The Whole Truth’s latest campaign aims to reveal the truth behind misleading influencer marketing
Food brand The Whole Truth believes that the influencer marketing industry is broken and it has a solution to help revert it to its original formTWT
After revealing the truth about FMCG companies, The Whole Truth’s latest campaign highlights how influencer marketing i...

The Whole Truth’s latest campaign aims to reveal the truth behind misleading influencer marketing

After revealing the truth about FMCG companies, The Whole Truth’s latest campaign highlights how influencer marketing i...
  • The Whole Truth, a health food brand, has dedicated its marketing efforts to telling the world the truth about its food and busting common food marketing myths to help consumers lead healthier lifestyles.
  • The Whole Truth’s latest campaign addresses the issue of misleading influencer marketing.
  • Its campaign ‘The Whole Truth Sayers’ is a clarion call to all Honest Influencers who only endorse what they actually use and love. And whose opinions can’t be bought with money.
  • As consumers moved to influencers, so did marketing dollars. And for the right price, experts started selling their influence, rather than telling the truth.
  • To fix this broken system, TWT has launched The Whole Truth Academy Project where they want ‘real’ influencers to tell the truth about their products. 25 honest influencers will be shortlisted by a jury who will narrate The Whole Truth later in their own ways.
Over the last two decades, social media has become a huge part of our lives. After the recent Facebook outage, the world realised how dependent we are on social media platforms. While the six-hour outage only highlighted the tip of the iceberg, it is becoming more and more clear now that social media platforms have become an extended part of our body and existence. Due to this heavy reliance of consumers on digital media, influencer marketing has seen a huge boost and has become an integral marketing tool for advertisers to connect with their audiences on a daily basis. According to GroupM INCA, the influencer marketing industry will be a Rs 900 crore market in India by the end of 2021. So, there’s no doubt that influencers are heavily embedded in consumers’ day-to-day lives and gaining more attention from advertisers by the hour.

However, influencer marketing started out with a revolutionary idea. It aimed to alter the celebrity-dominated advertising and marketing industry, create more space for honesty and do away with false, exaggerated claims made in traditional ads. The digital stars wanted to fade out fake reviews, connect with consumers on a personal level and eradicate the ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude in the industry. It was more about a few creative consumers talking to other consumers about brands they love and make marketing a tad accessible. In a short span of time, influencers forgot their mission statement and capitalism took over. The most earnest, honest reviews on the internet can be bought today and only brands with bigger money bags can afford to be portrayed as the most honest brand in the ad world.

To debunk this system that has gotten a ‘bit corrupt,’ The Whole Truth’s Co-founder and CEO Shashank Mehta has launched a new campaign titled ‘The Whole Truth Sayers.’ He is on the lookout for an honest batch of influencers who could represent his brand, help change the influencer marketing and revert it to its original form.

In a 5-minute long film, Mehta and The Whole Truth team audition a bunch of influencers. Mehta asks, “Will these people promote our brand? Who are these people and why are they famous” And then, sitting across the table, Mehta watches influencers showcase their talent and pitch their ideas. They put more effort into their content for more marketing dollars. In a monologue, he later goes on to talk about how influencer marketing came into play as the answer to inauthentic celebrity marketing but has turned into a marketing gimmick in recent times. For the right price, experts started selling their influence, rather than telling the truth and influencer marketing thus became the problem it was meant to solve.

The video is conceptualised by The Whole Truth and Gursimran Khamba’s Lights@27. It is being launched in collaboration with Big Bang Social, an influencer marketing agency, who also resonated with campaign’s problem statement.

Behind The Whole Truth and its latest campaign

It all started when The Whole Truth raised $6 million in a series A round led by Sequoio Capital. After acquiring enough capital to take their marketing to the next level, Mehta realised that there’s a problem with how influencer marketing functions today.

“The honest truth behind this campaign is that we wanted to do influencer marketing. We recently raised a round of funding, we had some money in the bank now and we thought we'll do influencer marketing but the more we dived into it, we realised there doesn't seem to be an honest way of doing it. And the current way it was being done, in most places not all, didn't sit well with the brand. So we were caught in a dilemma of either we just walk away from it saying that hey, this is not for us, or we do something about it. And we realised that usually whenever we've taken people behind the scene and shown them the whole truth of anything, they resonate with what we are saying. So, we thought that hey, maybe the way to do influencer marketing for us is first bring out what's going on which it seems like a lot of people resonate with and then mount our own attempt at doing this in an honest, truthful manner on top of this video,” shared Mehta.

So, the video is a clarion call to all Honest Influencers who only endorse what they actually use and love. And whose opinions can’t be bought with money or as Mehta calls them, ‘TWT’s Truthsayers.’

With this, The Whole Truth aims to not only highlight the problem, but it is giving out a solution. It has launched a contest, wherein it is inviting influencers to make a fun reel, giving the jury an insider view of the problem. 25 influencers will be shortlisted later by a marketing expert jury consisting of Gursimran Khamba, Varun Duggirala of The Glitch, Vani Gupta Dandia of CherryPeachPlum, to name a few.

