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Goafest 2018: From Pepperfry to Patanjali – the makings of an Indian MNC

The 13th edition of Goafest, India’s biggest advertising festival, got underway yesterday (April 5, 2018) on a Make in India note. Hosted by The Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in association with the Advertising Club, Goafest 2018 has registered over 2,000 attendees. 

MK Anand, Vikram Tanna, Nakul Chopra, Vikram Sakhuja, Ashish Bhasin, Ajay Kakkar and Jaipdeep Gandhi lit the ceremonial light and declared the festivities on. Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO - South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, commenced the festival by welcoming the guests to the 50th year of the Abbys and 13th year of Goafest. 

In his welcome address, Bhasin said, “We want to set a benchmark, where I want people to talk about Goafest as a truly world class festival. Last year, we initiated digital in a big way, this year we already have over 2 million interactions across platforms. I’m really glad to see such great responses, where the room was fully jam-packed and I’m sure we are well on our way to becoming the world’s best advertising conclave.” 

He paved way for two brilliant speakers with awe-inspiring stories, exiting the stage with the promise of leaving “Goa greener than it is” and inviting everyone to a tree plantation event being held today (April 6, 2018). 

Happy Furniture To You! 

The 3-day festival kick-started with a power-packed session at the Discovery India Industry Conclave 2018, by Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO and Head of New Business, Pepperfry, who spoke about the brand’s own growth story. Tracing Pepperfry’s growth story, Vadapalli said, “Six years ago, e-commerce in India was nascent and Pepperfry started because of 3 reasons: 1) To promote Indian artisans and craftsmen; 2) To build honesty and transperancy as part of our DNA; and 3) To have fun, because we knew it would be a dusty road.” 

They blended the three reasons and came up with a name that signified Indian and honest (Hence Pepper), and fun (Hence Fry, because anything becomes fun when you fry). After 2,000 work days and 20 million+ work hours, Pepperfry today has streamlined its business, and taken supply, mixed with technology, to the Indian consuming class. “We worked towards standardising the entire category. Since we were very close to manufacturers, it helped us bring value to the Indian consumer,” he added. 

Vadapalli left the audience with some thoughts to mull over as he said that in order to evolve, one must constantly listen. 

The Yogi who took the MNC world by storm 

Yog Rishi Baba Ramdev and the phenomenal growth of the Patanjali empire have been the subject of many a case study. After starting in classic style with Gayatri Mantra, he dived deep, full Hindi, into how everything – from knowledge, emotions, actions, expertise, experience, skills, innovation, research, resource, and even waste – converts to wealth. 

“I only had one question: What can I do about this country? From farming to retailing, I haven’t studied anything, but the world is enough to teach me lessons. When you come face to face with reality, it teaches you lessons no conventional course can teach,” Baba Ramdev said. Peppered with laughter, yoga, life lessons, jokes and harsh doses of reality, he shared the essence of his being: Jo karo, usko pura karo. 100% daalo apna. Usko beech me mat choro. (Whatever you do, do it whole-heartedly. Give your 100% and don’t leave anything mid-way). 

He stressed that it was all hard work and goodness that has made Patanjali the brand that it is today. “Patanjali is a non-profit charitable organisation. Our intent isn’t profit. Aasan karwate karwate, bado bado ko sheersasan karwana hai,” he jokingly added amid much cheer from the crowd. 

Not shy of taking on the MNCs by their horns, Baba Ramdev affirmed that with Patanjali, he would not allow other marketers to mislead the consumers. He maintained that one could advertise in a normal way without adding any glamour and false commitment to it. “There is nothing like getting a celebrity face or glamour to your brand and increase sales. But I save a huge chunk of my advertising budget because instead of having any brand ambassador or glamour element I connect to my consumers through the ads, where I talk to them, which saves a lot of money,” he added. 

Baba Ramdev claimed that Patanjali today had taken over 25-50 per cent share of the toothpaste market – all without using any glamour element, and instead talking about the benefits offered by Patanjali’s toothpaste. “By next year, we hope to be the biggest FMCG company – not only in terms of trust, but also in terms of turnover,” he affirmed. 

While he spoke about expanding the brand to other countries, he publicly made a promise that he would never loot from poor countries. “We will never bring money from a poorer country to India. But we will become a global brand. Their profit will be their profits,” he announced with full conviction. 

He further said that he was asked by a lot of people as to when Patanjali will be launching its jeans brand. He announced, “We will foray into kids’, women’s and men’s wear, Yoga wear and accessories in 3-5 years’ time with heavy investment.” 

How could a session with Baba Ramdev end without some tips on Yoga and Baba didn’t disappoint the crowd as he gave some practical advice on how to lead a healthy life – as he said, “If you are not healthy, you cannot be wealthy”.

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