The ‘Unbox Zindagi’ Deduction

A backstory to the “Unbox Zindagi” Campaign

In September 2016, Snapdeal launched their campaign “Unbox Zindagi.” They claimed to go after the next 100 million consumers and bring them to the e-commerce category. Have a look at this campaign from Snapdeal -
The planned spend behind this campaign, inclusive of all costs and branding activities, was a whopping 200 crores. Surely this was going to be the campaign that would rocket Snapdeal into the big league with Flipkart and Amazon to emerge as the 3rd competitor in the e-commerce category.
However, it did not. The campaign amounted to nothing much. Our team at Kraftshala had already predicted way back in 2016 that this campaign would not achieve its target.

Kraftshala Snapdeal prediction

Let us break down this Snapdeal Case Study and understand why it could not capture the Indian audience by breaking down the campaign through Reverse Marketing.
Both the Amazon and Snapdeal marketing brand campaign case study will be useful for all the budding future brand managers out there.
Now, reverse marketing is the process by which companies encourage customers to actively seek out their products and services themselves, rather than letting them try to sell them their products. This is done in a similar fashion to how you would reverse engineer a product or a process to see exactly what works and what doesn't work. Marketing is not only about building brand awareness, it is also about winning customers. The goal of any marketing tactic is to educate consumers, build brand loyalty, and show customers that you value them for who they are.
The first step in any reverse marketing plan is an honest assessment of a company's current image with customers, what it wants to attract and how it wants to attract with. Instead of promoting simply the product or service, customers are presented with a solution to a familiar problem they face and they try to correct that problem by offering customers something valuable. In other words, it’s highly crucial to frame the business objective correctly.
In 2016, Snapdeal decided to reposition its brand after suffering considerable losses back to back for two years. So, to get back into the race, Snapdeal decided to launch their "Unbox Zindagi" ad campaign. This campaign wanted to change everything about the brand - from the logo to the theme and the delivery moments. However, it failed to realize what customers actually wanted and that was assurance. Snapdeal failed to capitalize on that and instead went for complete brand repositioning.
Now, let's do a reverse marketing analysis of the campaign and take a deeper look.

The Objective of Snapdeal Ad Campaign

Unbox Zindagi was set up to reposition the brand after suffering losses in 2014-2016. It was mainly targeted towards people who were not using Snapdeal. The new positioning focused more on an emerging India. The aim was to drive customers using the Category Penetration Strategy from Amazon and Flipkart. The other goal for them was to attract 100 million new customers.
As per the words from their CEO Kunal Bahl -
“It is about understanding that each purchase is not just a transaction, but an opportunity to upgrade to a better life, which is reflected in Snapdeal’s “Unbox Zindagi” campaign”

Budget Allocated

The advertising agency for this ad campaign was McCann Erickson and the company spent a whopping INR 200 crore on this campaign.

Snapdeal Vermelho colored Boxes

Concept & Execution

The concept and lyrics for the entire campaign were written by Prasoon Joshi and the anthem was sung by Shankar Mahadevan to the music of Shankar-Ehsan-Loy. Snapdeal redesigned its logo and changed the color shade to Vermelho (a shade of red). The new brand identity could be seen in the app, on the website, and in brand communication, making it a well budget advertising campaign with a high probability of achieving its goal.

Insight from the Campaign (Core Idea)

Snapdeal wanted to communicate to their target group this core idea -
“I don't want to be limited by dreams and feelings. I want to feel free and confident in what I do with my life. I just want to take a step forward.”
This is where Snapdeal steps in. ‘Unbox Zindagi’ offers happiness in a box. The campaign asked people to free their wings and believe in their biggest hopes and aspirations. This campaign was asking people to believe in something bigger and hope to stay attached to it. It iterated to its users to free their dreams and unbox LIFE.
Snapdeal wanted to communicate to their target group this core idea -

Functional & Emotional Benefits Portrayed in the Campaign

Functional Benefit – The availability of all kinds of products on Snapdeal Emotional Benefit – The confidence to dream and the happiness in fulfilling them

Recital

There were two aspects of the advertising campaign which captured the attention of a viewer-
  • The music and the lyrics blended perfectly with the storyline and succeeded in grabbing the audience’s attention
  • The emotional aspect of showing sheer happiness by using Snapdeal products created a Reason To Believe (RTB) for consumers.
  • Analysis of the Campaign

    Now, from the above discussion, it was apparent that Snapdeal managed to make the perfect ad campaign that would drive customers towards it and help capture the market as a strong contender in the e-commerce industry again. But, apparently, it DIDN’T. Why?
    To start with, let’s take a step back and look at why Snapdeal was at loss for two years.

