In a strategy markedly different from that of other Chinese brands in the country, One Plus, Vivo and Oppo in smartphones or MG Hector in the automobile sector, consumer electronics brand Haier is keeping away from cricket and the A-list of endorsers. It has signed on sportspersons Hima Das, Dipa Karmakar and Simranjit Kaur as ambassadors for a campaign for its newly launched range of washing machines, hoping thereby, to tap into the widespread appeal of underdog branding, said experts.
Underdog branding is broadly understood as a strategy where the brand adopts the story of a protagonist who has struggled against the odds to rise to the top, as its own. It particularly resonates with consumers during tough economic times. Haier has used the three ambassadors and their fight to get to the top to stand for its brand promise, which is to work silently for customers, the company said.
According to N S Satish, senior vice-president, Sales & Marketing, Haier Appliances India, the theme and the concept of the campaign was clear to the company from the beginning. “We did not want to hard sell our product. The concept was to convey the message through brand ambassadors who are hardworking people, who have excelled in their respective field by working quietly,” he said.
The ads barely talk about the product. The focus is on the life stories of the three athletes. Sprinter Hima Das from Assam and her first gold medal at the World Under-20 Championship at Finland and subsequently, the Arjuna Award for outstanding achievements in sports. Boxer Simranjit Kaur from Chakar (Punjab) and her perseverance that got her the bronze medal at the Women’s World Boxing Championship. Much like Das, her years of hard work, unsung and unrewarded did finally bear fruit, but not before she had put in the years in service of the game. And Dipa Karmakar, her fight against the odds to win a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow and subsequently, the Padma Shri.
“We targeted 7-8 sports women, who have come up from an unknown background without much help or support, financially and/or technologically,” said Satish. The films dramatise their journey, snapping up their big moments in a sharply cut short video. Emotional and inspiring videos are being increasingly used by brands as it is a form of content that is believed to appeal the most to women viewers, according to the 2019 Adobe Brand Content Survey.
According to the company, the campaign is a reflection of Haier’s philosophy of performing silently while becoming an inspiration for many without any immediate recognition, applause or attention. Raj Kamble, founder and CCO, Famous Innovations, the agency that worked on the campaign said, “We were working with a very simple yet innovative product, a washing machine that does what it does in the most efficient way possible.”
For many brands, short, online videos are now an indispensible element of their campaigns, given its increasing popularity. According to ‘The trillion (and growing) touchpoint story–recognising the monetisation conundrum’, a BCG-CII report the report, the average Indian’s digital video consumption has grown 2x in the past two years, on the back of surging smartphone adoption and ubiquitous low-cost high-speed mobile internet, coupled with industry’s initiatives. “The Indian consumer is becoming increasingly engaged with the stories being told. This is evident, given we are witnessing a rise in both, the number of sessions as well as the time spent per session,” said Kanchan Samtani, managing director and partner, Boston Consulting Group India.―Business Standard