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Hike takes the OOH route to promote'freedom of expression'

By Nabamita Chatterjee - December 31, 2014

The brand rolled out one of the largest mass-customised outdoor campaigns in terms of geographical location and through context aware messaging. More than 20 copywriters and 500 men spent hours on the creative, to make it live around 300 sites across 30 cities of India.

Hike, the popular Indian-made social messenger app, has recently launched a strategic pan India campaign titled "Mila le tu dil se dilke taar” for promoting their local language stickers. Hike, from one of their market insights observed that while English and the Internet lingo are perceived as'cool' statements, the Indian youth fall back to their mother tongue while expressing deep emotions like true love, happiness, anger or frustration. This led them to create stickers in 11 local languages for their users, which will help the target audience to express their thoughts in a better way, enrich their conversations, and bring the'cool' attitude proposition back to their roots.

Creative agency Taproot India designed the entire creative plan while the outdoor agency Kinetic played a vital role in executing the nation wide campaign.

Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder & CEO, Hike Messenger shares, "We want to offer our users the freedom to express. Of the 10 billion plus monthly messaging volume, stickers contribute to 30 per cent of the traffic, accounting for 3 billion sticker shares - and this number is growing day by day. We truly believe India is a country of many countries - we stand united in our diversity. Hike is made in India and thus this offering follows naturally. We're localising hike even further for the market by launching over 250 stickers in multiple languages catering to 11 distinct regions. It's been a big request from our 35M+ users too and we can't wait to see the response.”

Strategic Media

As Hike's core target audience is the young smartphone users, they mostly cater to the school/college students or young people who have just joined the workforce, and generally spend hours on their smartphones. Thus, the brand decided to be present wherever the youth is going to catch their attention.

According to the brand, the most complicated piece of the plan was the OOH campaign. The brand went for an extensive OOH execution which highlighted the local language stickers in the corresponding regions, in a more contextual manner. Clusters were identified in around  30 cities across India like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Chennai Vizag, Guwahati, Nashik to hit the target audience. Maximum visibility was achieved in the clusters by having a combination of multiple properties.

Adding to this, an interesting branding activity was executed along with CCD, in which, orders were served along with Hike's sticker cut-outs with a funny message. Similar branding activity was done in cinemas, where large cut-outs were placed showcasing the regional sticker accompanied by a contextual message. Considering the character of the brand and the nature of their proposition; relating it with the respective geography, context and relevance were important factors apart from mere frequency of delivery which has been taken care off by the respective agencies.

Outdoor Innovations

Kinetic rolled out the outdoor campaign which has been designed as one of the largest mass-customised outdoor campaigns, in terms of geography and context. The brand has captured more than 300 sites across 30 cities, targeting the youth with tailored messaging. The OOH agency wanted to target the clusters which are frequently visited by the brand's target audience, in every city and paint them blue. The audience was connected through hoardings, bus shelters, pole kiosks and such. Apart from this, the brand has also experimented with transit media to reach a wider audience through autos in Chennai and trams in Kolkata which is a heritage transport of the country.

Hike took outdoor advertising a step ahead and ensured placement with a unique creative at each property, across all cities. The creative attempted to recognise the audience's state of mind and represent it through a humorous sticker-led hoarding. For example, A metro panel inside the platform of the MG Road metro station reads "Chill Maar! Yeh aakhri metro nahi hai” which is a perfect response to the mind frame of the people struggling to get on to the crowded metro and highlights hike's "Chill Maar” sticker, which is a common term used by the youth in Delhi.

The context of the unique messaging and the locations chosen were carefully decided upon using a co-creation model that the company follows. Hike has over 1000 Hike Ninjas, who are the top users of the app, from across the country. With the help of the Ninjas, the brand was able to put out the right message, which resonates with the youth, unique to each property chosen. Besides the large number of creatives to be made, there was a big challenge at the execution level as the brand had to ensure that the correct creative went on each property.

Amit Sarkar, Chief Operating Officer, Kinetic India concludes, "This was a very unique campaign with extreme detailing of contextual messaging relevant to localised consumer behavioural pattern across multiple locations in 30 cities. The campaign planning and scalability of execution was definitely a refreshing'next step' in OOH. I sincerely thank Kavin and his team for their innovative approach and look forward to do some more exciting work together.”

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