"Customers today prefer brands that are environment friendly. The paper cups eliminated plastic cups and provided a recyclable alternative. Also, we have partnered with two of the largest paper manufacturers in India to endure that we get only high-quality food-grade cups which our customers prefer, and this has helped us access many new offices. No brand would like to see the cups with its branding being littered on the sides of the road. For this, we decided to supply garbage bins to all of the tea vendors wherever we run campaigns. This not only helped us in addressing the concern of littering but also helped tea vendors in keeping their stalls clean as people used our dustbins to dispose the used cups." Said Sanil Jain, Co-Founder, CupShup
In an interaction with MediAvataar India, Sanil shares insights into making of this, one of a kind marketing innovation which is slowly turning into a fun and effective way to stretch out to the end user.
Here is the complete Q&A....
Tell us more about your unique form of advertising?
CupShup aims to convert the teatime in this country into a conversation corner for brands by leveraging the paper cups as an advertising media and medium. This medium is clutter-free, provides 5-7 minutes of exposure time and triggers a conversation over chai time which makes a deeper impression in the customer’s mind.
We have built a network of 10,000+ touchpoints, which includes 2000+ corporates, 1000+ Colleges, 8000+ tea Stalls and partnership with all the Leading Airlines of the country. Our unique model is helping brands gain access to cubicles and classroom of this country.
How are marketers looking at it?
We have worked with brands across various industries. Be it FMCG, BFSI, Entertainment, we have worked with them all. Most of the established brands use our medium as part of their 360-degree campaigns focused on grabbing eyeballs and building brand/product awareness.
Many new-age brands and start-ups use our services to acquire new users and drive app downloads, and Transactions as well.
Since a tea break allows a brand exposure time of 5-7 minutes, we also use call-to-action methods like QR codes, Missed Call to SMS and so on for lead generation. Other than Cup Branding, they are also eager to explore our other offerings like Digital Screens and corporate activations.
Share some of your key campaigns with us.
Few months back we concluded an interesting campaign in collaboration with Hotstar for their web-series “The Office” for which we distributed 25 lakhs paper cups with 9 humorously designed creatives, each with a witty designation aimed to drive humour and conversations inside offices.
Campaign resulted in floodgates of memes which people made and shared. With this campaign, we not only reached and made impressions offline but also gained mindshare of office goers online and made them aware of the new show.
Do you consider the whole talk about environment-friendly approach to disposable stuff?
Customers today prefer brands that are environment friendly. The paper cups eliminated plastic cups and provided a recyclable alternative. Also, we have partnered with two of the largest paper manufacturers in India to endure that we get only high-quality food-grade cups which our customers prefer, and this has helped us access many new offices.
No brand would like to see the cups with its branding being littered on the sides of the road. For this, we decided to supply garbage bins to all of the tea vendors wherever we run campaigns. This not only helped us in addressing the concern of littering but also helped tea vendors in keeping their stalls clean as people used our dustbins to dispose the used cups.
What were some of the bigger challenges you faced while starting off?
A) Hiring: Since we were a bootstrapped start-up with limited funds and basic infrastructure, we had a hard time hiring good talent.
Over the years, through our creative work and recognition especially within the start-up community, we have been able to find and retain great talent, and build a rock star team today -- we are proud of it.
B) Partnering with corporates: Initially, offices in corporate parks were reluctant to give us entry into their buildings as they were sceptical about the quality of paper being used by us. However, with time they are aware of the fact that we only use water-based ink on our biodegradable and recyclable paper cups. This helped us understand their concerns and in accessing the office cubicles with ease.
What would be your advice to someone who has a path-breaking idea and wants to start a business?
There is never a right time to start a business, especially if you are a first-time entrepreneur.
If you have a path-breaking idea and you completely believe in it, you should most definitely put all the resources you have and jump into it. It’s always on the way that you will figure out how to manage and scale the things.
Sidharth and I started by putting in Rs. 50,000 each (because that’s all we had that time). It was only once we started-up we figured out ways to manage the limitations, struggles and challenges of running a bootstrapped business.
How do you think advertising has evolved in our country and globally?
The world of traditional communication has rejuvenated itself in numerous ways in order to engage the modern consumer. The digital age did pose some major challenges for the traditional media including print, radio, and television. The paradigms shifted from engaging mass audiences to developing personalized content for like-minded consumers and creating a wide variety of content suited to individuals rather than the masses. The challenge faced by traditional marketing sources was to alter the way they approached the common man and businesses alike.
The recent technological developments have changed the definition of communication. To elaborate, the psychedelic digitalized mediums function at a pace preferred by the new-age audiences – their flickering attention span leaves little to no quantum for creating the requisite brand impression; whereas traditional mediums of communication manage to create receptive leads of their own. This method of brand communication and promotion was used back in the 1990s for basic branding and advertising. However, the digital age has helped add more flair to this method of communication wherein the brand creates the requisite engagement rather than merely attempting to communicate with audiences.
Which global advertising trend you think need to make way into our markets?
Digital— the one word has the power to change the universe of advertising and marketing. Today, you and I are having this conversation over a phone, an email and even virtually face-to-face; the digital revolution is here already. What we must understand and comprehend is that it’s no longer a medium but a way of life. Our whole lives are on our social network, irrespective of who we are, where we come from and what we do; social network is the new society.
That being said, our country is yet to wrap its head around and adapt to the digital revolution at the pace which other countries across the world have.
We are still stuck to our traditional and conventional methods, even in advertising and marketing. If we build a bridge between these two and integrate new-age technology with traditional media, it would bring transparency, efficiency and effectiveness to every campaign we set out to achieve.
We, at CupShup, are also in the process of achieving the same by digitising our network which allows us to reach 2Mn working professionals and that number is growing fast and steady. You will see us rolling out the carpet for it very soon.
Creativity sometimes does not help balance the books, what’s your mantra and how has the agency doing in terms of revenue?
They say necessity is the mother of all inventions and in today’s ad world —creativity is the need of the hour. We want to disrupt, impact and imprint the brand in the minds of the people for which you need to get creative.
Sometimes creativity comes at a cost which doesn’t help balance the books but then most of the time, it helps us in making the book fatter. That being said, we ensure that we have a growing revenue with campaigns we do, and deliver do creative work too.
We ended the last financial year (FY 2018-19) with Rs.4.5 Cr in revenues and are projected to clock 12 Cr this financial year (FY’2019-20).
For the current financial year, 50% of revenues will come from activation services, 35% from Cup branding and rest 15% from Creative and digital services.
Do you wish to multiply into more verticals, what the future looks like?
We are scaling our network for CupShup and activation services while building new and interesting partnerships. Apart from that, we are ramping our creative services portfolio aggressively. Like I mentioned earlier, we are working on a new digital product with which we aim to revolutionise the way digital marketing is done in India. The product is slated to go live in early next year.
Our mission is to redefine the way brands communicate with their target audience by building unique sets of offline and digital mediums.
Our aim is to build a network reach of 50 Million working professionals wherein we will enable brands to access through our media vehicles of Cup Branding, Activation and Digital Marketing.