If there is one thing that has shot to prominence during the pandemic, it is the importance of Digital. With consumer behaviour changing dramatically and with e-commerce, remote learning and WFH becoming the norm, the past year saw marketers reinvent marketing as we know it. With Digital being singled out as the hero medium, 2020 witnessed some incredible digital marketing campaigns from brands across sectors.
At the 12th edition of IDMA (Indian Digital Marketing Awards), the exchange4media Group with an esteemed jury chaired by Anurag Mehrotra, President & Managing Director at Ford honoured and celebrated the outstanding digital campaigns by brands and agencies in a hugely challenging year. The work showcased at IDMA 2021 demonstrates how marketers and agency teams pushed the envelope with innovative, impactful digital marketing campaigns. Our cover story this week picks some of the campaigns that the jury singled out for their exemplary digital prowess, creativity and innovation. Whether it was the impactful ‘Not Just A Cadbury Ad’ from Cadbury Dairy Milk, the delightful ‘Swag Se Bolo’ Valentine’s Day anthem for singles rolled out by Pepsi, the impressive revamp of UltraTech’s website or even Paytm’s powerful commentary on prevailing gender inequalities in ‘The Divide’, each campaign delivered in terms of reach and business impact.
At this year’s IDMA, Mondelez India bagged the Best Digital, Social Media and Mobile Media Advertiser of the Year title. Wavemaker India won the honour of the Best Digital and Social Media Agency and Mobile Media Agency of the Year. The IDMA Person of the Year title was awarded to Sameer Nigam, Founder & CEO, PhonePe.
While the jury honoured over 20 campaigns with a gold at IDMA, we showcase a few of them here for their work in benchmarking exemplary digital marketing battling all odds in a tough year.
Campaign: Not just a Cadbury Ad
Brand: Cadbury Dairy Milk India
Agency: Wavemaker India
The brand objective
Cadbury Celebrations is the go-to gifting option for consumers during Diwali but selling ‘Cadbury-Celebrations’ isn’t the same as selling other Cadbury chocolates. Unlike impulse purchase, the gifting business opportunity has a limited window that thrives on the seasonal demand for sweet gifting during the festive season. Diwali is especially crucial for Cadbury-Celebrations, but last year, consumer and trade sentiments were different with the pandemic, making it even more difficult to sustain business during Diwali.
Not Just a Cadbury Ad – a hyperlocal personalised ad captured generosity at a community level, featuring local retailers and urging people to remember them while gifting this Diwali. The brand resorted to the power of tech, dynamic creative optimisation and AI to localise the campaign to 300+ pin codes with 2000+ local business owners across eight cities, reaching out to 7000+ retailers whose names featured in the ad, making it not just a Cadbury Ad. The campaign was launched across Facebook and YouTube simultaneously. These ads were customised basis pin codes so every location saw an ad unique to that pin code in a radius of 2 kilometres from the viewer, thus making the ad viewing experience personal for consumers.
The campaign reached 20million+ consumers across Facebook over less than a month and witnessed a remarkable 40million views along the way. Mondelez saw its highest ever engagement rate and remarkable buzz with media coverage valued at an estimated $1.5 million. The campaign also restored trade sentiment and grew brand distribution by 14%.
The challenge for Cadbury Celebration was to sustain business during Diwali in a pandemic year with more subdued consumer sentiment.
• The brand rolled out a hyperlocal personalised ad featuring local retailers and urging people to remember them while gifting this Diwali.
• The campaign used tech, dynamic creative optimisation and AI to localise the campaign, and was launched across Facebook and YouTube simultaneously
• The ads were customised basis pin codes featuring the local stores of multiple products showcased in Celebrations ad
• The campaign reached 20Mn+ consumers across Facebook over less than a month
• It achieved a remarkable 40Mn views
• Highest ever engagement rate for Mondelez
• Buzz generated media coverage valued at an estimated $1.5 million
• The campaign restored trade sentiment and grew brand distribution by 14%
Campaign: Scam 1992 - The Harshad Mehta Story
Brand: Sony LIV
Agency: White Rivers Media
The brand objective
The platform’s objective was to position Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story as the biggest release of 2020 by recreating the sensation such that, once again the scam was all that the nation could talk about. Through its success, the platform wanted to build the audience’s perception of SonyLIV as the gateway for truly engaging content and encouraging premium subscriptions.
