Share This Post

Alok's Posts / Startup

Flipkart ads on TV – are they building the online category at their own cost?


Ok, so this stuff has gone on air… (I presume)

“I don’t shop anymore – I just Flipkart it.” 

Hmmmm. It’s Ok, does nothing to me. I don’t use coined verbs so easily.

But that’s not the discussion.

This is:

Question – Is this ad for me?

If yes, then it’s a colossal waste – Flipkart, its awesome consumer experience and word-of-mouth has won me over. I don’t need to see an ad of to make me use it.

Side note – In the case of – I had forgotten about the site and didn’t remember what it did.  So some TV ads here and there made me remember it.

Also, in the ad the “i just sold it” concept made me aware of the key USP of – That I can sell anything in a jiffy.

See the ad:

Now, if the ads are supposed to create awareness about the FK brand, then this is my contention:

I believe that this ad and the others in the series will go on and create the ‘Online shopping category’ more than there own business.

People who see the ad and don’t know much about Flipkart will go to the site and be surprised.


Will they buy on the spot? 

Won’t they look around – on google (where they will type also) and check prices of goods online?

Like all sensible consumers, they will sniff and hunt and get ‘introduced’ to the concept of online shopping.

Therein lies the challenge.

Does this mean that Flipkart’s precious VC dollars will be spent in creating the online shopping category, for the benefit of others?

A good metric will be able to check if competitor sites’ traffic goes up during this time.

Assume I see the TV ad and look up This is what I see:

Now, I relate to the book, ‘Immortals of Meluha’. I haven’t read it and I always wanted to pick up a copy.

Just before I BUY on Flipkart, I check the same on google.

This is what I see

The hypothesis of this post is illustrated above.

Will the TV ads of actually help Snapdeal and

Next Question:

What is wrong in growing the category and being the Industry leader in it? (I’m talking only about Internet brands)


But that’s a call that Companies take when:

– They are highly profitable:

Yahoo! is spraying ads to make people remember it. They still make money and can afford to remind you that they exist via these expensive lovey-dovey ads.

– Companies are profitable and are default industry leaders. Example –

Naukri kills it. They get it. They hammer it. They nail it.

To grow their business (to get more resumes in a country like India where only 60 million users are online in a population of 1+ billion)  they need to advertise online jobs.

But when people go online, they go to

– Companies and their businesses are seasonal and they need to make people remember them at the right time.

Makemytrip TV ads before a holiday, Shaadi and TV ads before the marriage season belong to this category.

Flipkart is really being bold and agressive with this ad campaign! (assuming that these ads will be on TV).

I wish them good luck.




Share This Post


  1. nothing like being a messiah of your category. Competitors look up to you. Besides, as they say its essentially to build trust with the brand with lot of potential users, if its on tv, it cant be fake. this reminds me of all hyperbole telebrands ads.

  2. PR is for Brand Building, Ads are for Audience Building and in this case – category building but what’s important is if my Mom or My Aunt (relatively less Tech Savvy) decide to shop online (category created), they will log on to Flipkart FIRST before comparing with other sites which means that Flipkart has achieved what they wanted to (because you will later be updated with their newsletter)!

    But my real worry with this advertisement is different – when an Ad is this ‘generic’ to bring you online and I enter the site to buy say ‘a Kenneth Cole watch’ and I dont find it, I WILL SEARCH on Google/Bing and land up on a site called WATCHKART.

    So, the Ad is a great idea if your product can wholly support the need of the consumer else you are helping Google Adwords and other e-commerce sites.

  3. Overall I feel that Flipkart and other online sites just have too much money to waste! they have all been giving out discounts like nobodies business… For example PS3 consoles have a margin of about 10% in India, then there is VAT of 12.5% which is on the difference amount between their sale price and cost price… So the effective margin was about 9%. Flipkart started the discounting trend by offering it an 8% discount this was followed by a similar discount by Letsbuy, and on Letsbuy they even allowed for a discount coupon of Rs.1000 – 1200 which together gave you a discount of more than 15-17%…

    Now we all know what such discounting has lead letsbuy to… One can argue that flipkart tried capture market share by such crazy discounting, But I being from the industry know that the crowd that reaped the most out of such discounts is the least loyal one and they are your typical deal seekers.
    Further Flipkarts online ads at least in the Gaming category are broken from like the day they revamped their site last year or so… read

    Further their current ads as well on a google search for Buy Video Games leads to this page

    Didn’t figure why it is not opening… there’s a typo https://ww.flipkart

  4. Hi Alok

    I totally get this ad.

    I wrote this in a previous comment, that having seen the processes and services of a number of online retailers, Flipkart is a dream. Yes, I now do not shop around, I just Flipkart it. This has been my state of mind for some time now, after facing a lot of pain with other ecommerce sites. I had an ordeal ordering a Samsung Galaxy S3 from the Samsung eStore. It was the most pathetic shopping experience of my life. I had to spend countless hours to get a simple issue resolved. Too bureaucratic. They do not know what they are doing.

