Satrajit Sen

AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App

GETIT Infomedia-owned has released a campaign - digital as well as TV - to promote its all-in-one app featuring youth icon Ranbir Kapoor. Will people ask?

Just when it seemed that one had covered all those Indian app companies that have been advertising on TV, a new one that has just popped up. (a GETIT Infomedia portal) has released a campaign both on digital media and TV to promote its all-in-one app featuring youth icon Ranbir Kapoor.

AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
The actor has been roped in to kick off a massive campaign where he plays a series of quirky characters. Each one of these characters would be seen talking to an audience looking for quick and relevant information on their mobile with the click of a button.

Mother of all apps?

Conceived and executed by Ignitee Digital, the campaign has been put together for the new-age internet users looking for relevant information around local and personalised discoveries on their mobile. Titled 'The Bapp of all Apps', the campaign consists of multiple commercials, which hit digital first, followed by television.

The brand has also released edits, especially for Instagram. The campaign is meant to launch the AskMe mobile app, a one-stop destination that offers users deals, classifieds, local search, buy now and voice features. The app is now available on Play Store and iTunes.

The main film featuring Kapoor, also sees a tongue-in-cheek depiction of advertisements and brand endorsers of other app companies. There is a mention of an app called 'Now Dial' with its brand ambassador (no prizes for guessing). There is a reference to the bai who talks about discounts, a cue taken from the SnapDeal app and finally there is a guy saying 'bech do', referring to OLX's famous campaign.

In the other ads, Kapoor pays special tributes to iconic characters from Hindi Movies - Don or Gabbar Singh and Veeru from Sholay and more. Prior to the release of the campaign, Askme had brought in Alok Nath (of Babuji fame on social media) for a teaser campaign that was created to 'bless' the main campaign featuring Kapoor.

Explaining the objective behind the campaign, Jaspreet Bindra, CEO, GETIT Infomedia, tells afaqs! that the campaign is meant to make the app a popular name among the target group of Indians between 16 and 34 years, hailing from SEC A and B. "This is a brand-building campaign for us where we are looking to make a recall for the brand. That is why we have roped in Ranbir who is quite unique to this online category of brands. This will help us attain an upper hand in terms of usage of a brand endorser," Bindra states.

According to Bindra, the jibes at the other brands - and their endorsers - were not meant to be disrespectful towards them. "The product is such that it does all of the jobs that all these other apps do individually. To promote it, we had to have a strong imagery. We are not saying that those are bad, we are just saying that we do all of what they do single-handedly," explains Bindra.

Giving his views, Atul Hegde, CEO, Ignitee Digital states, "The entire AskMe campaign has been thought digital upwards. The use of a superstar like Ranbir is very unique and done keeping in mind that we want to connect with the young and digital savvy consumer. And to add to this riot of ideas we got Babuji (Alok Nath) to bless Ranbir and the campaign."

The digital and television campaigns will be followed by a short outdoor activity in some smaller towns. However, another significant part of the campaign is the BTL leg where the company will be installing standees and glow signs across their 7,000 retail partners in the country. Between Thursday and Friday last week, the campaign had received 500,000 views on Yahoo Network and 600,000 views on YouTube.

Single stop

In an earlier story about mobile apps being marketed on television, we had written about the many online businesses that have taken to TV to promote their Android and iOS mobile apps. In that story, we argued the competition only keeps growing and the app market gets more crowded every day. In such a scenario, getting people to notice, download and use an app, is a Herculean task for app developers and brands.

Bindra explains how the AskMe app is different and why it may be easier for them. According to him, when one wants to buy a sofa, the consumer looks at JustDial to know about dealers or apps like OLX and Quikr to know if someone is selling their used stuff. The next step includes searching for deals on Groupon or e-commerce websites like FabFurnish. Now shifting from one platform to another is easy on a PC platform, but is extremely tough on a mobile as one will have to shut one app and go to the other.

"That is why, the youngsters today, who are a part of the mobile-first generation, prefer everything at one place. That is where our product comes into play. With AskMe, one can search for local information, classifieds and deals all at one place," states Bindra.

He further adds that the company's way to growth is not to outnumber the competition in spends, but to strategically build the brand. That is one reason why AskMe is not measuring the effectiveness of the campaign through download numbers and why it is not even measuring the spends in terms of the average industry estimate - it costs Rs 50-Rs 100 per download, depending on the platform.

"In our case, the average cost per download is between Rs 20 and Rs 30. But if we have to measure the cost of this campaign through download numbers, it would definitely shoot up. But we are not looking at it in this way. For us, brand building through this campaign is more important," he adds.

AskMe is the flagship product of Getit Infomedia. Launched in June 2011, it helps users find sellers for products and discover the best deals in the region. The AskMe app boasts of 1.5 million downloads across platforms, so far.

Proof of the pudding...

AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
AskMe: The 'Ask Anything' App
The big question is: will the consumer bite? RP Singh, CEO, Sirez Group believes that the execution is not funny, not at all boring and is good at conveying what it is supposed to.

"Sometimes, the messaging needs to be clear and simple and these ads do that beautifully. The consumer who uses apps daily will understand the message very easily. It is not a great creative execution but is to the point," he states.

However, Saurabh Uboweja, CEO and director, brand strategy, Brands of Desire states that the execution leaves a lot to be desired. "It's attractive but not simple. It goes too fast and needs an attentive and a savvy viewer to make sense of it. The dig on key competitors in each segment is effective but the big idea that a customer needs an all-in-one app isn't believable. It's like they are trying to present a solution for a problem that doesn't exist."

Singh believes that the choice of Kapoor as the brand ambassador will help the brand as he is a top star with huge youth following. However, he is not too sure if the campaign will be able to pull users away from its competitors. "For the first time, may be yes. But it will depend on the functionality of the app a lot. A bad user experience will switch off users for ever," he adds.

As far as Uboweja is concerned, the challenge for AskMe is not just how this ad can convince the user to download the app. "The efficacy of the service they're providing is equally important. To illustrate, the ad is on, but the iOS app is still not working. The website experience is not even close to the competitors they are taking a dig at," he says.

Have news to share? Write to us