The teaser of the show was amplified across media portals and created initial intrigue. Business community and online news readers got the show’s first glimpse via news portals. Harshad Mehta Trivia and a ‘Stock Market Manual’ was curated on social handles. The launch amplified organic reviews by opinion leaders. The show poster took over front pages of leading business newspapers and targeted emails reached the new-age finance community. A 2-week OOH campaign was initiated across 15 cities and a four-week television campaign was launched. The show also got into a strategic partnership with Brut. India and created awareness about the scam.
Daily average premium subscriptions increased by 150% since the launch, and Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story has become the #1 watched original show on SonyLIV’s platform. Influencer associations garnered 2.5M+ views and 30+ positive reviews from prominent publication houses. The show featured on 15+ binge lists on various portals. Overall the campaign garnered 71M+ views, 66M+ social impressions and social engagement of over 1.5M. Scam 1992 – The Harshad Mehta Story was ranked the no. 1 Indian web series of 2020 by IMDb (as of December, 2020) with a rating of 9.5/10. The theme song also became the #1 track on Apple Music.
• Building a pre-buzz before the release to create recall and awareness for the real events
• Positioning SonyLIV as the gateway for truly engaging content and encouraging premium subscriptions.
• The teaser of the show was amplified across media portals
• Harshad Mehta Trivia and a ‘Stock Market Manual’ was curated on social handles
• The launch amplified organic reviews by opinion leaders.
• The show poster took over front pages of leading business newspapers
• Targeted emails reached the new-age finance community
• Strategic partnership with Brut. India to drive awareness
• Daily average premium subscriptions increased by 150% since the launch
• Media coverage valued at around – Rs 2 crore
• Influencer associations garnered 2.5M+ views
• 30+ positive reviews from prominent publication houses
• Overall campaign garnered 71M+ views, 66M+ social impressions and social engagement of over 1.5M
Campaign: Dell Performance
Agency: MediaCom India
The brand objective
With consumer spending down during the pandemic, computer company Dell aimed at driving revenue and sales by selling laptops on its e-commerce site. What already seemed like a tall task had to be done mostly through their digital campaigns since Print and OOH were no longer viable options. For Dell to thrive at such a time, it had to take a leap of faith and get aboard the digital ship.
For this campaign, the brand decided to shift to Google Cloud marketing platform to have a full funnel view, which greatly improved the means of attributing a sale to the contributing vehicles. Marketing mix modelling from Nielsen helped the brand figure out the most important media vehicles for a performance campaign of this size and then optimise spends on each of these vehicles. DMP 3rd party data, consumer transactional data and native advertising layering helped the brand with detailed audience segmentation into custom cohorts which delivered 378% growth in ROAS. Using in-market audience segments of Amazon in the programmatic campaigns helped it retarget premium exposed audiences with offer-led messaging.
While the planned goals for the brand were 457% more units YoY and 488% better revenue YoY, the campaign delivered 700% more net units YoY and 535% better net revenue YoY. This contributed to Dell regaining the #2 rank in market share with a share of 19.2%, and leapfrogging other leading brands in the market. They were also able to deliver 77% better cost per acquisition on overall media spends YoY and managed to improve the conversion rate by an unprecedented 547% YoY.
Since Print and OOH were no longer viable options during the lockdown, the brand got on board the digital ship with an aim to drive sales through e-commerce
• Shifted to Google Cloud marketing platform to have the full funnel view
• Marketing mix modelling from Nielsen helped identify important media vehicles and optimise spends
• The entire campaign was supported with regular promo periods, publisher segmentation, and constant A/B testing and optimisation of creatives
• Delivered 700% more net units YoY and 535% better net revenue YoY
• Dell regained the #2 rank in market share with a share of 19.2%
• Delivered 77% better cost per acquisition on overall media spends YoY and managed to improve the conversion rate by an unprecedented 547% YoY
Campaign: launch of Wakefit as online-first Direct to Consumer brand
The brand objective
COVID-19 changed the way consumers viewed their homes. A maximum amount of time was being spent indoors and consumers became more invested in upgrading their surroundings. They were looking for ergonomics and functionality in addition to comfort and aesthetics. Wakefit also understood that there were several gaps in the existing market, including the use of poor raw materials and inflated prices. In response to these challenges, Wakefit launched itself as an online-first direct to consumer brand that provides superior foam mattresses.
To meet Wakefit’s diverse range of product offerings, a detailed targeting strategy was created, where carefully curated campaigns were run based on different product and match types to ensure that the right kind of messaging reaches the right user. Along with that, weekly audits, regular keyword scrubbing exercises, syndicate site optimisations, and bid optimisations were also executed to drive a greater ROI. The Wakefit team also leveraged every search product feature, helping them achieve a high success rate. They used the following to great success: expanded text ads, responsive search ads, action extension, site link extension, callout extension and price and structured snippet extensions.
