Abid Hussain Barlaskar

Rants to reality Wakefit’s lockdown branded content has it all

The seven videos that feature popular actors like Rasika Dugal and Sumeet Vyas touch upon issues ranging from pesky landlords to missing domestic helps.

‘Open Letters’, the latest ad campaign from startup mattress brand Wakefit.co, is a series of collective rants. The series includes seven lockdown special videos, which are a collection of what people can’t have, and what they’re having too much of. In one video, TVF star Sumeet Vyas is complaining about the endless supply of dirty utensils in the kitchen sink. Vyas then goes on to talk about the various employee engagement programs initiated by HR managers with the employers.

In another video, actress Rasika Dugal can be seen complaining about not getting enough credit for the background support work she put in for her husband’s food photo post on social media. The topics range from bachelors missing restaurant prepared food, to professionals missing their domestic help, to doctors addressing pesky landlords and the heroic neighbourhood grocery store owner.

The campaign was crafted by Spring Marketing Capital and executed by Twilight Entertainment. Apart from the extremely topical and relevant stories, there are several things that stand out about the campaign. All the videos have been executed in single takes and the actors were remotely directed over a video call. The production cost is a fraction of what it would have been if it was shot in a complete studio setup. There has been huge shifts in consumer behaviour and sleep is key to one’s overall health and well-being. The characters in the videos range from a young bachelor to a senior citizen. But since mattresses aren’t ‘essentials’, and almost all the retail channels for non-essential commodities in the country are shut, so why advertise?

The campaign has its roots in a recent survey conducted by Wakefit.co, which involved 1,500 participants. Almost half of respondents said that they were worried about something related to COVID-19. It could be job layoffs, pay cuts, family getting infected, living away from families, etc. “We had to create content that would assure them that they are not alone in this,” says Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder, Wakefit.co.

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda
Chaitanya Ramalingegowda

The brand’s TG is anyone earning around Rs 25-30k per month in any part of India. “We never wanted to be in the mass premium space. The content from the brand is also aimed at appealing to a larger audience. Also, we are in a category where the whole family gets involved in the purchase. It is not a male or female dominated decision making process. We want to address all,” Ramalingegowda explains.

Four years back, when the brand entered the market, sales beyond the top 7-8 cities stood at 8-9 per cent. Today, the contribution of smaller cities and towns has gone up to around 30 per cent. And so, plans are in place to drive it further.

Sandeep Balan, partner, branded content at Spring Marketing Capital, who also penned the ad copies, says that the stories have all been taken from popular discourse. “Hating webinars or complaints of household chores, all of them. Examples like soap residue on washed utensils, the gardening mishap, etc., have all been taken from conversations happening around me among friends and colleagues on WhatsApp groups. I used to note things down as and when they came. Even in my case, whenever I used to post food photos online, my wife would complain about not crediting her for her effort in the background for chopping, etc. In case of many of the rants, people echoed each other’s sentiments,” Balan says.

"In case of many of the rants, people echoed each other’s sentiments."
Sandeep Balan

The stories were then tied back to the importance of sleeping well in the middle of the crisis.

Sandeep Balan
Sandeep Balan

Producing films in a lockdown meant that they had to be directed remotely. “We had to depend a lot on the actors. While the actors are doing multiple takes, you have no clue of what’s happening and then you receive a cut and give feedback. The cost is much lesser, there are obvious fixed costs, like the talent and production, including the pre/post production work. But there is no cost of the set, lighting, expanded crew, etc. Multiple actors would also multiply cost. We are lucky to have cracked a monologue format,” Balan says.

"Directions, like ‘please do this shot once more with a different emotion’, were done on a video call."
Chaitanya Ramalingegowda

Sharing his experience, Ramalingegowda says, “We all had to unlearn the conceptualisation and execution of campaigns. The campaign was conceptualised, scripted, produced and distributed remotely. The direction was also done virtually. Directions, like ‘please do this shot once more with a different emotion’, were done on a video call. Scripts had to be revised and re-revised on video calls, too.”

“Unlike almost a decade back, when brand building required immense investments in media, we are lucky to be in a time when we can do the same with inexpensive content and democratised mediums, where only the thought matters other than the quality of content production,” he adds.

Ramalingegowda also reveals that with the lockdown in place, there has been significant shifts in consumers’ sleep behaviour. The line between sleep and work hours has blurred. In many companies, the work load has actually increased as the workforce is trying hard to add value to their customers, while not being able to sell to them. Again, due to the absence of domestic help, there is additional work at home.

"The number of hours that people sleep has reduced to 5-6 hours from 7-7.5 hours."
Chaitanya Ramalingegowda

The number of people going to bed post-midnight has increased to 35 per cent from 25 per cent in pre-COVID era. The number of hours that people sleep has reduced to 5-6 hours from 7-7.5 hours.

Meanwhile, Wakefit.co had paused all its sales-related activities due to the lockdown. Apart from the unavailability of logistics, the brand’s factory had also been shut since March 21. The brand is gradually resuming operations in the metro cities. But why advertise when products aren’t available in the market?

“While sales-oriented campaigns are out of the question, the campaign that we are currently running is aimed at staying engaged with our community,” Ramalingegowda signs off.