Aug 14, 2023

We at Britannia got to know about the use of generative AI only when we saw the film: Amit Doshi

In a conversation with Campaign India, the Britannia Industries CMO, along with Talented's founding partners Binaifer Dulani and Prashant Gopalakrishnan, shares insights on the ‘1947% more history’ campaign ahead of Independence Day, what inspired it, its execution and, more…

From left: Amit Doshi, Binaifer Dulani, Prashant Gopalakrishnan
From left: Amit Doshi, Binaifer Dulani, Prashant Gopalakrishnan
In today’s era of commercialisation when days like Independence Day have been reduced to a mega sales blitzkrieg, Britannia has chosen to break the mould with its '1947% more history' campaign conceptualised by Talented.  
It ditches the typical route in favour of transforming its packs into portals to the past with the creative use of augmented reality on some of its brands such as Britannia Bread, Good Day, Marie Gold, Milk Bikis, and Winkin’ Cow. 
One can witness history come alive through the unheard stories and anecdotes from the freedom struggle narrated in the voices of the people who lived through it and recreated using AR and AI.
We caught up with Amit Doshi, chief marketing officer, Britannia Industries and Talented's Binaifer Dulani and Prashant Gopalakrishnan, the creative team behind the campaign to gain insights into the campaign, what led to it, and how it was executed. 
Doshi also discusses how the 100-plus years legacy brand is working on its go-to strategy to increase its reach in the Indian heartland, and more…
Brief, ideation and objective
The idea for the campaign started with an observation that the original fervour associated with Independence Day had gotten lost somewhere along the way, with it being replaced by ‘just another holiday wherein you get bombarded with offers’, shared Amit Doshi.
"Britannia's legacy in India spans over 106 years, its roots and history firmly rooted in Indian soil. Is there a way in which the brand with its legacy can offer something truly meaningful and sentimental? And that's how ‘1947% More’ was born," revealed Binaifer Dulani.
“And in so many ways, this campaign would seem truly contrived with any brand that hadn't seen India's freedom struggle first-hand. So that was an opportunity and legitimate territory for us to be storytellers,” she added.
Doshi also affirms that the tenure the company has had in India gives it a certain legitimacy to connect with this cause. 
“So it was a sweet spot. But more importantly, I think it came from a place of absolute humility, and sincerity to bring these stories alive through our brands,” he continued.
Calling it a collaborative process consisting of a 'constant flurry of jamming sessions’ between the Talented team and the Britannia team, Doshi handed over complete credit to the former for its creative vision.
Learnings from AI, AR
The campaign film uses generative AI technology to portray rich visuals of the freedom movement and recreate the younger profiles of the five freedom fighters from across the country - Leelatai Chitale, Asha Sahay, R Madhavan, Lakshmi Krishnan and Gour Hari Das - whose stories have been narrated by the nonagenarians themselves. 
So, did the creative come first and then the medium, or did they plan to use AI and AR first and foremost, and then thought of a creative way to support the idea?
"It didn't start with, ‘we want to leverage AI or want to use AR’. That wasn't the intention. It's not AI for the sake of AI. Augmented reality felt meaningful given the fact that not every story of every freedom fighter finds its way into news channels or even libraries or history textbooks. These were some stories that had gotten lost. However, Britannia as a brand is found in a million households, so is there a way in which five of the most powerful brands within the Britannia stable could come together and unite for a larger purpose, was the thought. And, that every pack and every brand world can connect to a story of a freedom fighter and help us do a good job with their representation was the larger aim,” said Dulani.
She continued, “AI also has imperfections, it also has a certain unfinished quality which felt like fading memories. And the more we spoke to India's last freedom fighters and they shared their memories there were some parts that they remembered very specifically. And other details around it felt like fading memories. AI brought that visceral quality to our storytelling, and that's why it felt like a good tool to use.”
Doshi added, “In fact, we as the Britannia team got to know about the use of gen AI in this piece of content only when we saw the film. That's how unplanned it was. And full credit to the Talented team and Rooted Films for having created this magic on the screen.”
Most of the script came from the conversations that happened with these freedom fighters, shared Prashant Gopalakrishnan. “There were such beautiful stories that the script kept evolving every time we would meet a new freedom fighter. Because there would be so much more to say about them. And that's when we thought that we need to bring this to life in some way. And at that time probably we thought AI was the best way to do it," he said.
On looking beyond celebrities for this campaign
Traditionally, Britannia has had several brand partnerships with celebrities when it came to marketing campaigns. So, what made it look beyond celebrities for this campaign?
The thought of using celebrities didn't occur, said Doshi. 
"The idea here was to be quite pristine, to find a medium which was going to be authentic, which was connected with our brands, which brings something meaningful to our consumers, and also enhances the brand's reputation. So everything had to come together," he said.
"Though it's the most clichéd thing to say, every campaign has a certain objective for the business or the brand. And the idea comes first. And then if there is a celebrity face or an ambassador that can grace it, that's the absolute sweet spot. But as far as this campaign is concerned, I don't think we could have got any better than the people who are representing our narratives this time,” he added.
Thoughts on recent campaigns in collaboration with Talented
Britannia has been doing some interesting work with Talented lately. Earlier this year, there was the Britannia Marie ‘My Startup’ campaign followed by a region-specific campaign, ‘Anaivarukkum’ for Milk Bikis which was launched on Tamil Nadu Day on 18 July.
Explaining what worked for the campaign, Dulani said, “For the longest time, we've seen campaigns that focus on the North, and then the South gets adapted. The South Indian consumer is not seen on its own, those nuances aren't respected.”
“The fact that when we look at the South, we look at it as a force with its cultural nuances, with every different dialect being represented is what helps work be more memorable than what it is. We don't look at the South as one monolith,” she pointed out.
Echoing this, Doshi added, “And when there is a meeting of culture and capability, that's when the magic happens. If either of them is not present in the relationship, it only leads to mediocre work.” 
Cricket world cup season
With the ICC Men's ODI Cricket World Cup coming up in less than two months now, Doshi added that Britannia is going to be cashing in on the tournament.
“In the next couple of months, you will see another two very important names show up with our brands. If you look at a brand like 50/50, we have Ravi Shastri who's the face of the brand today. You will also see new faces emerge for brands like Nutri Choice and Milk Bikis. And in the past too, we've had many faces from the cricketing and movie worlds represent the brand. So that'll continue to happen,” he said.
'Britannia khao, World Cup jao'  
On a lighter note, we've seen several brands follow up with their own versions of the 'Britannia khao, World Cup jao' campaign, the latest being Thums Up with its ‘Toofan Uthao, World Cup jao’. 
Does Britannia see this as an infringement?
“The only thing I can say is Britannia was, or rather, is the OG!” quipped Doshi.
Rural vs urban
There's a perception that Britannia scores in urban India but is chasing Parle, and specifically Parle-G's 'budget biscuit packs' in rural. 
Acknowledging that there is lots of scope for improvement on the rural front, Doshi said, “When it comes to penetration in India, yes, there's a lot of opportunity upside for us to grow in the Hindi heartland, and that's where we've paid a lot of attention to grow our distribution infrastructure to build the presence of our brands. And I would say that over the last few years, we've done very well to strengthen our position in these markets. But there continues to be huge room for us to grow and that's quite exciting when one looks at the growth prospects.”

Campaign India

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