Wakefit witnessed a 71% rise in revenues and achieved a 10x return on ad spend (ROAS), month on month. The number of visitors to the Wakefit website increased by 80%. The search for branding campaign led to significant impact with 75% increase in website visitors, leading to a few conversions as well. Wakefit also witnessed a whopping 131% growth quarter-on-quarter in overall search volume.
• To launch Wakefit as an online-first direct to consumer brand offering superior foam mattresses.
• Understanding the several gaps in the existing market including the use of poor raw materials and inflated prices
• A detailed targeting strategy was created, where carefully curated campaigns were run based on different product and match types
• Weekly audits, regular keyword scrubbing exercises, syndicate site optimisations, and bid optimisations were also executed to drive a greater ROI
• Wakefit witnessed a 71% rise in revenues and achieved a 10x ROAS, month on month
• Number of visitors to the Wakefit website increased by 80%.
• It also garnered 131% growth quarter on quarter in overall search volume
Campaign: SWAG SE BOLO
COMPANY: Pepsi (PepsiCo)
The brand objective
In Indian culture, romantic relationships mean contentment while a person’s single status is considered incomplete, affecting the self-esteem of single people. So on Valentine’s Day, Pepsi challenged the status quo and celebrated singlehood through a mobile-driven social movement. Pepsi provoked singles to unapologetically declare their pride in being solo via a targeted TikTok video-sharing challenge, sparking an important conversation that a person’s worth doesn’t lie in his/her relationship status.
The brand created a mobile and social media first campaign and built anticipation initially around the ‘counter POV’ before the release of the anthem across social media, and by activating digital PR. It leveraged platforms with the highest reach and time spent; YouTube and Facebook/Instagram. The #SwagSeBolo anthem was introduced on the T-series YouTube channel and on Salman Khan’s Instagram handle. This was followed up with #challenge activation on TikTok. Multiple macro and micro influencers were roped in to participate, thus ensuring the scale.
With 99% positive sentiment and over 120million views, Pepsi’s #SwagSeSolo was the most viewed music video of Valentine’s Day and was among the top 3 on YouTube Music during Valentine’s Week. Within just four days, the TikTok social challenge got 5.4 billion views. It became the fastest branded #challenge globally averaging 540 videos uploaded each hour (about nine videos per minute) It attracted 200+ earned media stories, achieving an estimated $630,000 in PR value. It also generated more than 150,000 conversations around this issue. The brand also overshot operating sales volumes targets for the month of February 2020.
To spark an important conversation that a person’s worth doesn’t lie in his/her relationship status, by celebrating singles on Valentines’ Day
• The brand created a mobile and social media first campaign, releasing its special anthem for Valentines’ Day on the T-Series YouTube channel and Salman Khan’s Instagram page
• This was followed up with a #challenge activation on TikTok, inviting consumers to join in. Macro and micro influencers were roped in to participate, thus ensuring a large scale.
• With 99% positive sentiment and over 120Mn views, Pepsi’s #SwagSeSolo was the most viewed music video of Valentine’s Day
• Top three on YouTube Music during Valentine’s Week
• Within just four days the TikTok social challenge got 5.4 billion views
• Fastest branded #challenge globally averaging 540 videos uploaded/hour
• More than 150,000 conversations were generated around this issue
• Overshot operating sales volume target in month of Feb-20
Campaign: At Home with Oreo
Agency: Digitas India
The brand objective
With COVID-19, people were suddenly forced to stay indoors and were now spending more time with their kids than ever. Search data showed parents were looking up ways to keep their kids engaged at home. Oreo’s goal was to bring families closer through playful moments, and the current scenario proved to be fitting to reinvent its strategy while infusing a sense of normalcy and fun with the popular cookie, and keep its users engaged on social media.
The brand identified three relevant cohorts based on passion points (games, recipes, and art) based on which they created over 100 unique content pieces, which helped families engage with each other, both online and offline. Effective media tools like Cohort Deployment, A/B testing and personalisation at scale were adopted. Influencers and strategic partnerships were leveraged on social media to further amplify the brand message. On YouTube, while the thought was brought alive with the long-form content, the brand executed a series of six snackables and leveraged True View in-stream ads and bumper ads to target the consumers across the three identified passion points.
