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BCCL’s Happy Times is for the ‘selectively’ attentive consumer

Happy Times is a marketing innovation from BCCL in print media, with gamified, interactive platform and front-page delivery. It helps marketers drive salience, brand and message and generate high-customer engagement, trials and spends

Today, there is no end to brands, products and choices. And most companies are stuck on a competitive treadmill, competing to keep pace with each other. 

The ones that break through and connect powerfully are the ones making the effort to be genuinely different, in a way that the customer values. If marketers must interrupt consumers and seek their attention, it had better be for something meaningful. 

With Happy Times, a first-of-a-kind marketing innovation from BCCL in print media, there’s a way now. With its gamified, interactive platform and front-page delivery, it helps marketers drive salience, brand and message cut through and generate high customer engagement, trials and spends, all at the same time.

Happy Times is a marketing platform powered by brands such as TOI, Navbharat Times, Maharashtra Times and Ei Samay with a combined pan-India readership of 3.08 crore (TOI–1.61 crore; BCCL Languages–1.47 crore). With its impossible-to-miss front page placement on the masthead and a minimum of 25 inserts in a month, an advertiser not only gets instant reach and salience to a nationwide audience and the right TG, but also trials and transactions on their app, website or stores, through the platform’s gamified model.

Why would the readers of these publications, potential customers for the marketer, care to engage? It’s quite simple really. ‘Happy Times’ is a daily opportunity for the readers of TOI, NavBharat Times, Maharashtra Times and Ei Samay to answer two questions, based on the same day’s editorial content, and win attractive daily, weekly and monthly rewards from participating advertisers. These rewards are daily e-vouchers that 5000 winning readers receive through SMSes, the same day, redeemable on the client’s app, website or physical store as the case may be. Readers also win points for every right answer that accumulate as they participate every day. These points entitle them to weekly and monthly big-ticket sweepstake prizes such as cars, etc. Interest in answering questions and winning attractive vouchers from participating advertisers has seen participation climb from 30,000 per day in the launch week to more than 1 lakh per day.

Happy Times was launched pan-India on May 15, 2019. The total daily participation to date stands at 8.0 million and is growing every day. From a marketer’s perspective, the huge participation numbers represent a high level of engagement, not just reach and salience. What’s more, this engagement has been found to drive some very interesting results for our participating sponsors to date:

• Acquisition of new users:  App Installs – An advertiser from the F&B space clocked a jump of more than 95% in their app installs, over their average monthly app installs achieved through digital media.

• User Engagement: Another advertiser recorded 1.2 lakh transactions over a period of two months, with 80% of these transactions from new users acquired on their app through Happy Times.

• Trials leading to business growth (Gross Merchandise Value):  Newly acquired app users as well as re-engaged customers were found to have transacted and spent well in excess of the value of the voucher won.  An advertiser witnessed total GMV generated through Happy Times worth Rs 42 million+. The cost of acquisition turned out to be lower than most other channels, including digital. 

This is real business impact. Benefits like these on a platform where a marketer can choose the geographic focus that they want, drive salience, engagement, trials and transactions, help businesses get more ROI from their media investments. This potential was recognised by clients early on. The programme was launched in 15 cities with Dineout, Croma & Ford Motors as participating sponsors. Zomato and Lenskart were quick to join in with the programme being scaled up to more than 60 cities across the length and breadth of India, with daily participation quickly crossing a lakh per day. The latest is a start-up in the indoor plants and seeds business which is seeing a big jump in its customer acquisition and online sales courtesy Happy Times.

Interesting variants are being developed basis advertisers’ needs. During World Cup, earlier this year, Happy Times Powerplay was launched. It awarded triple the benefits on India match days to winning readers. This saw significant spike and growth in participation. Another promising variant is the ‘Advertiser’s question’. Advertisers can take over the second question of the two daily questions below the masthead, and use it to cue attention to an ongoing campaign in the publication or across media. The existing reader interest in getting the answer right to win vouchers and points, ensures brand and execution cut-through of the campaign. What’s more, trials and spend are driven via e-vouchers disbursed to winning readers, on the advertiser’s platforms. The potential of new ways of engaging with customers using this model are exciting indeed, with the current results seen with participating advertisers.

Happy Times: A milestone in BCCL’s Innovation Journey

Some of the impactful innovations that India has woken up to, right from the sound of Volkswagen’s new sedan, Vento, starting up on opening the pages of the Times of India, ‘sampling’ of Pantene’s shampoo sachets expertly attached in their ad, or when readers woke up to the aroma of Bru Gold coffee (not from a cuppa but their ‘aromatic’ newspaper), have been a result of collaboration of BCCL’s innovation capabilities with imaginative marketers.

 *Readership figures quoted are Total Readership figures as per Indian Readership Survey (IRS) Q2 2019.

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