Shweta Mulki

When Ching's got Yash Raj to crack an agency brief...

Ajay Gupta of Capital Foods and Ashish Patil of Y-Films take us through the success that was 'Ranveer Ching Returns' at vdonxt asia 2017.

At a vdonxt asia 2017 session, Ashwini Gangal, executive editor, afaqs!, moderated a panel comprising Ajay Gupta, managing director, Capital Foods (owners of Ching's Secret) and Ashish Patil, vice-president (brand partnerships and talent management) at Y-Films (Yash Raj Studio's digital arm) share the story behind the huge success of 'Ranveer Ching Returns', an expensive and stylish 'brand video' made with all the trappings of a big-budget Bollywood film. The unique strategy employed here was that they ran it online first for a whole month.

Gangal began by asking Gupta about the idea behind this video. "This was strictly strategy as we had challenges with the brand - we needed to create buzz, and in this we found a solution" said Gupta. He recalled that due to the Indian film industry's passionate following in the country, the company chose actor Ranveer Singh as a brand ambassador, as he matched, in 2013 - much before he achieved his current 'star status'. "We then went to Yash Raj and Ashish at that time, and created a song called 'My name is Ranveer Ching'. The impact was such that for two years' people kept asking us 'When will the film release?", he adds, recalling that the song was played across the world by every Indian channel for free; had close to 8 million views; and had millions of ringtone downloads.

When Ching's got Yash Raj to crack an agency brief...
Gupta also reveals that besides Singh, choosing director Rohit Shetty and actress Tamanna Bhatia were also all part of the strategy to go mass and increase width of distribution.
When Ching's got Yash Raj to crack an agency brief...
When Patil was asked to add his remarks, he said that this was less a risk and more of a thought-through strategy. Adding that the risk-appetite was indeed high at multiple levels, be it content or choice of brand ambassador. "Ranveer Singh, used to endorse Durex Condoms at the time, instead of going the 'cola way' like everyone else. And we also decided to go against the standard green-yellow palate that this category is identified with", says Patil adding that the brief was very sharp. He stresses, "The task was to create awareness for a challenger brand. Ranveer also was a challenger brand, and we needed to scream out".

Another insight Patil shared was that instead of going by the standard ratio of spending 50 per cent on media and 20 per cent on production, they spent 80 per cent on production. "There have been lot of people spending tons of money but it doesn't show", he reasoned. Pointing out other deviations from the norm, Patil said that they had also decided to 'commit sacrilege' by killing the mother - a key figure in food and beverage communication. "It changed the tonality of who we were, and brought us good earned media and recognition as disruptors" said Patil.

At this juncture Gupta brought in the impact on the brand's business. "We were a 180-crore business, that will close at 600-crore in March this year," adding that its store presence has increased manifold in India, and the diaspora market too.

On whether it took any convincing for their investors, Gupta replied that the brand had always talked to the youth, and while this creative did raise eyebrows, it was a smooth process overall, he recounts.

When Gangal asked Patil whether this needed 'reining in' at any point, he mentioned there wasn't any, and Gupta too commented that he was completely hands off during production. While recalling the video, Gangal quizzed Patil on the food shots which blatantly stood out in the video. He replied that while they had avoided shooting food in 'product video style', this bit was intended for narrative effect. Here, Gupta, to everyone's amusement added that his team was shocked with the amount of food shots director Shetty had initially added in the film. "We actually had to remove some shots," reasoning that taking the overall 'desi Chinese' message through, was more important than measuring how much footage was given to the food.

At this point, the moderator polled the audience asking them how many believed Gupta when he took food shots out, the audience polled in to say they did believe him indeed.

Another question thrown at the audience was on the lines of 'Is it a risk to put a brand film on digital before its TVC version goes out? Sixty per cent of the audience replied in the affirmative.

In a final poll, Gangal asked the audience whether a five-and-a-half-minute brand film would still be called an ad. A majority of the audience said no, it wouldn't.

Event partners include: Adobe (Presented By), Viu (Powered By), Akamai (Technology Partner), Voot (Digital Partner), EY (Knowledge Partner), Unruly (Video Partner), Dropbox Business (Collaboration Partner), Web Talkies (Entertainment Partner), (New Age Digital Partner), Culture Machine (Content Partner), 24 Frames Digital (Streaming Partner), (Blogging Partner), NDTV Prime (TV Partner), Content Asia (International Media Partner), and Advertising Agencies Association of India and The Advertising Club (Community Partners).

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