Patanjali Ayurved, the FMCG major that has proven to be a disruptor both in marketing as well as distribution, is now eyeing digital media for its next growth phase. This comes at a time when it is launching premium products in non-traditional categories, like cornflakes, noodles and health bars. “In November last year, we realised we were spending too much on television. So we are now weaning away some of our TV budget to digital,” said Avinash Kumar, head, marketing, Patanjali Ayurved, at the Adtech summit last month.
Till February, mobile video ad platform Pokkt was the only digital medium on which Patanjali was advertising, but March onwards, it started digital video advertising for its two brands — Saundarya (premium cosmetic range) and Shishu Care (baby care range). It is now advertising on YouTube and Facebook, in addition to tying up with video adtech player Unruly. “In March, we increased our digital budget by almost 500%, spending `4-5 crore,” shared Kumar.
Clearly, Patanjali’s current style of communication — understated and focussing on desi, chemical-free products catering to the lowest common denominator — has worked for the brand. But as it readies for a digital push with offerings in non-core categories, does it need to change its narrative?
Experts say a foray into digital opens new avenues for content-based storytelling, especially for premium products. “One of the biggest delusions we marketers tend to harbour is that ‘digital’ is for urban, English-speaking consumers. Over 50% of all internet users in India are local-language only,” points out John Thangaraj, executive planning director, FCB Ulka. “So, Patanjali’s core consumer base is already on digital. It simply needs to target its core audience in a new way.”
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In fact, Patanjali appears to be bending the rules of the game in digital, too. It started its digital journey a year ago with mobile advertising company Pokkt with focus on gaming. “Our tie-up with Patanjali is for two things — first, to run rewarded video ads within gaming for some of its brands; and second, in-game integration for its brands within the kids range, such as noodles,” says Rohit Sharma, founder and CEO, Pokkt.
However, while Patanjali currently has leveraged good word-of-mouth, it should refrain from self-talk on digital, say experts. “Instead, it should talk via real consumers and harness its large consumer base using video
and social media,” advises
The author is founder and CEO, WATConsult.