Although one is about fantasy gaming and the other about online poker, both seem to proclaim a similar message - 'this isn't gambling!'
Adda52.com, a homegrown poker website, launched its first-ever integrated brand campaign with brand ambassador Chris Gayle. The entire agenda is to highlight a key message that poker is a mind game that enhances one's mental skills.
We caught up with Mohit Agarwal, the CEO and co-founder of Adda52.com, a website already claiming over 2 million registered users and is clocking strong growth. Interestingly, what caught our attention is Mumbai-based online gaming firm Dream11 that launched an integrated campaign - #DimaagSeDhoni - featuring its brand ambassador, former Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, last year. We couldn't help asking Agarwal about this frequent 'dimaag' reference and whether the former's #DimaagSeKhelo campaign inspired this.
"Not at all," comes his reply. "Poker has always maintained an image around winning prizes. As a market leader in the online poker category, Adda52 wanted to take a stand on the game which is not just about winnings but also about increasing mental agility and this is how #BanaoDimaagKoAmeer happened," he adds.
Summing up the effort, he states, "We wanted to differentiate ourselves from other online poker players and also promise the real value that users derive from the game rather than promise winning. It's a game of skill that one plays with real people on the platform. Lastly, we wanted to claim the market leader position of being the largest in the country."
According to him, the TG demographic is 25-40-year-old users, mostly in cosmopolitan urban markets including Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore. "However, we have a high volume of users joining the game from Tier 2 and 3 cities as well," he shares.
Speaking about the media pie for this campaign, Agarwal says, "We have focused our media strategy on affinity-based buying basis users' media consumption patterns and have replicated the same across media channels like TV and OTT to get the brand message across. We have also taken impact digital properties to drive action."
In the campaign, Chris Gayle plays the role of the brand's voice to deliver the campaign message. It features a young boy who buys an expensive "cosmic egg" and flaunts it to his father. Chris Gayle enters and takes the message forward - that a bank balance is never the true measure of wealth, but one's intelligence is.
Antony Rajkumar, national planning director, TBWA India, (the creative agency who conceptualised the campaign) says that to bring scale to a game like Poker, they had to address the very fact that Poker is a lot more than the limiting perception people carry.
According to a Business Today article dated late last year, there are about 4-5 companies that account for 85-90 per cent of the Real Money Games (RMG) market in India including Dream11, which offers real fantasy cricket and football games online. Rummy card playing sites like RummyCircle and Ace2Three are among the leading companies, besides poker specialist Adda52. Most of these companies act like online aggregators, helping users play on their platform, for a fixed user fee for different time packages.
Over to the experts:
Ashish Athawle, co-founder and chief experience officer, Haapus Creative, says that online gaming is a relatively new phenomenon in India, especially on this scale. Hence, related brand communications are also finding their feet.
"Adda52 communication seems stretched, in thought and execution both. Gayle is a good fit and can be the recall hook. A competition brand with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, TBH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwwlNulok78 had seemed to find the right connect through more relevant and apt storytelling and a tighter fit with its TG. The earlier Game11 ad, featuring Dhoni, had also played on "Dimaag", but had great sync with Dhoni's personality and approach," he adds.
Athawle opines that although "smart play and player" is the common intent across online poker and cricket communication, the similarity doesn't go beyond the term "Dimaag", as the intended TG and execution elements help avoid any confusion between these different sets of ads.
Manish Kinger, creative head, Liquid, an IPG agency (earlier known as Bushfire), thinks the logic here is convoluted, saying, "The film starts by telling us 'asli dhan dimaag hai' and then concludes the argument with 'play poker aur banao dimaag ko ameer'".
"I think they were trying to say 'bano dimaag se ameer' or 'ab dimaag banayega ameer' which would sit well with the product (Poker) and the setting. If not, then Poker is the new Chess proposition and needs a lot more telling in terms of explanation and clarity," he shares.