Ubaid Zargar

The Whole Truth’s new campaign might just turn consumers into deinfluencers

The brand has launched a website as part of a larger campaign where consumers can give out ‘Kachra Awards’ to brands.

The Whole Truth’s latest ad film is a comical spin on contemporary discussions surrounding malpractice in marketing. Misleading ads, exaggerated claims, dubious packaging - you name it. The entirety of such misdemeanour has been presented in an 8-minute sketch featuring The Whole Truth CEO Shashank Mehta.

The film starts with the protagonist Gagan Sangvi, the CEO of an FMCG company called ‘Trash Foods’, appearing on a podcast, where a young host (shoutout BeerBiceps) asks him some prudent questions about his company’s policies. As the CEO starts waffling about the mighty rectitude of the brand’s modus operandi, the film quickly transitions into a boardroom discussion. 

The discussion is carried out between the company representatives, and a special guest- Shashank Mehta, who has been invited to help the brand ‘appear’ healthier in the eyes of the consumer. To sum it up, the film sees Mehta implore the arrogant FMCG chief to produce better products instead of playing around with labels and colours until he finally gives up on the ‘trash’ and storms out of the room.

The ad film concludes with Mehta inviting the real-world audience to visit a dedicated website (www.KachraAwards.com), where they can hand out ‘Kachra Awards’ to brands that they deem are unethical and deserve to be trashed. Effectively, turning consumers into deinfluencers. 

Here is how the film came about

"We wanted to actually take you inside the meeting room of a big food marketing company and show you that what's happening on your packet of food is not by chance but by design. The intent is to take the consumer behind the scenes and show them what really goes on," explains Shashank Mehta.

Shashank Mehta
Shashank Mehta

“The way your packet of food looks is not by chance, it is by design. Someone is applying a lot of science and thought in making sure that something, which is maybe not as healthy as it sounds, dupes the consumer. We are hoping to expose it all with humour.”

Given the 8-minute long film is clearly not a typical ad, and obviously not suitable for TV or other forms of advertising, the strategy for the brand here is to push the content organically in hopes of seeing audiences pick it up.

When asked about the media mix for the film, Mehta says, "Primarily it will go out through our Instagram and YouTube. Hopefully, it should get picked up by influencers whose thoughts and vision align with ours. We are hoping to build some trust and make this a conversation in popular media."

The Kachra Awards

Oh, and what about those Kachra Awards? Mehta elaborates, "The idea came from the thought that food marketers are also people. Maybe they don't know how much trust they have with their consumers. We thought, how do we enable consumers to give feedback? That's where the Kachra Awards came in. If you've ever felt fooled by any food, give that food this certificate. Maybe that's the feedback that big food needs to feel that they should change."

The Whole Truth presents Kachra Awards
The Whole Truth presents Kachra Awards

Interestingly, this campaign aligns with new regulations from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), which require advertisers to certify that their ads do not contain misleading claims. Advertisers must now provide proof of uploading these certificates to relevant publishers for record-keeping.

Mehta comments, "We've had a string of disillusioning events with our food. This includes toxic masalas, misleading healthy drink labels, and controversies like the Bournvita incident. These events have prompted discussions about food safety and honesty in marketing. The new mandate will help stir this conversation further."

The long-format video is reflective of the larger brand strategy, it appears. In fact, The Whole Truth has its own weekly food and fitness newsletter called ‘Truth be Told’ (TBT). Moreover, even the brand’s Instagram captions or YouTube descriptions, by and large, are pretty long and often very descriptive. And there is a reason.

Kachra Awards template
Kachra Awards template

"We believe our audience is intelligent. Long-form content done well leaves a deep impression, which is far more valuable than a short reel. Through humour, we are educating our audience, giving them 'aha' moments about what really happens in the industry."

Business footprint

Discussing The Whole Truth's business strategy, Mehta says, "We are an India-focused brand, targeting the top eight to ten cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, and Chandigarh. We aim to enter food categories where consumers have been misled and create products that live up to our promise of being 100% clean."

Regarding distribution, Mehta adds, "Our strategy is to find where our consumers are and serve them there. We are still predominantly an online brand and will continue to be for a long while. Quick commerce has been a boon, and our website remains a big part of our mix. We will never compromise our brand promise for a lower price, targeting the urban consumer of India."

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