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How India Gate’s 360-degree campaign engaged South Indian consumers on the versatility of Basmati rice

From delighting cinema-goers to spotlighting home chefs across social media, India Gate recently launched an expansive 360-degree campaign, celebrating the versatile world of Basmati rice. The idea was to involve the audience in the process and engage with them directly. The brand identified key mediums that offered high media exposure and engagement. Here’s a detailed case study on how the campaign panned out.

In a strategic move to reshape perceptions of Basmati rice in the Southern market, India Gate, a leading player in the Indian Basmati rice market, launched a comprehensive campaign. This targeted initiative sought to showcase the diverse applications and versatility of Basmati rice. Employing innovative methods to alter consumer perception, the brand executed an extensive and impactful campaign. Explore the detailed case study to delve into how this groundbreaking initiative unfolded.

Category Introduction

Basmati in its years of origin was meant only for the selected few. Kings were growing it specifically in limited quantities available only for the royal kitchens.

With the advancement in Agriculture and Technology, Basmati is today, grown in more than 33 varieties in India. The traditional varieties and the new age developed crops such as PUSA 1121. This has helped rice become a massive contributor to India’s GDP as well.

Since its inception, the farmers cultivating PB 1121 earned an average of US$ 1400/ha as against US$ 650/ha cultivating traditional Basmati, making it a profitable enterprise. In the last financial year, India produced 75 lac metric tons of Basmati Rice. Of this, 45 lac metric tonnes were exported ($4.79 billion value), and 30 lac metric tonnes were consumed domestically.
Out of the domestic consumption, 18.5 lac metric tons are consumed in Indian households. Today, Basmati is much more than just a staple Biryani ingredient, it is now an indispensable ingredient in all households. 

Brand Introduction

Established in 1998, India Gate as a brand has traversed a remarkable journey to become the world’s No. 1* basmati rice brand, holding the position of No. 1 trusted brand**. With a global footprint, India Gate stands as a testament to culinary excellence, offering a diverse range of over 25 SKUs that cater to consumers across all strata. It is a trusted brand by millions and has become a culinary cornerstone, embraced as a staple in over a crore households. Signifying excellence in every grain, India Gates’s impact extends far and wide, reaching over 750 cities, penetrating one crore households, and achieving a remarkable annual sale of eight crore consumer packs. Acknowledged as the number one choice in both general and modern trade, we take pride in our legacy, continually redefining excellence in the world of basmati rice.

*As per Mordor Intelligence Report on packaged basmati rice, MAT June, 2023

**As per the Brand Trust Report, India Study 2023, for packaged rice category

Summary

The primary objective of the campaign was to showcase the versatility and diverse applications of Basmati rice through an elaborate media plan, which included digital activities, on-ground consumer activations, television commercials, user-generated recipes, and innovative cooking techniques.

India Gate aimed to highlight the potential of Basmati rice beyond biryani as a dish, capturing the attention of food enthusiasts and inspiring them to try new or traditional recipes themselves using India Gate Basmati Rice.

Problem Statement/Objective

In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, Basmati Rice as a category is not as salient as it is in the North. Branded basmati dominates in both of these states unlike in the North where unbranded dominates. 

Basmati overall has a special quotient and modern imagery in the South, however, the average consumption is low because of Basmati’s limited usage in dishes.

With this, the primary consumption of Basmati happens in Biryani. There is a smaller experimentation trend happening via the desire to replicate OOH food, demand from kids, and discouragement of children from eating outside.

South Indians are deeply rooted in their culture and regional food but India Gate wants to get a bigger share of the plate in the southern homes of India, starting from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and from there take it further to the rest of South India.

In an attempt to capture southern hearts – the brand launched two TVCs in both Tamil and Kannada which aired starting in June.

Brief

India Gate tasked its agencies with a comprehensive aim to transform the way Basmati rice is perceived in the southern market of India. The directive emphasized the need for a holistic 360-degree communication approach and an innovative media strategy. The idea was to make a strategic move to redefine and elevate the brand’s presence in the southern market.

Creative Idea

While India Gate has consistently held its position as a market leader in packaged Basmati rice in southern India, the consumption narrative was predominantly confined to Biryani. Tailoring a strategic approach exclusively for the Southern market, we identified an experimental inclination among consumers. This realization led to the inception of #ExperimentsWithBasmati, encouraging individuals to infuse a twist of Basmati into their daily South Indian dishes, including traditional favorites like coconut rice, mint rice, and pudhina sadam.

Taking this idea to the streets, we engaged with both General and Modern trade, and also orchestrating surprises upon the release of Jailer. A noteworthy collaboration with PVR added an interactive dimension, bringing the campaign to life on the big screen. Complementing the television campaign, we amplified inspiration through a curated series featuring influencers. Join us on this culinary journey as we redefine the boundaries of Basmati rice consumption in the South.

Challenges

Basmati, despite having a special quotient in the South, observes low average consumption because of Basmati’s limited usage in dishes. The challenge was to win over Southern markets, especially consumers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where Basmati rice as a category is not as salient as it is in the North.

Execution  

The brand launched a 360-degree campaign using platforms like Meta, YouTube, News, community building, and influencer campaigns. The overall duration of the campaign was 60 days.
Digital TVC

India Gate released its TVCs on digital platforms in vernacular languages like Tamil and Kannada. 

Kannada-

Tamil –

Tamil –

Kannada –

Influencer campaign

The brand collaborated with influencers to share their recipes made with India Gate Basmati rice and featured them on Instagram. The influencers further challenged more users to try sharing their own variations of traditional recipes.

Social media contest

It announced a campaign encouraging consumers in the South to cook traditional recipes that go beyond Biryani through its #ExperimentsWithBasmati contest. This encouraged participants to share their recipes as the brand featured the winners alongside their recipes on social media platforms. 

In-cinema advertising

In an endeavor to establish a more direct connection with our audience, India Gate initiated an interesting experiment in Bangalore. Amidst the anticipation of the movie “Jailer,” an unconventional ad unfolded before the audience. This wasn’t just any ad; it was a direct conversation with the audience.

This interactive ad went beyond the conventional by providing the audience with a literal taste of the versatility of Basmati rice in South Indian cuisine. It was a unique and engaging way to showcase the diverse possibilities that Basmati rice brings to the table, quite literally, during their cinematic experience.

This social experiment sparked conversations and garnered attention both on and off the screen as audiences were taken on an unexpected culinary journey. India Gate engaged its audience in a way that transcended the traditional boundaries of cinema.

Results

Quantitative – India Gate reached 13 million users, achieving four million contest engagements for the South Contest. Additionally, the Social Experiment campaign garnered 20 million views and received over 7,800 engagements, making it go viral across meme pages and digital media.
Qualitative – Through this campaign, the brand attempted to take Basmati Beyond Biryani by educating the South Indian consumer about the diverse suitability of basmati rice to far more food options and garnered conversation as they tried the recipes for themselves.

Mitika Malhotra, Digital Lead, KRBL Ltd. “In the vibrant regions of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, basmati rice has been steadily gaining popularity, following the trend set in the North. South India, where packaged basmati rice takes centre stage, India Gate leads the way with an impressive 70% market share, providing a strong foundation for our growth. With its unique charm and contemporary appeal, basmati rice has captured the imagination of the South. While it traditionally shines in biryani, our campaign aims to celebrate its versatility and inspire a diverse audience to embrace basmati rice as an exciting ingredient for their daily culinary adventures.”

Source: Social Samosa

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