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Some of the Indian online campaigns that became the industry’s favourites in 2009

by Satrajit Sen

by Satrajit Sen

In our last year’s series featuring the Indian internet industry’s expectations from the year 2009, advertisers sounded very optimistic about the growth of online advertisements in India, as many of them said that due to the economic slowdown in 2009, online industry as well as online advertising will end up big gainers. In an attempt to see which online campaigns of 2009 have been successful in catching the eyes of the industry, AlooTechie talked to some experts in the field of creating online campaigns to know their opinions on the same.

Vikas Tandon, managing director, Indigo Consulting, was of the opinion that Asian Paints’ ColourNext initiative to predict the colour trends for 2009 was one of the campaigns that was noteworthy in 2009. “The reason this was innovative is because it added the dimension of sound to what was essentially a visual product, thereby engaging users through two faculties. Further, it was a very innovative way to create an immersive experience. This way, people actually spent more time exploring the various colour themes, rather than just visiting and seeing the colour palette and go away. The ‘Sound of Colours’ feature made them (the website visitors) stay longer and understand the themes better,” Tandon said.

Kanika Mathur, president, India and South East Asia, Solutions Digitas, opined that Tata Tea and Janaagraha’s ‘Jaago Re! One Billion Votes’ online campaign was probably the most innovative Indian campaign in 2009. “From the previous year, when the campaign was launched and where the TVCs focused on incompetent politicians, it moved logically in the election year to urging the youth to vote, to select better leaders for a better democracy. Taking over from television, the Jaago Re online campaign and website became pivotal and played a key role in spreading awareness and engaging the youth to influence polity by exercising their right to vote,” said Mathur.

According to Mathur, provided a platform to help voters across 35 large cities, accounting for 30 per cent of India’s populace, to register themselves online and to ensure that their names were included in the voter list. About three million people visited the site, of which about 600,000 registered for voting. On the social media front, the Jaago Re channel on YouTube garnered over one lakh views and had over 3,000 blog mentions. With support from almost 14,000 members on Facebook and more than 11,000 active participants on Orkut, the initiative was one of the most visible, engaging and discussed initiatives online.

“Today, post that campaign, the website ( now focuses at other social issues like corruption, education, global warming and women’s rights, clearly making the Jaago Re movement broader, and more and more contextual for every Indian,” added Mathur.

Gaurav Sharma, business head, C2W Digital, was of the opinion that Thums Up Thunder Wheels promo was one of the campaigns that epitomized ‘digitized sales promotions’ where consumers had to purchase the product to be eligible for prizes. “This platform has transformed the way users participate in campaigns. Earlier, users had to visit the retailer to redeem their prizes in exchange for bottle caps. On the other hand, this campaign has made the prize reach the user by allowing the user to participate in the contest through SMS,” Sharma said.

According to Sharma, the Thums Up Thunder Wheels was a 45-day campaign where a TVS Apache RTR 160 motorbike was up for grabs. A unique code was printed under the bottle cap or behind the label (of a PET bottle) of Thums Up. The user, after making a purchase, had three options to participate in the contest — by SMSing APACHE followed by the code or by call from a fixed line from anywhere in India or log online to leave their response. Since the campaign is over, the website has now been suspended. However, the TVC for this campaign can still be found at YouTube.

According to Chaya Brian Carvalho, CEO and MD, BC Web Wise, the online campaign announcing the launch of Road Movie for Toronto film festival was among the most innovative campaigns of 2009 because the treatment given to the Road Movie site focussed on how the movie unfolded.

According to Prasanth Mohanachandran, executive director, digital services, OgilvyOne and Neo@Ogilvy, Vodafone’s Zoozoo online campaign was the best use of social media ever by a brand. “Vodafone caught onto the shift of user preference to Facebook by deciding to build a community there. Of course, it went on to become — and still is — the largest fan-base on Facebook for an Indian brand. Also, the launch of the Zoozoo channel on YouTube integrated to the Facebook community and the Vodafone website was a first. The channel was the most popular on YouTube every time the Zoozoos made an appearance,” Mohanachandran said.

Prasanth Mohanachandran further said that according to the Adage Viral Videos chart, the Zoozoo online films were the top of the viral charts internationally for two weeks in a row. “Incidentally, the new Complete the Zoozoo Story campaign is an attempt at crowd-sourcing. There are already close to 25,000 filled entries,” Mohanachandran added.

Siddhartha Roy, COO, Hungama Digital Media, thought that Bacardi’s is a result of Bacardi’s association with music and a need to take entertainment directly where the consumer is. “Today, consumers want brands to speak to them in a language that connects to them. And what better than entertainment to ensure connect,” said Roy.

According to Roy, the promotional initiative recognizes the core passions of Bacardi which includes international music and thus engages consumers with the brand. It reaches out to the target group between 21 and 29 years, a community that is constantly connected to the web and mobile.

“Moreover, to ensure more and more consumers enjoy this proposition, Bacardi has adopted a 360 degree approach where all offline promotions also include an opportunity to experience Right from digital kiosks to surf and download to SMS short codes for enjoying entertainment on-the-go, the campaign ensures an integrated approach to create the correct consumer connect,” Siddhartha Roy added.

Sumanta Ganguly, client services director, M&C Saatchi, however, felt that not one digital campaign of 2009 purely stood out as truly path breaking in terms of usage of the medium to its advantage and utilizing the enormous possibilities of social media. Ganguly said that Lipton India’s Stay Sharp campaign was somewhat successful in using the power of interactive media to create engagement that highlighted the brand benefits but they left a lot to be desired.

Ganguly further said that Mitsubishi’s Great Driving Challenge was a short burst social campaign that scratched the surface of social media usage to its advantage and created a connect with the passionate driving enthusiasts but the issues with the campaign were that there was no follow-up activity to capitalize on the engaged user base and the creatives fell way short of expectations.

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