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For The Big Billion Days, we keep our bar even higher: Kunal Dubey, Flipkart

With the beginning of Navratri from today (October 10, 2018), the festive season has gathered momentum. Two of India’s leading e-commerce platforms – Amazon and Flipkart – have commenced their annual festive season sale from today. 

While Flipkart is back with its The Big Billion Days sale, which runs from October 10 to 14, Amazon returns with its Great Indian Festival which runs from October 10 to 15. Consumers will be spoilt for choices and deals as both the e-commerce players woo them with a range of offers across product categories. Special emphasis has been given to mobile phones, consumer electronics, FMCG, apparels and household products. 

In the run up to the festive season, Flipkart partnered with Google Zoo, the creative think-tank for brands and agencies, to launch ‘The Big Billion Days ka Boss’. This initiative allows customers to look for the latest products at the best price through voice-based conversations with the Flipkart Hagglebot on Google Assistant, available on Android and iOS devices. 

Every day, Flipkart will release 2 new products for customers to haggle on. At the end of the day, a ‘Boss’ will be crowned, based on their negotiation skills and how good a bargain they drive. The deal they secure on each item will then become the price of that product for everyone in India, while the winner gets the product for themselves for free. In addition, limited-edition deals will be available exclusively through the Hagglebot’s AI-based platform. It will also work on all Assistant devices – from the 49R Jio phone to higher-end devices and Google Home. 

Commenting on the initiative, Kartikeya Bhandari, Head of Brand Marketing at Flipkart, said, “Technology has always been the driver of Flipkart’s innovations for Indian customers. The first-of-its-kind Hagglebot is another way for us to add an element of fun to ‘The Big Billion Days’, the landmark festive shopping event for so many Indians. Bargaining is a deep-rooted part of our culture and we have now integrated that with the convenience of online shopping. We hope our customers will have a great time with this unique, rich and immersive experience.” 

In an interaction with Adgully, Kunal Dubey, Director of Brand Marketing and Media Head, Flipkart, speaks about The Big Billion Days, expectations from the festive period, and more. Excerpts: 

Given the plethora of sale offers from various players during the festive season, how does Flipkart keep things different and stand out amid the clutters?
We have always focused entirely on personalisation, marketing in terms of ad-tech and getting more accountable on what people consume. I believe that we are miles ahead in all the fronts, especially in terms of digital marketing, the way our propositions work, the way we design campaigns. If we look at last year also, every single aspect we have done, the competition catches up in mere 3-4 months and the campaign design that Flipkart has done in the past as well. I would like to believe that that itself is the proof of how we are ahead of all others in terms of our marketing approach, the content that we create, the campaign design that we have created and even the personalisation we have done. 

For instance, last year we started the trend in the country with 1 lakh+ personalised videos, using 58 cohorts and 12 data signals. This was a first-ever in the country, which was later adopted by various brands, but not on the same scale. This year, we are going a step further by creating 2 million+ personalised videos using 200+ signals. I don’t think competition has reached even at that scale right now. I don’t have data to prove that, but that is what the market tells right now. We at Flipkart keep our bar high when it comes to crafting the consumer proposition, formulating the campaign design and rolling out brand campaigns – in terms of ensuring the proposition is relevant, the campaign design is unique and led with innovations that create market disruptions. For The Big Billion Days, we keep our bar even higher.  

How much traction are you expecting from Tier 2 and 3 markets during the sale period?
It is a national event and, therefore, we would like to reach out to every single person in the country who has a smartphone and an Internet connection. As I said, The Big Billion Days is not just reaching out to current customers, but has a huge potential to act towards new customers enabling them with great offers and getting them into the new comers list. So yes, Tier 2 and 3 markets are equally important as current cities. 

How have you planned the marketing strategy through different platforms?
This campaign will be rolled out across all mediums – from TV, to Digital, Radio, OOH, Social Media, Print, etc. 

Which are the agencies involved in the campaign?
We have a collated effort done together by Lowe Lintas, Dentsu Webchutney and of course, the Flipkart marketing team. 

Flipkart has just entered into the furniture market. Will it be part of this sale?
Yes. Furniture will be a part of The Big Billion Days. 

You have roped in quite a few celebrities for your campaigns for The Big Billion Days. What’s the strategy behind this?
Flipkart’s The Big Billion Days is not just another sale event or a marketing event. It is something that the country looks up to and wakes up to. We had the pillars such as going beyond just advertising to integrate with the content that people consume, India’s biggest passion points – Entertainment & Sports – and use technology to reach out to the mobile-savvy Indians and create disruptions. For this, we roped in the who’s who of the country – from Amitabh Bachchan, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Deepika Padukone, Sunil Chetri, etc. This extended to regional stars as well, such as Mahesh Babu, Tammana, Mahesh Manjrekar, Prosenjit, Yash, etc. We also tied up with leading TV celebs for the same objective. 

How do you plan to keep the momentum going beyond The Big Billion Days?
For The Big Billion Days, our intent is to set the benchmark for how marketing fraternity campaigns are designed, planned and executed. From the theme perspective, we keep certain guardrails for The Big Billion Days. These are:

  • It needs to be colloquial
  • It needs to match the stature of BBD and its scale
  • It needs to solve people's shopping needs

For example, in 2016, we said: ‘Itne Mein Itnaaaa Milega’ (when the norm was ‘Itne mein sirf itna hi milta hai’). In 2017, we said: ‘Ab Mehengai Giregi’ (when inflation was the one thing that the nation cribbed about). In both these cases we presented campaign ideas where our intention was to see how we could come up with something that showcased that during The Big Billion Days the value of the money goes up. Rs 100 should look like Rs 1,000. Hence, keeping the same guardrails, this year we came up with the theme of ‘Ab India Hoga Budget Se Mukt’, since budget has always been this monster on our back which does not allow us to fulfill all our shopping needs.

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