    So if anyone else shows me their best offer, or a lower price I do not bother. I just Flipkart it. These guys know what they are doing. And if they come up with an ad which resonates with my current state of mind, then they are really good.

    I am betting on Flipkart.

    Another thought regarding Naukri. I just ran my first recruitment campaign on LinkedIn. I was blown away by the awesomeness. Naukri, Monster are in big trouble. LinkedIn is the job portal killer. The stock markets have also sensed it.

    I am willing to bet on these two trends of Flipkart being successful and LinkedIn becoming the defacto platform for recruitment.

    Will revisit this comment in 3 years 🙂

  5. I will like to give my comments as an online consumer. I do buy lotsa stuff on Internet. Most common sites are flipkart, ebay and indiaplaza. Have bought stuff off osme 25 sits over all.

    Good part of my purchases are books. And there I do what the article says: I hunt for best bargain. And 80% of the time, I dont get best deals on flipkart. So often my book purchases end up on

    But in my view, on non-books I carry a trust on flipkart. I bought my smart phone (costing about 30K) off flipkart. And some other goodies too.

    For a long time flipkart was books. Once they got letsbuy *which was mostly non-books) in their pocket, it was natural for them to reposition themselves. And I see that happening on TV. And as a consumer, I am okay seeing their ads on TV. But I HATE seeing same ad 30 times over! They better fix it. BTW, my wife (who doesnt buy stuff off Internet) loves their ad. (If i am not mistaken, these guys are ex amazon and are trying to create an Indian Amazon).

    I want to mention eBay for a special reason. They have an escrow facility. So I am NOT afraid of losing my money. Seller doesn’t get money till I have received goodies and confirmed that receipt. Wish other online retailers do that. That will establish credentials of online shpping in India.


  6. As far as books is concerned, out of 10 times, 8-9 times I dont buy from flipkart as I get better deals elsewhere(homeshop18, indiaplaza)!

    For everything else I more or less go to flipkart as their category and inventory is quite expansive. 

    I think these ads will work(and for flipkart) because – 

    1. Online shopping still not very popular and these ads do convey the message effectively.

    2. Not every buyer will search for the best deal online. People don’t even buy online, so the search for better deals doesn’t apply to majority. 

    Alok I remember you mentioning that you buy “Autobiography of a Yogi” from Flipkart month after month. Why? Homeshop18 is cheaper by 18 rs as compared to Flipkart…

    I don’t have any loyalty towards flipkart, i will always hunt for the best deal…but how many will do that? Besides I am just happy to see online shopping thrive and hopefully survive as it has made my life much easier! 

  7. This Flipkart ad is definitely not for someone who is already an online shopper – it is aimed at overcoming objections of those who don’t think online can compete with brick-and-mortar. It’s also significant that the narrator is a man – men generally hate shopping and are looking for a quick and hassle-free way of getting it done. Overall, Flipkart is doing what it needs to do at this stage: grow its overall market by bringing in offline-only shoppers, rather than extract more value out of its existing customers. Along with the spot where the uncle says ‘sirf photo dekhke khareeda’, it seems like their campaign has a well-articulated goal of overcoming objections to online shopping. Alok, you’re already one of the converted – naturally the ad did not speak to you.

    You’re right that Flipkart’s money is building the online shopping category rather than their specific brand (except for the final tagline), but frankly Flipkart is starting to acquire the aura of category leader, and given where the company is in its own lifecycle, it can’t wait around for the category to grow organically or for someone else to grow it for them. As they say, the early bird gets the worm (but the second mouse gets the cheese).

  8. I completely disagree to what Mr.Kejriwal has to say. First of all, online shopping category is a very low involvement decision (Particularly common among only Corporate people). People who know flipkart, would buy it from flipkart, they wont go on sudden searching spree on Google.

    Secondly, the TV ads are meant to increase the base of people who need to know about ‘Flipkart’.. (Spreading the concept of economy with shopping). The humour route used through their ads is a reminiscent of the very logic. The ads are not meant for people who are that internet savy that they would watch an ad and suddenly go to the internet to shop. Awareness among the category who are still out of flipkart is what they are attempting to do.

    Also flipkart were the first to position themselves as an economic online shopping portal, thus they have to build the trust of anything, anywhere for an economic price, thus the frequent tv ads. Also if their intention was to convert the TV commerical audiences into their immediate customers, they wouldnt have dubbed the ads on regional channels like Marathi and Telugu. Thats the point..They would have run the ads only on Business channels.

    The mention of quickr commericals need not even find a mention over here. Forget comparing both..


  9. Will Second what Varun has said above… These Ads are more to spread the base.. and not for those who are already buying online.. 

Leave a Reply

Lost Password