"We see people of all age groups, shopping wishlists on our portal": Flipkart's Shoumyan Biswas on his new ad

By Abid Hussain Barlaskar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Last updated : August 06, 2018 05:41 AM
Biswas, head of marketing, Flipkart Plus and Ads is referring to a new ad film which doesn't feature everyone's favourite - the Millenials.

How old is too old? If Flipkart has anything to say about it, there's no such thing. The e-comm portal's latest ad is all about - celebrating all those who say #ChooseYourAge. The digital ad takes a dig at age-perception and societal bounds which set age limits on certain roles i.e. when society assumes that one is too old for a certain activity.

The ad brings up a whole new way of counting one's age. An older woman is depicted exercising in a park and has passed the one-minute mark on a plank (core workout); she considers herself three-and-half abs old; a group of elderly ladies on vacation consider themselves 'four girl-trips old' and the ad goes on to showcase more such interesting examples.

We couldn't help but wonder - was Flipkart, being a digital-first brand, trying to build a fresh connect with elderly folks? Was it an attempt at widening its target group? Or was the online shopping giant standing for a cause once again?

ALSO READ: Have you met Flipkart's 'Penguin Dads'?

Earlier, in February, Flipkart released #PenguinDad, an ad film that celebrated fathers playing equal roles as moms, when it came to nurturing their children. The ad was fuelled by a market insight that men were shopping online for baby clothes and diapers.

We got in touch with Shoumyan Biswas, head of marketing, Flipkart Plus and Ads, to find out more about the campaign. Biswas is of the point that the new ad is in line with and in support of the new India which is leaving behind its societal dogmas and binds.

Shoumyan Biswas Shoumyan Biswas

He says, "With this new ad, we want to champion the stories of Indians who are forward thinking and not limited by others' beliefs. This campaign too, continues our brand's stance and celebrates all who are challenging age-related stereotypes. Over the next few months, we will continue to tell stories of this new, progressive India."

Speaking about the insights that led to the ad, Biswas says, "All through our journey in the e-commerce space in India, we have been acutely aware of the fact that online shopping is something that isn't limited to a specific region, community or pin code. We see people of all age groups and shopping wishlists come to our portal in their effort to try something new and different. The focus of our campaign was to celebrate the spirit that drives them to try out new things, no matter what life stage they are at."

Biswas believes that the ad film will enable the brand to build an emotional narrative that strikes a chord with audiences and help build a deeper connect. "... instead of a purely functional connect arising out of offers and discounts," he adds.

Arun Iyer, chairman and CCO, Lowe Lintas, the agency that crafted the ad, echoes Biswas' point of view about the ad in relation to the new India.

Arun Iyer Arun Iyer

"Flipkart does a whole lot of communication; this one specifically, upholds the idea that Flipkart stands with the new India. There is an India which used to exist and there is a new India which doesn't let societal beliefs get in the way and limit itself," Iyer says.

"Following the brief, we sat down to think about it. While brainstorming about the whole 'limiting of beliefs', the societal idea of age appropriateness kept coming back. We say things like 'umar ka lihaaz karna chahiye', 'ye koi umar hai kya ye karne ki?' 'apne umar ke hisaab se chalo'. We found that there is so much age appropriateness that we follow as a society. One can be a trekker at the age of 60 if he is fit enough to do it. Why should anything stop him? Why should someone say that his/ her age to learn to swim has passed?" Iyer explains.

"The idea of describing age in experiences came about when we started brainstorming around the subject. We thought that if a 65-year-old completes five expeditions, is he really 65 years old or is it the experience of those expeditions that he holds close to his heart and is now his new take on life? That is basically the creative leap we took," Iyer further adds.

So, is it a win-win for Flipkart?

Jyotsna Parikh Jyotsna Parikh

Manish Bhatt Manish Bhatt

Jyotsna Parikh, creative head - Mumbai, Triton Communications, believes that the ad is a brilliant piece of work that creates resonance with older, savvier consumers.

"The 50s are the new 20s these days. You see a lot of them experimenting with new things - technology, travel, hobbies. By encouraging people to do new things, Flipkart is also widening its TG. You'd never hear of a forty-something person buying roller blades earlier, but this ad might make them go and try them out," Parikh says.

"Earlier, Flipkart ads were all about execution, of showing kids as adults and this execution became synonymous with the brand. I think this one has a great thought going on for it. Will people miss the kids? That remains to be seen," Parikh adds.

Manish Bhatt, founder - Scarecrow M&C Saatchi, is of the point that the ad film could have been an amazing story.

He says, "In simple terms, what the ad wanted to convey was that old age is not a barrier to online shopping. However, a lot of effort has been put in to make this simple point. The point is made in the first few sequences, when the woman makes her first online transaction. The later parts seem to be dragging along."

"What got me into the ad was the first image of the elderly trekker. It looked so real in the beginning but later, went into becoming really ad-like with elderly people doing young, fun stuff. The tonality of the first imagery didn't continue throughout the film. At some point, it seems that the ad is going on and on, trying to make the same point again and again. It could discourage viewers from watching it again or further," Bhatt adds.

Speaking about the usage of age perception to the benefit of the brand, Bhatt says, "Old people are such a nice subject and there are definitely nicer ways to show them. I was expecting a good story and beautiful storytelling. But it went missing after the first few sequences. We still remember the Dhaara-Jalebi ad for some reason."


Client: Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd.: Shoumyan Biswas, Kartikeya Bhandari, Apuarv Sethi, Lucky Saini, Smriti Advani and Vaibhav Tripathi
Agency: Lowe Lintas
Creative: Arun Iyer, Amar Singh and Akash Das
Account Management: Hari Krishnan, Anand Narayan, Parshuram Mendekar, Jayendra Katti and Pooja Sharma
Planning: S. Subramanyeswar, Kunal Joshi and Ajay Ravindran
Production House: Superfly Films: Samson Vasave and Kopal Naithani (Director)

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First Published : August 02, 2018 05:33 AM


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