Yash Bhatia

How Happilo planned its ad strategy ahead of ‘Sid-Kiara’ wedding

Vikas D Nahar, founder and CEO, Happilo, talks about partnering with the Bollywood couple, ad placement strategy, media mix, and more.

Bollywood couple Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani (‘Sid-Kiara’) tied the knot in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan last month. It was the perfect opportunity for Happilo, the online dry fruits brand, to cash in on the buzz surrounding the couple.  

Happilo onboarded the couple as its brand ambassador in October last year. During the pre-Diwali period, the brand rolled out its maiden campaign with the couple. Happilo used its brand mascot ‘Happi’, the bear, then. 

The campaign received a lot of attention from netizens, who loved the couple’s chemistry. During the wedding season, the brand unveiled another campaign featuring the ‘Shershaah’ duo, as there were rumours about the couple’s impending wedding. 

When asked about partnering with the couple, Vikas D Nahar, founder and CEO, Happilo, tells afaqs!, “Initially, the idea was to just focus on one celebrity (Advani). But he (Malhotra) is also good-looking and fits the bill. He’s a fitness freak. The couple did justice to the campaign’s theme.” 

Happilo, which came into existence in 2016, launched three films under the campaign, all designed by McCann. 

On the ad placement strategy, Nahar says, “We didn’t want to launch all the three ads together. It was planned in a phased manner, as we have a long-term contract with the celebs. We designed multiple films for multiple occasion – Diwali, wedding season, etc.” 

On why the brand launched an ad during the wedding season, Nahar mentions, “We don’t look at ads or marketing in terms of building revenues. For us, it’s about building a brand recall value. Our believe is that Happilo products are healthy and can be consumed all year long, and not just during the festive season. Our belief is that eating healthy should not be dependent on any season. There should be no season or reason to eat healthy food.”

The campaign’s media mix was 50% television and 50% digital. Happilo utilised YouTube, Hotstar and SonyLIV. The brand targeted shows like ‘The Kapil Sharma Show’, ‘Anupama’ and ‘Shark Tank India’.

“We also placed our ads during the budget session, as everyone was stuck to their TVs then,” Nahar highlights.

Dry fruits market: unorganised to organised 

According to media reports, the Indian dry fruits and nuts market is valued at Rs 50,000 crore and is growing at a CAGR of 9%. However, 95% of the market is unorgansied. 

“When we started our journey, there was nothing ‘branded’ in this category. The disadvantage at that time was, people were not buying branded products. The advantage was that nobody was buying branded products. So, we could sell to everyone,” Nahar mentions.   

On the brand’s TG, he adds, “We’re targeting people in their mid-20/30s, who’ve either just started earning or tied the knot. This group is looking for safe, hygienic, convenient and trustworthy options.”

The brand claims that it was the first one in India to introduce zipper pouches. As a result, the dry fruits can be consumed for a longer period of time. 

“The packaging increases our products’ shelf life by three times,” Nahar shares.

Online vs offline 

The D2C brands has a dominant online presence. When asked about the online-offline split, Nahar says, “During the starting phase of our business, there was a large penetration of modern trade. As a result, there was a 40% online and 60% offline split. Post-COVID, it has changed to 70% online and 30% offline.” 

The quick commerce players contribute 5% to the brand’s total business.

In October, Happilo launched its first flagship store in Bengaluru. The brand is looking to launch more stores pan-India and create an omnichannel presence for its customers. 

“Currently, we have four stores across India and are planning to open at least 10 stores by the end of this financial year. With the stores, we can get real time feedback of our products,” Nahar mentions. 

IPL partnership 

In the last edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Happilo was roped in as Rajasthan Royals’ title sponsor. The brand’s logo was visible on the jerseys of the players. 

“The association with Rajasthan Royals worked in terms of brand upliftment, recall and recognition. It helped us to scale our business – both offline as well online,” shares Nahar.

For the upcoming IPL edition, Happilo is in talks with a couple of teams.

‘Shark Tank’ association 

‘Shark Tank’ has announced a digital-only episode ‘Gateway to Shark Tank India 2’ that will stream on SonyLIV. Nahar will be joining the existing panel, as a guest shark, for this digital-only episode. 

Talking about the experience on ‘Shark Tank’, Nahar says, “I grew watching ‘Shark Tank USA’ and used to practice on how to pitch. When it was launched in India, I was quite fascinated and saw all the episodes, along with my wife. They wanted me to onboard as a new guest shark, and I was only one in the panel from the FMCG space. I come from Bengaluru, whereas the other sharks are from Mumbai and Delhi.”  

The sharks utilise this opportunity to create visibility for their respective brands on national TV. During the first season of ‘Shark Tank’, “Google search volume and search volume on the Lenskart’s app for Peyush Bansal Shark Tank glasses and Peyush Bansal glasses shot through the roof, following his appearance on the show.” Aanchal Jain, head, global brand experience, Lenskart, told afaqs! earlier. (Bansal is the co-founder of Lenskart.)

So, will Happilo’s visibility also increase with Nahar’s ‘Shark Tank’ stint? He responds, The visibility will definitely increase due to my ‘Shark Tank’ appearance. Whenever a company’s founder appears on TV, the viewers (customers) want to check out his/her company’s products. It will help to increase brand recall and recognition, but won’t directly convert to revenue.”

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