The campaign delivered 500 million impressions, with high engagement rates – the VTRs were 1.3x the industry benchmark. The highlight was the playful inspirations shared right back by the audience, evident in a sweet wave of user-generated content that lifted social media mentions and tripled the engagement ratios on Digital. Social media mentions on Oreo recipes increased by 130%. Searches for Oreo recipes grew by 714%. The brand saw over 1,200 pieces of user generated content were received and a 10% brand lift among the core mom TG.
• To reinvent the brand’s strategy during the pandemic scenario, infusing a sense of fun with the popular cookie
• Keeping users engaged on social media
• Three relevant cohorts were identified based on passion points (games, recipes, and art) based on which over 100 unique pieces were created to help engage with each other online and offline
• Effective media tools like cohort deployment, A/B testing and personalisation at scale were adopted
• Influencers and strategic partnerships were leveraged on social media
• Long-form content and snackables were also leveraged to target consumers
• The campaign delivered 500 million impressions, with high engagement rates
• Social media mentions on Oreo recipes increased by 130%
• Searches for Oreo recipes grew by 714%
• Over 1200 pieces of user generated content were received
Campaign: UltraTech Website Revamp
The brand objective
More than 90% of the individual home builders lack the technical knowledge or expertise or nuances associated with various aspects of home buildings. They have to rely on third parties like contractors, dealers, etc. for information on these technical aspects. They lack complete knowledge about home building and there is no reliable source of information or a one-stop shop to answer all queries in the home building space. UltraTech, in line with its objective to become a ‘home building partner’ identified this knowledge gap and revamped their corporate website to a consumer first or a consumer centric website with quality content and tips around home building.
The website was revamped as part of digital strategy in-line with the brand’s mission to be the ‘the leader in building solutions’. If the logo were to be blurred out, no one would know that this was a cement company site – the only connect would be with building and construction. This is exactly what the brand wanted to achieve. The website launched was based on consumer journey mapping and information need gap research. Technical information was converted into snackable bites in consumer speak. The home building journey was broken up into seven stages, and relevant content populated for every stage. Intuitive tools were included in the website so that the individual home builders take more informed decisions in the home building process.
3x the average YoY growth in website traffic. As the website become relevant to a new category altogether after revamp, the traffic to the website increased substantially. Pre-revamp the website was relevant mainly to investors, media houses and job seekers. The UltraTech website saw a 155% and 146% increase in organic traffic from non-metros YoY. It also saw a 13x and 2x increase in traffic from non-metros YoY, which was a clear indicator of how well the content resonated with individual home builders.
• To revamp the website, making the content attractive and relevant to individual home builders
• The website was revamped as part of digital strategy in-line with the brand’s mission to be the ‘the leader in building solutions’.
• Digital was employed as a strategic device to bring alive the brand’s ‘empathetic expert’ promise
• Technical information was converted into snackable bites in consumer speak.
• Home building journey was broken up into 7 stages; relevant content populated for every stage
• All the tools have an ‘extra expert element’ in them which differentiates tools on UltraTech site with similar tools on the internet
• 3x the average YoY growth in website traffic
• Increase in traffic from non-metros YoY, indicating how well the content resonated with individual home builders
• 10x increase in website traffic
• Average website visitors increased to a whopping 7 lakhs from 50,000
Campaign: Netflix Matchmaker
Agency: Wavemaker India
The brand objective
With the explosion of video streaming options in India, Netflix’s objective was to be the preferred destination for content. With consumers spoilt for choice, discovering the right content was key.
Netflix partnered with Twitter to design an automated engine that would give people on Twitter recommendations for their next weekend binge, based on their mood. To get a recommendation, all consumers had to do was tweet one of 862 emojis representing their mood to @NetflixIndia with #NetflixMatchMaker. The recommendation engine then sent an auto-response with content recommendations. On Swiggy, the platform drove consumers to a virtual Netflix multiplex within the restaurant and grocery section. It also leveraged other occasions to build thematic integrations that would suit the central theme of Netflix Matchmaker. Through an API integration, the platform created a digital experience outside of the Spotify app. Through the Netflix Matchmaker experience, consumers were exposed to Netflix’s vast content library before subscribing. It also enabled existing subscribers discover new content, all while keeping their ‘mood’ in mind.
Overall, the campaign generated 7% uplift in Netflix app downloads and 3x growth in MAUs (monthly active users). It reached 10million users with 63million video views achieved over the entire campaign across platforms. It also saw 4.1million engagements with a 2x increase in Netflix brand related keyword searches On Twitter, 85,000+ unique recommendations were sent out to the users. On Swiggy, 500,000+ users were exposed to the new Netflix content each week. On Spotify, 200,000+ people participated in the Matchmaker experience spending close to two minutes on the microsite. The sentiment for the campaign was overwhelmingly positive with 99% positive + neutral mentions on social platforms.
