Aishwarya Ramesh

RazorpayX turns to start-up CEOs to endorse its payroll solutions

The first, in a series of ads conceptualised by Talented, features Shashank Mehta - the CEO of The Whole Truth Foods.

It is not every day that the CEO of a company endorses the products of another. Razorpay’s latest campaign features Shashank Mehta, founder & CEO of The Whole Truth Foods, vouching for the convenience of its product - RazorpayX Payroll.

The first phase of the campaign was released on Wednesday (May 18) and featured Mehta battling a host of payroll compliance-related problems. Startups normally function with a slim team, where the members have multiple responsibilities. Automating payroll makes the lives of members easier, and this is what the campaign aims to highlight.

As per the latest RazorpayX Payroll insights report, organisations saved 151,680 man-hours over payroll and manual compliance processes using automated payroll software. Platform adoption also grew by 3.7X in FY’22.

The second phase of the campaign will be live across 11 cities, including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. It will feature startup founders like Ankur Warikoo of, Ragini Das of Leap.Club, Awais Ahmed of Pixxel, Sanskriti Dawle of Thinkerbell Labs, and Siddharth Maheshwari of Newton School.

We caught up with Gaurav Ramdev, head of marketing, RazorpayX; PG Aditya, founder of Talented (it conceptualised the campaign); and Mehta, over a call.

Ramdev says that Razorpay is all set to become India’s first full stack financial organisation. Its vision is to be India’s financial backbone.

Gaurav Ramdev
Gaurav Ramdev

“Our products enable seamless money flow into and out of accounts. Payroll is one of the products that we built, keeping this in mind, and we want to scale it.”

While researching, Ramdev and his team had to speak to customers and prospective buyers. “We came upon an insight we hadn’t previously worked on. Every founder wants to scale his organisation, create a brand or a product and monitor sales revenue. No founder is looking at handling finances. It is a recurring problem that occurs as soon as payroll time comes around - on the 25th of every month.”

Deepak Thomas, director at Lucifer Circus Production House, reveals that the ‘other’ Mehtas in the ad were actors who donned masks to play the role.

Take a look at the different materials that the team experimented with, below.

For masks, we tried all kinds of material - cloth, cardboard, silicon and even paper - before turning to 3D printing,” adds Thomas.

Deepak Thomas
Deepak Thomas

However, the main challenge for the team, was on the day of the shoot itself. “Since the eyes of the actors and the masks didn’t align, we couldn’t create gaps on the eye of the masks. So, the actors were unable to see once they wore the mask. The actors had to be assisted throughout the shoot on how to move around and position themselves.”

An actor being positioned on set
An actor being positioned on set

The team decided to pun on Mehta’s name - for it to become ‘Main Tha’.

Talented's Aditya credits Binaifer Dulani, co-founder at Talented, with the ad’s creative execution. It came about while she was having a conversation with her friend - who also happened to be a startup founder. Her friend told her, “I wish there were 10 of me to finish all the work that has to be done.” An idea was born.

Aditya adds that when they thought of casting Mehta in the lead role, they also wanted to make him a part of the creative idea itself.

“What (actor) Ryan Reynolds does with his company in the US is what Shashank has been doing with The Whole Truth Foods in India. He has figured out how to leverage the space of founder and brand ambassador in the advertising space too. He’s already a person donning so many hats - in addition to acting in his own ads. Imagine if this person also has to handle payroll responsibilities in his company.”

PG Aditya
PG Aditya

Aditya also reveals, “A silly idea to pun on Shashank’s last name became the reason the ad went even further into a song. With this ad, people are noticing that B2B advertising no longer has a glass ceiling, in terms of its creative process, production value, craft, etc. Credit goes to the director and the production team for that.”

Ramdev mentions that the entrepreneur ecosystem in India is extremely large, and it is the B2B audience he wanted to target with this commercial. He adds that the media mix is going to be social digital platforms (namely, LinkedIn and Twitter), outdoor and print.

This isn't the first ad Mehta has starred in. He has starred in multiple ads for his own company. All of these ads emphasised on 'the truth' and try to call out commonplace industry practices.

Ultimately, Mehta is the founder and brand custodian of a completely different company - even if it is one that uses Razorpay’s services. When asked if he considered that there might be spillover from the brand value that Mehta has, Ramdev was quick to disagree.

“Shashank is both a customer of the product and a founder, and we did not think of it like that at all. We were focusing on how to present Shashank in this ad - balancing his personality with Razorpay’s message.”

The idea was first narrated to Mehta in the form of a dramatised testimonial. “I wouldn’t do it for all the money in the world if I didn’t believe in the product, and I wouldn’t charge a penny if I did.” True to his word, Mehta did not charge any fee for acting in the commercial.

Shashank Mehta (L)
Shashank Mehta (L)

“We’ve talked about our own POV on celebrity advertising in the past, and I was happy that Razorpay decided to cast a real founder in the ads. It’s more effective than plastering a famous face (that no one believes in) over a product. It’s a leap for the startup ecosystem, when one new-age company thinks about casting a person from another to get its message across. Many companies can consider this as another option to using a brand ambassador,” Mehta concludes.

Campaign Credits -


Aabhaas Sreshtha - Creative

Binaifer Dulani - Creative

PG Aditiya - Creative

Priyanka Borah - Brand Strategy

Teresa Sebastian - Creative

Production House - Lucifer Circus

Director - Deepak Thomas

Executive Producer- Gaurav Chanana

Senior Producer - Garima Vohra

DOP - Tiyash Sen

Music - Dhaval Tandon

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