Akshit Pushkarna

How creating a storm on social media led OPPO to sell Reno 8T within 10 days

Damyant Singh Khanoria, CMO, OPPO, believes that Reno 8T boosted the brand’s growth on the back of a segmented marketing campaign.

Consumer electronics manufacturer OPPO, known primarily for its range of smartphones in India, began 2023 with the launch of OPPO Reno 8T. The phone was introduced in the domestic market on February 2, 2023.

As per a Canalys report, OPPO emerged as the only Android vendor to register year-on-year growth in the first quarter (January-March) of this year. OPPO now holds 18% share in the smartphone category, trailing only behind the market leader Samsung.

In an interaction with afaqs!, Damyant Singh Khanoria, CMO, OPPO, calls the launch of Reno 8T a pivotal moment for the brand. “From a brand standpoint, Reno 8T’s successful launch became the moment, on the back of which we’ve been able to perform outstandingly well in this first quarter of 2023.”

Reno 8T was launched exclusively through OPPO Experience Centers, the brand’s offline channel. Khanoria informs that the phone was sold out within 10 days of its launch. The reason behind this, as per him, is the company’s marketing campaign.

“The reason why the campaign worked was because we managed the storyline quite well over a period of time. I think it’s a fairly difficult thing to do and OML helped us pull this off successfully.”

The brand didn’t want to begin the campaign by introducing the phone directly. It wanted to combine it with entertainment, shares Khanoria. “We shot the campaign with the intention that people will start talking about the new phone. We didn’t feel the need to introduce the product narrative right from the beginning.”

Before the phone’s launch, actor Ranbir Kapoor, OPPO’s ambassador, was seen throwing a fan’s phone, in a paparazzi video posted by Viral Bhayani. Later, a video, where Kapoor was seen giving out an OPPO Reno 8T handset to the fan, surfaced.

Khanoria mentions that OPPO wanted to started off the first phase of the campaign by creating a storm on social media platforms. The brand claims that the initial part of the campaign, featuring Kapoor in short format videos, reached out to over 49 million people. The videos generated more than four million user engagement. However, it also created a lot of controversy - whether the marketing tactic was misleading.

“I think with any marketing campaign, you can’t see things in isolation. We had a strong narrative in place, right from the beginning. The great thing about this narrative was that each story lent itself beautifully to the next bit. It forces people to figure out what’s next," Khanoria comments.

Roycin D’souza, VP, Only Much Louder (OML), shares that the Reno series is the flagship phone series in the premium segment for OPPO. The users of this category of phones don't tend to switch devices over the short-term. Hence, the company wanted to create excitement for the audiences and encourage them to upgrade their older devices to newer ones.

“’Out with the old, in with the new’, was our brief. We were sitting and figuring out if we should be telling people to throw out their phones. People want to click photos with celebrities all the time. So, we thought, why not make (Ranbir) Kapoor throw away a fan's phone and then give him a new phone,” D’souza shares.

OML built an amplification plan for the phone, by sharing the campaign in 50-60 different community pages and fan clubs, to stir up a conversation. After reaching a satisfactory set of its target audience, the company first released the ad where Kapoor is handing a new phone to the fan. Kapoor is then featured in a TVC, promoting the phone.

The clear message that the brand wanted to deliver with the TVC was with Oppo Reno 8T, you can be a step above, he comments. Further, Khanoria says that since people were talking about Kapoor after the initial paparazzi video, the connection with Reno 8T became more clear with the TVC.

He also believes the campaign was high risk, high reward in nature. With its culmination, the company wanted to direct all the attention that the campaign had generated online to Oppo Experience Centers

"We have been building the offline channel since the last 8-9 years in India. We now have over 50,000 points of sale in the country and it is something that we've invested a lot of time, energy, and money on. Making Reno 8T an offline first product is essentially acknowledging the channel as a core strength  for us as a brand," he adds

The campaign concluded with OML partnering with Rephrase.ai, to create personalised videos of Kapoor promoting the OPPO Experience Consultants (retailers/distributors) and their stores.

“I think, in the smartphone industry, when you make a launch moment big in the minds of your retail partners, it's half the battle won. We wanted our offline channel, the Oppo experience Centers, to really feel connected to the brand and feel rewarded with a special message from a celebrity they like. This would give them a reason to communicate with their audiences more strongly.”

Oppo further incentivised the first 15,000 customers, who visited these stores to buy the Reno 8T, by creating a chatbot to disseminate a personalised congratulatory video message by Kapoor.

"The way we were able to connect with consumers and our channel partners for Reno 8T ensured a very strong start to 2023 for us. Every single product launch since Reno 8T has been a success," Khanoria concludes.

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