• To make Netflix the preferred destination for content
• Netflix partnered with Twitter to design an automated engine that would give people recommendations for their next weekend binge, based on their mood.
• Partnered with Swiggy to create a virtual Netflix Multiplex within the restaurant and grocery section
• Created a digital experience outside of the Spotify app that exposed consumers to Netflix’s vast content library before subscribing
• The campaign generated 7% uplift in Netflix app downloads
• 3X growth in MAUs
• Reached 10mn users, 63million video views achieved over the entire campaign across platforms
• 4.1 million engagements achieved and 2x increase in Netflix brand related keyword searches
• The sentiment for the campaign was overwhelmingly positive with 99% positive + neutral mentions on social platforms.
Campaign: Friendship Day campaign
COMPANY: McDowells No 1
Agency: Omnicom Media Group
The brand objective
For many years, McDowells has enabled friends to get together and connect over a drink, creating special moments of friendship. Due to the lockdown, McDowells last year could not enable good times with friends. The campaign’s objective was to increase the brand’s association with yaari (friendship) and engagement on Friendship Day.
The brand reached the audience with a special friendship day branded song featuring Vicky Kaushal. For immediate impact and engagement, the song was launched with a YouTube masthead, followed by Hotstar and Gaana Billboards and Saavn Maximus position. This helped the campaign reach far and wide within a span of a week prior to Friendship Day. With clear action points in mind, McDowells No.1 armed ‘yaars’ across the country to send virtual hugs this friendship day through banner interaction. These banner ads allowed the consumers to take their photo with the virtual hugs template and send it to their friends. The banners went live a week prior to Friendship Day on interactive platforms such as mCanvas, InMobi and Teads.
The campaign garnered a total reach of 192 million. It also resulted in an 8% uplift in the band’s association with ‘yaari’. The campaign’s total campaign engagement was as much as 1.6 million. The McDowells ‘Yaari’ song received 95 million views across platforms. More than 100k listens to the ‘Yaari’ song on audio platforms and a 9% uplift in ‘No. 1 Yaari’ message recall.
To increase the brand’s association with yaari (friendship) and drive engagement on Friendship Day.
• Unveiled a special Friendship Day branded song featuring Vicky Kaushal.
• McDowells No.1 encouraged ‘yaars’ across the country to send virtual hugs on friendship day through banner interaction
• Banner ads allowed consumers to take photos with the virtual hugs template and send it to their ‘yaars’.
• The banners went live a week prior to Friendship Day on platforms like mCanvas, InMobi and Teads.
• The campaign garnered a total reach of 192 million
• 8% uplift in the brand’s association with ‘yaari
• Total campaign engagement was 1.6 million
• The McDowells ‘yaari’ song received 95 million views across platforms
• More than 100k listens to the ‘yaari’ song on audio platforms
• 9% uplift in ‘No. 1 Yaari’ message recall
Campaign: The Divide
Agency: Dentsu Impact
The brand objective
Despite not being widely spoken about, the matter of financial literacy poses deep questions we need to ask ourselves today, especially in the context of gender disparity in Indian society. Therefore, this Women’s Day, Dentsu Impact India partnered with digital payments brand, Paytm to launch an impactful social experiment to drive home important insights to consumers on the gender differences in terms of financial literacy and awareness.
An experiment was conducted by award-winning director Ruchi Narain, the campaign aimed to showcase that making women in India financially literate and confident is a major and crucial step in the right direction on the path to practicing gender equality. The social experiment showed that while modern Indian women do not lack ambition or ability when it comes to financial conversations, many are still surprisingly uncertain.
The campaign saw 10million views and 80,000 shares organically. Some of India’s biggest celebrities and personalities too joined the conversation. The experiment also sparked over 30,000 conversations across the internet with a 52% increase in daily brand mentions. It was covered widely by top news and media publications, with even founders of competing brands promoting it!
On Women’s Day, the brand sought to make an important illustration of the stark differences between men and women when it comes to financial literacy.
• The brand conduced a social experiment, directed by award-winning director Ruchi Narain.
• The film highlighted an important insight – that while modern Indian women do not lack ambition when it comes to financial conversations, many are still surprisingly uncertain.
• 10million views and 80,000 shares organically
• Over 30k conversations across the internet
• 52% increase in daily brand mentions
• Covered by India’s top news and media publications
• Founders of competing payment apps also promoted it