Ananya Pathak

“We now feel ready for offline marketing”: WOW Skin Science’s Madhur Acharya

The brand recently collaborated with PVR Cinemas, again. WOW’s marketing head talks about why offline sales are tempting for the eight-year-old, e-commerce brand.

In order to expand its base to the discerning consumers in south India, leading skincare and haircare brand WOW Skin Science recently collaborated with PVR Cinemas for the premiere of the multi-starrer Tamil film ‘Master’.

“We now feel ready for offline marketing”: WOW Skin Science’s Madhur Acharya

WOW’s first collaboration with PVR was in December 2020, during the premiere of the film ‘Wonder Woman’. With the first collaboration, the eight-year-old brand, which was pushing only its digital presence till then, started promoting itself in the offline space, Madhur Acharya, WOW’s head of marketing tells afaqs!.

According to Acharya, WOW now feels “ready” to promote itself in the offline world. “We are a strong digital brand, pan-India. In the last 2-3 months, we felt ready to divert into the offline space…”

Madhur Acharya
Madhur Acharya

Acharya joined WOW in August 2019 as a senior business development manager and went on to take up is current role in December 2020. He has previously worked with Forest Essentials as an e-commerce manager for about two-and-a-half years. Acharya also headed business development at Cobrapost (a non-profit news website and TV production house) for over a year and worked as a growth hacker, marketing at PosterGully (a web store) for over a year.

In his 10 years of industry experience, he has also worked with Just Dial as a quality analyst, iEnergizer (a business process outsourcing provider) as a process trainer and Freecultr (an online apparel and fashion brand) as alliances manager.

During the premiere of ‘Wonder Woman’, the brand’s digital films, starring actresses Disha Patani and Bhumi Pednekar respectively, were shown in over 800 screens across India.

Acharya tells us that WOW decided to go live in the offline space with the premiere of ‘Wonder Woman’ as it is also the official personal care merchandise for Warner Bros. Pictures. Warner Bros., a leading American film production and distribution company, is also the distributer of ‘Wonder Woman’. WOW’s kit (at the premiere) had superhero merchandise care products.

“We now feel ready for offline marketing”: WOW Skin Science’s Madhur Acharya

WOW’s second collaboration with PVR in Tamil Nadu was a result of the jump the brand saw in demand, in both offline and online space, after the first collaboration “We had never done any regional campaigns so far. And, ‘Master’ was one of the biggest releases in PVR after COVID broke out, we had to go for it…,” Acharya says.

“We now feel ready for offline marketing”: WOW Skin Science’s Madhur Acharya

Along with running ads in Tamil language during the movie, the brand also did sampling on site, held a quiz during the movie’s interval and set up canopy stands in about 27 PVRs in the state. It also organised an event, with over 50 regional celebrities, including RJs, actors, journalists and others, who were handed over WOW sample kits.

“We now feel ready for offline marketing”: WOW Skin Science’s Madhur Acharya

Acharya informs us that Tamil Nadu is one of the biggest markets for the brand. “Some of the ingredients used in our products are sourced from the south, hence people here believe in us.”

Speaking about WOW’s offline versus online sales, Acharya says that there are no definite numbers, since the brand was only focusing on online sales until now.

“If you ask me the comparison, it’s not even 90:10 (online:offline), as of today. However, India, as a market, is 95 per cent offline and only about five per cent online. So, I can only imagine the scope of growth in offline space hereon…,” he points out.

Acharya says that the idea behind the collaboration with PVR was to create awareness about the brand and “…to create a branding in the market that WOW is being serious in general trade now.”

After the PVR activation campaign, the brand has now taken over 24 hoardings in Mumbai, which are currently live. Next is Delhi, where WOW will have around 50 hoardings in the next two weeks, confirms Acharya. The plan, he says, is to let the consumers know where they can by the brand’s product from.

“We now feel ready for offline marketing”: WOW Skin Science’s Madhur Acharya

“You walk out of a PVR after watching our ads and then see our hoardings. You then visit your nearest store and see our products. That is the strategy….”

Other than Mumbai and Delhi, the brand is also expanding its offline base in Punjab, Chennai, Surat, Goa and parts of Karnataka.

So, who is WOW’s target audience? “With our kids range, we target mothers and kids. With our skincare and haircare range, we focus on the 18-45 age group,” Acharya mentions.

He tells us that the brand’s communication is focused on the generic issues faced by the consumers, like hair fall, pan-India. However, the demand for the products differs geographically.

“Body lotions are popular in the north, and sunscreen is popular in the south. For products like body butter, there is a lack of knowledge in our market. That is what the goal of our marketing team is – to create awareness before generating demand.”

When we asked Acharya about the impact of the COVID pandemic on the brand, he says that last year was like a blessing for WOW. “While the supplies were affected in March and April, right after the lockdown, the brand saw massive demand as soon as personal care products were approved for delivery (mid-May) by the government. We saw a surge of about 40-50 per cent in demand during this time.”

WOW shampoos, onion hair oil and face washes were highest in demand during this time, he mentions.

Acharya also tells us that seven days after the lockdown was imposed, the brand started production of hand washes and sanitisers, as a part of its CSR activity. Over 15 lakh sanitiser and hand washes were distributed by the brand in hospitals, police stations, NGOs, municipalities, etc. WOW also tied up with Dunzo and Swiggy in some parts of the country, and delivered sanitisers with every order.

Speaking about the brand’s communication plan for this year, Acharya says that the brand will do more of OOH and print media, along with aggressively advertising on digital.

“We also have plans to do offline activations with startups like Ola and Uber, along with focusing on advertising in offline spaces, like airports, public transports, etc. TV is something we are still figuring out – once we are confident that we have enough stock available, we shall go live there too,” he signs off.

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