    Snapdeal faces huge backlash and losses

    Snapdeal & Amir Khan’s Controversy

    The company started facing backlashes when its former Brand Ambassador Aamir Khan was viciously ridiculed for his remarks about India which lead to a tarnished image of Snapdeal.

    Snapdeal faces backlash

    Faced backlash because of incorrect items delivered frequently

    Snapdeal faces backlash

    Later, Snapdeal was also accused of selling prescription drugs over the internet and delivering incorrect items to their consumers. This instilled suspicion & distrust in the minds of clients, which is not a good thing.

    Huge Layoffs

    Snapdea’s huge layoff

    When Snapdeal's company began to falter, it was forced to engage in huge layoffs. As a result of all of this, the company had a very negative reputation in the market.

    Complete Redesign of Snapdeal

    Snapdeal’s redesign

    That's when the campaign 'Unbox Zindagi' was aired, with the goal of brand repositioning in the market by altering nearly everything about it. They completely redesigned the whole brand.
    However, despite the huge budget underpinning the campaign, it failed to penetrate the market. The ad campaign aimed to provide a new perspective & focused on providing happiness, dreams, and fulfilling hopes but did nothing to connect with consumers. It also failed to highlight its problems i.e. their elements of poor product delivery and unauthentic products.

    Stiff competition from Amazon and Flipkart Ads

    Unbox Zindagi was their last-ditch attempt to get back on the market. However, customers' attention was drawn more towards Amazon's "Aur Dikhao" ad and Flipkart's "Kids as Adults" campaign which was beautifully targeted towards the consumers.

    Consequence of the Campaign

    Even though a few consumers liked the campaign, the campaign could not show progressive growth and as a result, revenue of Snapdeal fell by 40% to Rs. 903 crore and market share dipped from 24% to 3% towards the end of the fiscal year 2017. From then on, the investors were of little assistance as well.
    "We were going to fall off a cliff if a call was not taken immediately to continue to build the business”, Bahl iterated.
    That’s when they came up with Snapdeal 2.0.

    Snapdeal 2.0

    Snapdeal came back with their new Snapdeal 2.0 to mainly focus on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities selling local and unbranded products to recover their losses from previous attempts and to regrow the brand. Today, Snapdeal covers a small section of the market but it has been growing slowly but steadily.

    Snapdeal Failed to create a distinct brand identity

    Snapdeal failed miserably at building a distinct brand identity.
    "Snapdeal was a part of the 'Rising Tide' phenomenon we saw in e-commerce," says Ambi Parameswaran, a brand strategist and Founder of Brand-Building.com, a brand advisory.
    Because all e-commerce businesses were giving offers in a flash, it had no distinct consumer value proposition to offer. In this environment, the expensive Unbox Zindagi campaign meant nothing new, and it was especially detrimental at a time when the competition was running unique advertisements.
    Furthermore, advertising can only arouse desire and raise awareness; it cannot compensate for a subpar product or changing market dynamics. Snapdeal had a number of challenges, one of which was being noticed in a competitive and increasingly commoditizing sector.

    e-commerce market shares

    "You tend to fight a never-winning brand battle in a commodity space," says marketing consultant, Harish Bijoor. "There are just too many doing the same thing, vying for the same set of eyeballs and wallets … the consumer surfs through them all and buys from the lowest price, which is great for the consumer but terrible for the brand.”
    So, will Snapdeal be able to recover from the setback with its new initiative Snaldeal 2.0, and take on the giants like Amazon and Flipkart? That is the multibillion-dollar question that has everyone baffled and a question to ponder upon. Until next time.
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