Riding the experiential wave: Sagar Boke, Marketing head, Bunge India


SagarBoke, the Head of Marketing for Bunge India, is a happy man today. The marketer takes great pride in expressing how the brands primary product,Dalda edible oils,made an impact at the JagannathRathYatra in Puri this year through the innovative concept of 'Bhajan se BhojanTak'. Often known as one of the biggest congregations of pilgrims across the world, the RathYatra this year was attended by over 15 lakh devotees who came from all nook and corners of the country to witness Lord Jagannath’s majestic journey from JagannathPuri temple to Gundecha temple.

Carrying out a BTL engagement at such a massive scale can be challenging for any marketer or execution agency, but through the campaign ‘Bhajan se BhojanTak’, Dalda managed to not only create awareness about its edible oils but also successfully become a true companion for the pilgrims in their holy journey.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that Dalda managed to emotionally captivate its target consumers through its experiential efforts. In the past too, be it the activations at NauchandiMela in UP or ‘Meri Mom Sabki Mom’ campaign in the metros, the brand has regularly invented innovative concepts to engageits target segment.

Boke is vociferous about how important experiential marketing is for Dalda as a brand.He states, “We compete in the commodities category. While the awareness for any product is created by the mass media, the emotional connect for a brand will only happen through activations and creating experiences. Dalda has always been associated with Vanaspati oil and now since the brand has also extended in terms of edible oils it is important for people to be aware about it, which can only happen through these diverse experiential campaigns and activations.”

Openly and unabashedly excited about the future of marketing, Sagar feels it is integral for a brand today to look beyond the embedded features in its products and try to forge emotional relationships with its customers.  He says, “I strongly believe that in the current times one cannot sell a brand only on the functionality of its product or the product attributes, beyond a point all such practices are bound to fail and it is only the experiences that customers have with your brand will help you sustain.”

This year Dalda edible oils activation at JagannathRathYatra in Puri featured Dalda creating their own rath at Puri from where they distributed a mixture of uncooked rice and dal sourced from the temple raw materials.  The mixture was packaged in Dalda branded bottles and were distributed to over 1.5 million devotees. A highlighting feature of this activation was the fact that the plastic Dalda bottles with uncooked dal and rice in them, created a musical sound and hence were used by devotees as a percussion instrument that facilitated ‘Bhajans’.

Apart from this core activity the brand had also created various installations and collaborated with noted Indian sand artist, SudarsanPattnaik to create a life size sand art illustration of the deity Lord Jagannath at Puri Beach. Revealing the real statistics of the brand impact, SagarBoke explains, “Our activations at RathYatra in Puri is going to be our annual property which is going to have a new theme every year. Official number of people that have been touched through this activation this year stands at 1.5 million however the unofficial figures estimate that a further 1 million people were touched through it.” The Brand Brewery won the mandate to execute this campaign for Dalda.

While most brands are still hesitant to experiment with experiential campaigns Sagaropenly admits that 20% of the marketing budget for Dalda is allocated exclusively for BTL activations and activities. He also agrees that the brand aims to come up with more IPs in the future to further engage consumers through experiential.

More experiential by marketers directly rings money bells for event agencies as well. So what are the qualities that Dalda looks for in event agency before shouldering them the mandate for a campaign execution? Sagar responds to the question by stating, “The most important characteristic that we look for in an event agency is the ability to whip up a path breaking idea. Currently a lot of brands are experimenting with experiential and unless and until you have something clutter breaking you cannot expect to be noticed.”

As he predicts the future of marketing in India, Sagar says, “I think marketing has a lot to do with the kinds of media platforms a consumer is exposed to. Earlier most consumers had access to only TV and radios and hence the marketing strategies so far for most brands have been focused around the two. With that being said, today and even in the future the most used media device by consumers is going to be the smartphones so that is going to be center of marketing attention in the future I believe. Also we cannot overlook the fact that a lot of purchasing for consumer products is going to happen through e-commerce so that is bound to impact the overall marketing strategy for a brand.”

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