BY Malay Desai
By: Dentsu Webchutney, New Delhi
Delhi NCR’s bar and restaurant Café TC recently undertook a campaign on Whatsapp to increase footfalls. Its agency modified the chat application’s API (application program interface) to create a ticker-like status message which blinks and informs of the latest offers and updates. Besides, the restaurant’s profile picture on Whatsapp turned into another blinking GIF (graphics interchange format). It is one of the only campaigns in recent times that has tapped the uber-popular chat app as a means of advertising, cleverly surpassing its no-ad policy.
Why we Like?
If you look around in your circles, the one medium that’s getting maximum attention through the day is Whatsapp, and incidentally, despite enjoying many times more eyeballs than YouTube pre-rolls and even TV commercials, the medium remains uncluttered with ads. But that’s where the game begins.
In August 2013, Café Café, Israel’s largest chain of coffee shops hit headlines after using Whatsapp groups to initiate a playful challenge and creating a ‘waitress’ bot to kickstart conversations about itself. It was a clever idea, but the world has changed since – for starters, Whatsapp is now owned by Mr Zuckerberg, and the no-ad policy remains.
Drinking meet-ups in Delhi NCR are an every night ritual, so if Café TC, after rebranding itself from Turquoise Cottage, needed to stand out from the dozens of other drinking holes, it needed to reach out in a disruptive way. Whatsapp promotions, the ‘forward’ kinds, no matter how creative, amount to spam, and no youngster would value a place that advertises itself, more than one’s that recommended by a drinking buddy.
The whole credit for this goes to the geeks at Webchutney, who played around with the API for long enough to crack the idea. A ‘friend’ on your Whatsapp list who doesn't really ping you with offers, but keeps ‘blinking’ on its status about happy hours et al, is truly cool, because its unobtrusive. And given the number of times Delhi boys may be checking their Whatsapp lists to check out a cute co-worker’s new status or display picture… you get the idea.
The other bit to get right, of course, was to give cool enough updates and offers to make the gimmick worth the efforts. I’m yet to hear from my Gurgaon source on whether this made the cut or he preferred ‘Striker’ or Beer Café, but as per the video, the activity gave rise to 117 per cent more enquiries and 28 per cent more sales.
A bigger takeaway to my mind, was that a small-ish drinking place in Delhi’s outskirts may have opened the floodgates to Whatsapp advertising by getting an agency to tinker with the tech.
(To watch the two films, go to ‘bit.ly/Jan11_ad’)
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