Yash Bhatia

Wakefit ropes in international stars to break through clutter

While Indian mattress companies typically feature Indian celebrities in their campaigns, Wakefit opted for David Warner. Phalguni Aneja, brand head, explains why.

After roping in Ayushmann Khurrana in June 2023 as its brand ambassador, the mattress brand Wakefit roped in Australian cricketer David Warner for its latest campaign in June 2024. But during this time, the brand was not incommunicado.

In the meanwhile, the Bengaluru-based company launched multiple content pieces without any A-listed celeb face from The Office to SRK 70-minute monologue to using International content creators.  Some of them also garnered traction on social media channels. 

We spoke to Phalguni Aneja, brand head, Wakefit.co who joined the company five months ago. Earlier she was with cure.fit, Johnson & Johnson and ITC.

While the brand runs multiple campaigns on social media platforms, only the campaign with the celebrity face is widely broadcasted on traditional media.

According to Aneja, the content-first piece intends to get brand awareness and brand love. She believes, that if the content is good it will automatically travel on platforms like Instagram and YouTube.

“In an era where creators and influencers are becoming the bigger brands on social media unless the brand attempts to put out branded pieces of content as opposed to pure-play ads, they will lose the race,” she adds.  

Aneja explains that due to viral content pieces, the chances of the audience seeing the product ad becomes high, as they feel incentivised to watch the product ad.  

For a big-budget ad campaign, the mattress company has Spring Marketing Capital, a brand consultant agency on board, and for daily ad campaigns, the agency has set up an in-house team.

Recently for the launch of the Wakefit Zense range of products, the brand launched an ad campaign featuring  David Warner as Pushpa Raj, the lead character from Pushpa, whose sequel is set to release this year. 

The player enacts Pushpa's iconic style on his Instagram account and sometimes on the cricket field as well. The cricketer has been a big fan of Allu Arjun’s dance steps. 

According to Aneja, Warner is an A-listed celebrity and pop culture icon in India due to his popularity as he plays for Delhi Capitals in IPL. The brand roped in Australian cricketers as the ad was launched during the IPL and the ICC Men's T20 World Cup.

“His ability to engage with both Indian and International audiences and the creative hook of a non-Indian person speaking in an Indian language help us break the clutter. Warner's known love for Pushpa and his mimicking of Allu Arjun's dialogues provided a natural and engaging connection,” she adds.

The brand also intended to release the ad as Pushpa 2: The Rule is releasing this year, and cricket events like the IPL and ICC Men’s T20 World Cup took place simultaneously.

The brand also used an international face as they wanted to be peculiar and break the clutter. “In IPL, many brands associate with the teams or Indian players, which are tried and tested formulas, we were looking to do something different,” she highlights.

This is not the first time, the brand has utilised an international celebrity that resonates with an Indian audience. In May 2024 they launched an ad with international content creators Drew Hicks and Agu Stanley who are well-known for their Hindi fluency and for creating humourous videos.

Aneja says the objective of the content should be to drive conversations and create engagement. One of the hooks, we identified is that influencers speak in a language which they’re not expected to.

“On social media, it's all about what makes you stop scrolling. So, when a foreign influencer speaks in Hindi or another Indian language, it catches attention. This approach was planned to some extent and identified as a pillar for driving content based on influencers who talk in unexpected languages,” she adds. 

The brand is leveraging Indian and International influencers with a hook of language unexpectedness.

The brand is taking a social-media first approach as its target group ranges from 25 to 45 years old group in the top 25 Indian cities. 

Celeb endorsement 

After the pandemic, mattress companies have used celebrity power to attract consumers. Kareena Kapoor Khan for Spring Mattress, Anil Kapoor for The Sleep Company, Vidya Balan for Sleepfresh Mattress. Well, the examples are many. Why is there a spike in celeb endorsement for mattress companies? 

She says the importance of sleep health has evolved significantly after the pandemic. Earlier mattresses used to be more of a commodity now customers have started prioritising them, majorly after the pandemic.

“Companies have been quick to pick up on this trend, and celebrities. Sleep and mattresses category needs a trust factor which can be provided by the celebs,” she mentions.

To break the clutter the brand needs to use celeb effectively and craft stories around them.

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