Festive sale ad blitz: Amazon keeps it simple, Flipkart brings on the stars

Topics Amazon | Flipkart

It has been impossible to miss the swell of advertising around the big sale days unleashed by Flipkart and Amazon over the past week. And just as starkly visible has been the difference in the way the two have run their campaigns. Flipkart has an army of 10 celebrity-endorsers singing its tune, tied up with Spicejet for promotions in the skies and even had a burger named after its sale, Big Billion Burger by Burger King for its ‘Big Billion Day’(BBD) Sale. 

 However, Amazon India has taken a completely different approach to promote the ‘Great Indian Festival’. Keeping it grounded and personal, it has zero celebrity endorsement campaigns and of course no airlines sporting the decals of the sale on its aircrafts. The Jeff Bezos led tech giant instead, launched a massive on ground campaign where its executives went to tier-III and rest of India towns with trucks showcasing ‘Amazon Life’ to people and understanding what they want to buy online. 

Breaching the skies

From aircrafts wrapped in decals of BBD advertisements to special burgers named after the sale, Flipkart’s boss Kalyan Krishnamurthy and his team left nothing to chance this season, spending north of Rs 150 crore for just the promotion of the sale according to sources.

 The budget was drawn up to back an ambitious plan and belief that this year, on the sale days, its gross merchandise value (GMV) would be 11 times more than what it is on non-sale days. Sources said that Krishnamurthy during the townhall meeting in the run up to the sales said that he was confident of a blockbuster sales despite softening demand. 

In a series of slides he had explained their massive marketing campaigns to the employees. “More than 10 aircrafts were wrapped in Flipkart BBD decals and around 70 planes had BBD tags and stickers on the passenger seats. The move was expected to help reach out to easily around seven million people,” said a source close to the company. From the skies to the tables at a mall, Flipkart even tied up with Burger King for a special ‘Big Billion Day’ Whopper in 50 cities and 225 stores. And on television, digital and print, a host of celebrities including cricketer Virat Kohli, actors Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, southern Indian stars Dulquer Salman and Mahesh Babu became the face of the sale.

According to the some experts closely associated with Flipkart’s campaign, the mandate was to get high recall value. “During the discussions that happened almost eight months back on how the company is going to promote the sales, it was decided that celebrities would be an essential part of the campaign as people would surely make it a point to look at the television as well as the online advertisements. The campaigns by celebrities have seen massive traction online as collectively the views of these advertisements have been over 50 million,” said a senior advertisement expert who has been part of Flipkart’s campaign.

Muted and on-the-ground

Amazon India, on the other hand, has kept the message similar to its advertising in the past where it has focused on large families in big and small towns. Also sans any celebrities, the company this year ran a massive road show ‘Amazon Festive Yatra’ in 13 cities such as Ahmedabad, Indore and Kolkata among others. The idea was to talk to people, ask about their online purchase behaviour and so on.

Taking a cue from the many behavioural reports that indicate the Indian buyers are looking for a wide spread and abundant choices when they shop for the festive season, Amazon India used massive trucks filled to the brim to showcase all that can be bought on its platform.

“We learnt about so many things during this journey. How people in small towns order online, how important online buying is for those who live in places where not everything is available. The truck we used to showcase our range was visited by many who realised what all can bought online, this was educative to us as well as our users,” said a senior executive at Amazon India.

Why no celebrities? “We want to be as close to our customers as possible. The emphasis is always on giving the best service to our customers,” added the executive. The rivals know how to fight a good battle, on the screen and off it.

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