s talking about funding. There are many shows on the topic, apart from ‘Shark Tank’. People talk about it and, in terms of the relatability factor, it goes beyond ‘Shark Tank’.

Produced by 91 Films, the campaign showcases Yu Foodlabs as a homegrown (Indian) brand in in a witty and funny way.

Some of the dialogues in the ad, are, in fact, memes from ‘Shark Tank’. Apart from the co-founders (Bhalla and Varun Kapur), the ad also features cricketer and brand ambassador Hardik Pandya, who’s also a strategic investor.

Founders/co-founders are now becoming the ambassadors of their respective brands. This trend has been observed in the start-up sector over the last few years. Just look at Anupam Mittal of Shaadi.com, Lenskart’s Peyush Bansal, or Alpino Health Foods’ Chetan Kanani.  

Talking about the trend, Bhalla highlights, “The script required it and we were keen on doing it. We had two options, to get actors or feature ourselves in the ad. We are not actors, but can narrate a story in a realistic way. We didn’t have to act, as we do it on a regular basis.”

Kapur adds, “We wanted to make the campaign relatable and it was a concerted decision to have us (the co-founders) in the campaign. We’ve built the company and can communicate the story in an original way.”

“The campaign’s backdrop is investor pitch, a popular format nowadays. The essence of this ad is that marketing is a key element in building a brand. Pandya steps in and says, ‘I will take care of this’. The ad has a relatability factor. Pandya brings the education and communication factor to the table.” 

Betting on digital

The campaign is digital-heavy, and the brand is advertising only on JioCinema during the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). The brand’s TG (15-30 age bracket) tends to watch matches on their mobile phones, laptops, etc.

Bhalla mentions, “JioCinema can help us refine the target audience. We can target audiences on the basis of cities, age groups, etc. This is possible with digital, but not with television.”

The campaign was designed with Pandya, keeping the IPL in mind. The association as investor and ambassador with the cricketer also made sense for the brand, as India is hosting an ICC World Cup this year, and there’s a T20 world cup ahead in 2024.  

“The brand is looking to use Pandya in the coming cricketing events as well. The campaigns will revolve around the same philosophy and core concept. We launched our maiden campaign during the IPL. We want to learn from it and come up with something bigger and better for the World Cup,” Bhalla says.  

The brand is also looking to partner with two major airlines for this campaign: Akasa Air and SpiceJet. 

“The campaign’s message will be featured on the front headrest of the two airlines. The 25 lakh boarding passes will also carry the message.”

As far as the marketing budget goes, 50% will be allocated towards digital and the other half will be assigned to in-store, airlines, various campuses, etc.

Retail strategy 

The brand is present across 4,000 offline stores. It has its own website, and is also present on e-commerce/quick commerce platforms.

The brand earns 40% of its revenue from online sales. Of that, 25% comes from q-commerce. The remaining 30-35% comes from offline and 25-30% comes from serving in airlines, multiplexes, vending machines, corporate/education campuses.

In a country like India, where every household has a live kitchen, the changing lifestyle has created a demand for ready-to-eat product categories. Catering to this demand, the brand is offering SKUs across instant noodles, oats, pasta and even ‘halwa’

“When we started offering pasta and ‘halwa’, nobody in the market was providing it. We actually got the first-mover advantage. We currently have 10-15 products in the pipeline that will be introduced in the market soon,” Bhalla highlights.

Have news to share? Write to us atnewsteam@afaqs.com