Shreyas Kulkarni

JioMart’s e-comm supremacy ambitions start with a route through the IPL

It has rolled out four short ads that claim the good-old shopping experience but online.

The terribly crowded Indian e-commerce market is seeing a wealthy late entrant bang on its doors. JioMart, the Reliance-backed online grocery delivery turned e-commerce company, is using the Indian Premier League and the country’s love for rishtedaari to weave a space for itself.

Four short ads — two 25-seconders and two of 20-seconds — show the warm relationships people build with shopkeepers over the years and how one can experience the same when shopping on JioMart.

JioMart is a homegrown challenger taking on international e-commerce goliaths, says Kartik Smetacek. “The brief was to carve a distinctive space for the brand within the category with a mission to bring in the next billion customers into the world of e-commerce.”

He is the joint national creative director of L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, the Publicis-owned agency behind the four ads. The IPL campaign is the first “brand-building exercise” from the agency for JioMart. It’d earlier created campaigns for the e-commerce company’s offer properties like the Republic Day sale or the Holi sale.

A lot of times e-comm brands are customer focused and do a separate BTL content to the seller community, states the NCD and says, “Now it's a mature marketplace, there are millions of sellers to go with and hundreds of millions of buyers so we wanted a campaign broad enough to appeal to buyers and sellers.”

He talks of the warm experiences buyers and sellers have during the shopping transaction…  “Why can't we as an online player appropriate it because that is how Indians like to shop, that is where the idea came from.”

There is a risk that viewers already crowded under the weight of so many ads would only glance at the JioMart ads and fail to understand what it wishes to say. Adding to it, the mere 20 seconds is often not enough to drill the point into the minds of viewers.

Smetacek depends on repetition to battle these issues. He agrees the IPL’s ad duration is short but viewers will see the ad hundreds of times throughout the tournament. “Sometimes you move fast on the first viewing, but on the second viewing, the third viewing, the message sinks in,” he says.

The short duration of the ads during the T20 league is a topic most advertising agency folks share a love-hate relationship with every year. “You have no idea how little time 25 seconds is when you're sitting on an editing table,” he remarks.

The biggest challenge, says the NCD, was about the precision of the script. He credits his creative team led by Trishay Kotwal for the sharpness of the scripts and Chrome Pictures’ director Hemant Bhandari “who was like a surgeon and managed to tell the stories beautifully in 25 seconds for two ads and 20 seconds for the other two.”

Two of the four ads were shot in Mumbai and the rest in Delhi over three days. “We were editing on the fly so it did not take a lot of time,” he reveals.

In 2022, JioMart was an online grocery brand which actors Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh endorsed. They’re nowhere to be seen today. When asked about it and if the era of big celebrity spots was fading, Sametacek says when a celebrity lifts the film and does not just fit in the film you know you're on something good.

He says film stars sometimes become the clutter and it is very much true of the use of cricketers in ads these days. “You can't tell brands apart and so what differentiates advertising more than anything is the idea.

We did not even discuss celebrities with the client, he says and adds that they were confident of breaking the clutter because IPL is loud and noisy with over-the-top ads, "so we delivered something human, insightful, and softer which stands apart by being different from the typical IPL ads.”

Have news to share? Write to us