Benita Chacko

“Like popcorn is to cinema, we want Swiggy to be for IPL”: Ashish Lingamneni

Swiggy's head of brand, product marketing and sustainability wants to establish the immediacy of ordering from the app during the IPL.

Think of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and some vivid images come to mind. Live cricketing action in the stadium, Bollywood celebs cheering for their teams, friends coming together to watch the matches and then of course Swiggy’s ‘Gulab Jamun’ uncle. Over the last three years, the uncle has become synonymous with the IPL due to his constant presence in the ad breaks. In fact, Swiggy itself has become ubiquitous in the cricketing season with its ‘Match Day Mania’ campaign.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Ashish Lingamneni</p></div>

Ashish Lingamneni

The online food ordering platform has been running the campaign since 2018. Ashish Lingamneni, head of brand, product marketing and sustainability, Swiggy, says it serves two purposes- to create long-term behaviour and in the short run to make the food ordering app the preferred destination.

“At the movies, you always have a cold drink and popcorn. The long term vision for us is to encourage users to recreate and amplify that experience while watching IPL at home. Whether that's food or snacks and beverages delivered in minutes through Instamart or even pick-me-up desserts and ice-creams if your team loses. In the short run, we're looking to make Swiggy the preferred destination and that is where Match Day Mania is an activation property. We make it much more exciting for users to transact on the app during the IPL period,” he says.

Swiggy has been consistently advertising on the IPL over the years and brings in different properties. In 2018, it enabled ordering on the Disney+Hotstar platform. In 2019 , it had a 'Super Six' offer wherein you get a 60 per cent discount (up to Rs 100) if you order food within six minutes after a player has hit a six. Last year it promoted Instamart through the custom targeting and geo-targeting features.

“We're one of the few brands that have a real role to play in the viewing experience itself. All the sponsors of IPL talk about a product or offering which can be used in the future, but it's not relevant in that particular moment. So that's something that is unique to us. IPL is the largest media property in the country making it favourable for big launches. There are very few properties out there, which can give you the attention recall ,” he says.

It is this ‘immediacy’ that makes Swiggy’s campaign so relevant to the viewers. It also sends out push notifications through its app relevant to the ongoing match urging viewers to order food. For example, if a player is ducked out, the app immediately suggests an ice-cream to get over the loss. Lingamneni attributes this to its in-house creative team and their planning.

“We know some scenarios that are likely to happen. So there is some amount of planning. The in-house creative team also comes up with ideas real-time. It's a combination of good planning, having a team which is really plugged in, understands what needs to be done and their ability to react realtime and some amount of technology as well,” he says.

Hundreds of ads are released during the IPL. Lingamneni points to four ingredients to stand out in this clutter- consistency in frequency, consistency in brand tonality, relatability and innovation

“Consistency is important because these properties don't get built if you just do them once and move on. It needs to be done year after year. Second, we placed a very high premium on consistency in terms of overall brand tonality. The third is being relatable and showing the actual consumer lives as part of our communication. And the fourth is innovation - doing things slightly different from what we have done in the past,” he adds.

The last three years Swiggy has been engaging the audience with ads featuring the `gulab jamun’ uncle who did his best to hide his Swiggy orders from his wife. And, of course, the memorable voice-overs of commentators Harsha Bhogle and Aakash Chopra. Juxtaposing the entire campaign with cricket commentary added to the contextual flavours that Swiggy has successfully done each year.

Swiggy has always taken a synergistic view of being present on TV as well as OTT.

“The communication and the message are the same, just the channel changes. So we're able to reach viewers who either watch only on OTT or on television. It's more of a reach play than a specific consumer play,” he says.

“On OTT we have opportunities of targeting specific geographies or cohorts. It gives us that flexibility. Meanwhile television is the biggest loudspeaker in the country. So for large launches, there's nothing like television due to the fact that millions of people are exposed to it at the same time,” he adds.

For this edition of the IPL, the brand is not only on television and OTT but is also on-ground partners with BCCI.

“So there should be some interesting activations as part of the programming itself, not something we have done in the past. There is going to be in-stadium visibility and engagement. But even if you're sitting at home, instead of only seeing us in the advertising breaks, we will be a part of the actual match,” he adds.

Apart from online food delivery Swiggy now also provides quick grocery delivery through Instamart. This year we will see its advertising focus on both its verticals. “You'll see a lot more synergized strategy on amplifying the viewer’s experiences while watching IPL from home. They can order in while enjoying the matches- food from Swiggy or snacks and beverages from Instamart,” he says.

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