Although the concept of e-commerce is not at all new, the very practice of online shopping in India has really only become widespread over the past couple of years. Flipkart is one of the most prominent online shopping networks in the country today and has succeeded in becoming so by not only adapting to specifically fit the demands of Indian consumers, but also by advertising efficiently.
Flipkart has many charmingly witty advertisements that are not only funny, but also effectively promote the company’s services. One recent advertisement which has stuck with me shows three generations of a family—a grandfather, a father and mother, and a son—played by children and voiced by adults. The scene starts with the father walking out of his room to see his son and father unpacking a box at the table, and a delivery man standing nearby. The father asks if the package is for him and his son replies that the delivery man is from Flipkart and has brought a previously ordered mobile set for his grandfather. The father expresses his disapproval of online shopping, demanding to know why and how they ordered something with only a picture of it online to go by. The grandfather assures him that Flipkart is reliable and sells what it promises. As the father continues his harangue the mother steps in and reminds him that before their marriage she too had only seen a picture of him, leaving the father with nothing to say or do but endure his family’s chuckles.
While this advertisement certainly has humorous aspects, it succeeds in using the humour to efficiently get its point across. There is an inherent suspicion of goods and sellers rooted in the minds of Indians, a distrust of the quality of products. There is a belief that since it is the buyer’s responsibility to avoid buying faulty goods they must carefully inspect all items before purchase (this is probably one of the main reasons of the delayed spread of online shopping in the country). Flipkart uses its advertisement to guarantee satisfaction to its customers, saying that it will deliver exactly what it promises to.
To hit home on the point, Flipkart points out the illogic of mistrusting photographs of products yet going as far as to arrange marriage—one of the most important life events—solely on the basis of a person’s photograph.
Another reason why Indians and online shopping have not instantly bonded is that most online companies require payment to be made at the time of ordering via credit card. “Plastic money” is not all that popular for most Indians, and most transactions in India take place in the form of cash. Also, due to the frequent scams that take place many are apprehensive of paying first and receiving later, because on receiving payment many fraudulent companies fail to deliver.
Flipkart offers a Cash On Delivery option for payment with which one can pay in cash at the time of receiving the order. Although not explicitly portrayed in this advertisement, Flipkart covertly advertises this feature as well, with the camera zooming in to show the grandfather paying cash to the delivery man. It also surreptitiously emphasizes its free delivery services, when the grandfather makes a remark about the same to his son.
This advertisement efficaciously reaches out to all consumers, particularly to those who still have an entrenched aversion to online shopping. In my opinion, this advertisement is truly ingenious since it points out the absurdity of Indian practices—refusing to shop online because of mistrusting photos, but often fixing marriages on the basis of photos alone. It also manages to inform consumers of the benefits of its service without being too overt.
I believe that this advertisement will indeed increase Flipkart’s consumer base as it is pretty persuasive, and an increase in brand visibility will be an added benefit. This advertisement, I am sure, will cause at least a few people to rethink their logic and become online customers.
This is one of the best examples I have seen of intelligent advertising, and the day I need to advertise my company’s services or products I would definitely call the advertising agency that works with Flipkart!
Image Source [http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-U-HErzTCJLI/TnHeul3l6QI/AAAAAAAABPQ/A1YvobKsAGA/s1600/Flipcart.com+004.jpg]