FLIPKART – AMAZON- fight to own the hygiene factors

By | April 27, 2016

Original products, Timely delivery and return policy are three basic hygiene pillars of e-commerce success in India. Now we have the two leading e-commerce platforms Flipkart and Amazon trying to break the clutter and have strong brand association with these levers. Unfortunately, their collective din is not helping the case. In such a situation other than the actual experience, it is communication that helps differentiate or amplify a brand.
So, Amazon tells you that they give original stuff just because Indians have such a quirk about ‘ASALI’ (original). You are shown a vignette of situations. A driver checks the currency note. His smile, it is not a fake. A woman shakes a coconut checking for water content- it is not a dud. A customer jumps on sofa. All of them are busy checking so that they don’t get a fake piece.

Soon another TVC from Amazon shows a groom urging a pandit (Priest) to rush through the wedding rituals. A person dropping his handkerchief on a bus seat through the window. He is in a hurry. Amazon tells you, see we understand you, you Indian customers want everything ‘Jaldi’ ( early ) we give you fast delivery.
In another TVC with multiple situations, it tells you ‘We indians like helping each other. Here is the helpful customer service’ !!!
This is the time when you want to shout and say ‘we Indians hate such stereotyped ads- and hence will you please stop them’

On the strategic front. This campaign from Amazon is based on the everyday behavior of Indian consumers. We agree we are like that only but do we need to be shown the mirror. The question remains, how effectively the insight or observation is leveraged, and if it is presented the right way; engaging, involving and non-stereotyped.
In fact, the situations are too Indian to make one smile. Some disruption is required for the audience to get engaged with the communication.
The TVC that works, is about the ritual of hiding the shoes of the groom. Bride’s sisters ( saali) return’s it only after getting paid. In the TVC, she is disappointed. She gets nothing because at the right moment, the groom gets a fresh pair of footwear delivered to him. ‘on-time delivery’ makes you smile and register the promise.
A kid in the extended family genuinely asked me ‘what about the countries where people are not so quirky- does Amazeon sells fakes and delay deliveries. I did not acknowledge the question. It is a silly question anyway.
When I compare Amazon communication with work done by Flipkart, I find the latter better. In case of Flipkart, a single central character personally endorses its Oiginal products and return policy. He is willing to be penalised if proven wrong. And a second set of commercial re-establishes the layered message ‘even when it is cheap at Flipkart, it is original’.

In another situation, he suggests his that the doctor could buy original shoes from Flipkart. Jokingly the grown-up adult says ‘if proven wrong he is willing to take an injection’. This and the chemistry between the characters make you smile.

The two brands Amazon and Flipkart are working with same promises. Both have gone ahead with a simple situation based solutions. Flipkart uses a single character binding all situations. A character who also stands guarantor for the brand. Amazon uses multiple cast and situations and ends up making a manufacturer’s statement of promises.
Not that Flipkart is the best possible execution, but they seem to have you smiling more. The brand connects with the promise is also stronger and the casting for the TVC perfect. Flipkart seems to understand not only the Indian consumer but also the audience.

I respect Leo Burnett creative power and strategic execution, but this time around Orchard Advertising ( part of Leo Burnett) has slipped. Stand alone the TVC seems fine but placed in comparative market situations Flipkart outscores- at least in communication.
Will consumers someday accept Amazon as their own because it speaks their language and understands them? Will Amazon become AAPNI DUKAN? Only time has the answer!

This article was first published in MXMINDIA.com

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Sanjeev Kotnala with 28 years of corporate experience is the founder of Intradia World. A Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. His focus area is Ideation and Innovation, a subject in which he conducts specialized workshops like IDEAHarvest, Liberate and InNoWait. For soft skill training, he follows SHIFT (Specific High-Intensity Frequent training), which is all about contineous frequent training with shorter sessions. Email sanjeev@intradia.in tweet @s_kotnala web: www.intradia.in www.sanjeevkotnala.com.

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