Aishwarya Ramesh

Varun Dhawan, CMO Damyant Singh Khanoria star in OPPO’s latest ad campaign

The digital-first campaign is centred on OPPO F21 Pro Series phone launch.

Actor Varun Dhawan was appointed as OPPO’s brand ambassador in 2021 and this year, he stars in a campaign for the launch of a new phone model - the F21 Pro Series. Dhawan is not the phone company’s only brand ambassador.

Earlier, in February 2022, OPPO released an ad featuring actor Ranbir Kapoor, who is the company’s other brand ambassador, for its line of Reno phones.

Of all endorsers that OPPO has, the most unlikeliest one featured prominently in the ad with Dhawan. It was none other than Damyant Singh Khanoria, OPPO’s chief marketing officer, who is seen in the ad answering Dhawan’s questions about the phone as a party rages on.

Over a call with afaqs!, Khanoria insists that his role in the film is incidental - meant purely to move the plot along and talk about the features of the phone. However, Khanoria’s appearance in these ads is indicative of a larger trend - of a company’s employees starring in ads for its products.

Recently, we spotted Shashank Mehta, CEO of The Whole Truth Foods, starring in a series of commercials that talked about the company’s product offering versus the healthy snacking options offered by other FMCG companies. In Diwali 2021, Jaskaran Kapany, Xiaomi’s head of marketing, made an appearance in one of the company’s commercials.

Xiaomi has featured multiple employees in its commercials, including India CEO Manu Jain and senior marketing manager Sandeep Sarma. There was also the infamous Abhinav Kumar, or the ‘Trivago guy’ as he’s better known, who went on to become the face of the brand, in quite the unintentional way.

Back to OPPO, Khanoria says that the phone’s launch, which is happening in the backdrop of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, is a challenging exercise. “We had to design the campaign, keeping multiple considerations in mind. These includes multiple waves of COVID and potential lockdowns. The whole campaign was built around the notion of creating content. We didn’t want it to look like an ad.

Damyant Singh Khanoria
Damyant Singh Khanoria

The campaign was conceptualised and executed by OML. In addition to Dhawan’s presence, the video also features influencers Raghav Juyal, Shakti Mohan, Dhanashree Verma and Avneet Kaur. Indian rapper Shah Rule also makes an appearance in the video.

Overall, the campaign can be broken up into three films. The first teaser shows Dhawan and his friends on a video call about getting together on April 12, without revealing any details, to create intrigue.

In the second teaser, Dhawan’s friends help him choose the perfect outfit for the event. The final teaser shows Dhawan, on the day of the party, in an elevator, clicking selfies in low light conditions, using the flagship Sony IMX709 selfie sensor of his F21 Pro, and sharing them with his friends.

Finally, the launch film (which is over 9 minutes long) shows Dhawan reaching the venue of his surprise birthday bash. Throughout the party, Dhawan is seen using the phone and Khanoria can be spotted talking about aspects of the phone and its features.

The digital-first campaign also has an influencer marketing leg. “Part of our strategy is based on the influencers we’ve selected. We want to promote the ad on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram,” mentions Khanoria.

Another big part of ensuring a good customer experience is to make sure that customers have easy access to service centres, adds Khanoria.

“We’re building a hybrid model for distribution. Our customers are users who enjoy the physical experience of picking the phone and trying it, and buying the products from brick and mortar stores. We try to pay equal attention to all our distribution channels, though,” he signs off.

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