Suraj Ramnath
Digital

"40% of all WhatsApp messages are non-English": Micromax CMO Shubhajit Sen

Micromax, a brand that has sold many a phone on the back of white models, now gets Kapil Sharma to say #AngrezipantiKoAngootha. How?

Micromax Infomatics, an Indian mobile maker, recently launched a digital campaign #AngrezipantiKoAngootha for its Canvas Unite 4 Series, featuring comedian Kapil Sharma. The brand has also launched its TVC, which doesn't feature Sharma though. The campaigns have been conceptualised by Creativeland Asia.

Micromax, in the past, has been known for making all its ads with white models. But now, the brand, in its new campaign, is saying #AngrezipantiKoAngootha dikhao, to promote its multi-language supported mobile Canvas Unite 4 Series. In April, the brand had gone through rebranding with the tagline 'Nuts. Guts. Glory', and had international models featuring in it.

"40% of all WhatsApp messages are non-English": Micromax CMO Shubhajit Sen
"40% of all WhatsApp messages are non-English": Micromax CMO Shubhajit Sen
Talking about the reason behind not sticking to 'Nuts. Guts. Glory' as a tagline for this campaign, and going with #AngrezipantiKoAngootha dikhao campaign, Shubhajit Sen, chief marketing officer, Micromax Infomatics, says, "We realised that not all types of advertising will appeal to all types of people. The communication has to be different for every product launch."
"40% of all WhatsApp messages are non-English": Micromax CMO Shubhajit Sen
He further adds, "We realised that a lot of people in the small and big towns are not really comfortable with English. They can talk in English, but to type messages is a trouble for them. There is no separate target group based on demographics because they are cut across different towns and cities."

Sharing data with afaqs! regarding the social media, Sen says, "Seventy per cent of all YouTube content is non-English, while 40 per cent of the messages on WhatsApp are not in English. So, there is a section of people who are certainly more comfortable to communicate in their local language rather than in English."

So, why was Sharma not in the TVC?

Sen says, "The digital campaign featuring Sharma went above one-and-a-half minutes, and that could have not been run as a TVC. Moreover, the ad doesn't have the product features and the same has been blended into the TVC."

We asked our experts about the execution of the digital campaign.

Saji Abraham, executive director, Lowe Lintas, says that although the ad is well-executed, and the topic is pertinent, it has not been handled well. "It's disappointing from the point of view of both a product, as well as the context. It looks and feels real and the performances are very good. The topic that was chosen, which was to shame people who do not understand English is a relevant and interesting one. However, it is a complex nuanced issue and the way the ad solves it is unfortunately as nuanced as the axe Sharma wields in the film," says Abraham.

"40% of all WhatsApp messages are non-English": Micromax CMO Shubhajit Sen
"40% of all WhatsApp messages are non-English": Micromax CMO Shubhajit Sen
He further adds, "There are a couple of mis-steps in the ad. Firstly, the product connect is absent. Why is Micromax suddenly evangelising Hindi? Is it because its phone supports Hindi? Where is that mentioned? Secondly, after all this 'gyaan' about the national language, the link to the Snapdeal site selling the phone opens in English. If it was really serious about this issue, then it should have made sure its actions matched its words. The phone's interface, too, is in English. Is this just a campaign, or is this Micromax's stand? Will all Micromax ads be in Hindi henceforth?"

Carlton D'Silva, chief executive officer and chief creative officer, Hungama Digital Services, says, "The execution was alright, nothing spectacular. It feels like the film was executed as per the script."

He further adds, "Just putting a film online does not make it a digital campaign. This campaign has no legs online apart from the film. If the idea is to start a revolution against 'Angrezipanti', it has surely chosen the wrong medium to do the same. The campaign is non-existent on its website, as well as the place where the brand should be building a revolution, the social media (Twitter and Facebook). What was the hashtag meant for? Currently, I only see the hashtag accompanying a 'Sultan' contest. To be honest, I don't see any strategy here."

Is it a good idea to have Kapil Sharma in the film?

D'Silva says, "(Kapil) Sharma does have an internet following, but he has a greater following in the 'outernet'. With Sharma in the ad, the consumer expects a funny situation. But, apart from the last bit, he ends up being too preachy. Anyone could have been used in the film for that matter and saved a fair bit of money in the bargain."