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AdStand: The ecom merry band

Ecom brands are greasing the wheels of the advertising industry. This week Flipkart and Amazon came out with brand new ads, both highlighting the easy return policy. MakeMyTrip also aired two new commercials but they seem very contrived

Delhi | March 22, 2016

Adstand by Naresh Gupta

Currently it's the ecom brands that are greasing the wheels of the advertising industry, apart from Vimal Pan Masala which seems to have the key to Kuber’s khazana. This week, three brands, two of which are focused on returns, and one that left me perplexed, feature in this review.

To start with, all the ads are extremely well made and very well casted.

First, the two TVCs of Flipkart which build on the easy return policy of merchandise. The new game on ecom front is easy return; may be this is the way the platforms are leveraging to drive the adoption of buying from ecom brands. The first TVC has a cute, old boss and young acolyte conversation about buying a birthday gift for his wife


The dialogues are crisp, the acting superlative and Amol Palekar brings in oodles of charm to the plot. I guess having a yesteryear cine star makes the advertising appealing to the older generation that has the money but may not be going to Flipkart so easily.


The second commercial from Flipkart is about the same junior and an older doctor. Like the first ad, crisp writing and top class performance leave the audience with a happy smile. After a long time, Flipkart has produced two very loveable commercials.

Meanwhile, Amazon continues to build its Indian-ness with a bunch of new TVCs that go deeper into the interiors of India. It gets in an Ambassador car, a railway station, and a host of relationships. The first TVC has a very loveable mother-daughter conversation about wedding shopping. The daughter does trump the mother by demonstrating easy return policy. The second commercial carries the same story of wedding forward, in a small railway station where they have come to receive an aunt of theirs. Clothes are now of wrong size, and they need to be returned and the clever daughter does it on her app.

The only difference between the two brands is the gender of casting – one is an all-male casting, and the other is all-female. Both are building on easy return, a wide range, and original merchandise. Everything that keeps the audience away from an app-based shopping is addressed.

Did the two brands read the same research report that highlighted returns as an issue?

The third brand that released brand new ads is MakeMyTrip. Last year MakeMyTrip positioned itself as a travel enabler. The commercial built the inherent human desire to travel, see new things, eat new food and have enriching experiences. All this without using any celebrity.

This year they have signed up with two of India’s hottest stars, Ranveer and Alia. The ads instantly have greater recognition across the channels. To me that is all that two really expensive celebrities bring to table. The entire set-up is contrived. Why will a hotel’s front desk executive give a discount? Why will a harried traveller who comes with his app being held out say boo to another customer on the front desk? Why does the front desk manager have a pronounced lisp?


The second ad has Ranveer as a Bengali traveller and Alia as a local cab driver. The set-up, the acting, the dialogues are as contrived as the first TVC.


The bigger issue is this: MakeMyTrip signs up two expensive celebrities; makes two well produced TVCs to tell the audience that they have a wide range of hotels, and yet they offer discounts? Trivago does the same without celebs and does it with greater focus. For a brand that wants to own and has the chance to own the spirit of travel and thus a much wider travel conversation, this one is a misfit in overall brand plank.

Apps and sites are changing the way people shop. By tapping into barriers the acceptance can be driven, but by building discounts loyalty can’t be built.


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