Later, The Whole Truth will pay for the influencer’s art, hard work and talent - not their opinion. Any equipment fees, production fees, location costs etc, (within a pre-agreed budget) will be taken care of. TWT will not influence the influencer’s opinion or interfere with their art. Neither will they give a brief or push pre-set scripts. Whether the Truth-Sayers choose to make a video or write a blog or make a podcast to introduce The Whole Truth to their followers - the brand will offer complete support. And zero intervention.

The process of finding TWT Truthsayers is quite simple. “So we have a two step process, one is we're asking them to apply. The application is a fun thing where we're asking them to make a story or a reel and show us the whole truth of influencer marketing as they see it. And that becomes their participation. Which gets shortlisted to the top 50 people by our panel of judges and we have a very, very respected panel of judges. They will shortlist it down from 50 people to 20-25 eventually we're just going to send them our products and ask them to write us a note about what they liked, what they didn't like right and and whoever falls in love and says that you know I love this brand and these are the 10 reasons why I loved what you did or the only people you work with,” explained Mehta.

However, the film is 5-minute long and we all know how infamous millennials and GenZ are for their short attention span, who are all the target group for this campaign. Marketing gurus advise brands to place their product in the first 30 seconds of the advertisement and The Whole Truth’s latest campaign doesn’t follow that thumbrule either. Mehta said that it was a conscious decision to make a long ad.

Sharing the reason why, Mehta said, “When we wrote the script, we didn't write it as an ad. That's why you will see that there is very little of the brand. But yeah, it's a it's a long video, given attention spans nowadays. We took that conscious call because we didn't want to make a superficial half-hearted point. We wanted to be do justice to both the problem and at the end, our take on the solution and why we believe things are not the way they should be, etc. And again, the hope is that, when a AIB or TVF come out with a 10-20 minute videos, because the content is so good people do watch through it. So let's see, whether we are thinking too much of our content and people will drop off or will it be engaging and relevant enough for them to watch through -- that's the punt we've taken, but we were very clear that we don't want to do a half-hearted superficial ad-ey job of it was for us, it's not an ad, we're not like promoting a product in this.”

Considering that The Whole Truth is calling out an industry for its divergence from an ethical path, there’s a good chance that this campaign will cause a controversy. In today’s time, it doesn’t take much to boycott a brand. Influencers also have a cult following now and there are always some fans who wouldn't watch 'The Whole Truth' and just jump to conclusions by reading a video’s caption or watching an ad for a few seconds with context. Mehta candidly told us that he is worried about this. He said, “It's something that worries us, but we don't know what to do about it. If someone doesn't listen to our whole point of view, and reacts to half baked information, then it does become difficult.”

The Whole Truth in the making

Before launching The Whole Truth, Mehta was working with FMCG giant HUL. He told us that he wanted to launch his own food brand because he has fallen for the lies told by foodbev brands and his body has suffered through enough ups and downs due to the false claims made on food packaging and dishonest FMCG advertisements.

So, in The Whole Truth’s maiden campaign, it started by dropping a giant truth bomb about the FMCG industry and its marketing techniques. Titled ‘Our Food is Screwed’ was inspired from The Dollar Shave Club ad and aimed to bust food myths and inconvenient food labelings.

The Whole Truth was only 9-months-old and everyone was talking about its campaign. It takes a start-up at least a few years of investment rounds to use the right marketing tools to gain popularity and some media coverage. The Whole Truth was quick to rise to fame, thanks to Mehta’s marketing background.

So, we asked Mehta, if he were to give a TedTalk on what helped the start-up gain media attention and become a popular consumer brand in a short time, he said, “TedTalk, I’m not sure of, but the one big learning is do something which is purpose driven. I think it speaks to people, when you're doing something for a fundamental reason, which is beyond just money, profit and fame. Like for us, the mission is to bring honesty back to foods. And that mission comes from a very personal plce because I've suffered at the hands of incorrect and dishonest food marketing, I had to go through multiple weight gain and loss cycles when I used to think that switch from that unhealthy cola to this healthy juice or switch from that unhealthy paratha or that my mom makes in the morning to breakfast cereals. And then I realized that actually, the breakfast cereal is much worse than my mom's parathas and, and the juice has the same amount of sugar as that coke does. So, that's betrayal, that feeling of being lied to, no one likes. Hence, the mission comes from deeply personal space. And I think consumers resonate with that -- they can see that these guys are out not to make a quick buck that they're out to change the world in small but meaningful ways. So that would be my big learning. When you do that, consumer love, fame and revenues -- all of that starts falling in place.”

Going forward, The Whole Truth will be on the lookout for expansion opportunities. It started as a protein bar and aims to expand into different food and health sub-categories. Mehta has an interesting approach to decide company’s next foray. “Our focus areas are very clear. We intend to go on getting into different food categories where we see that consumers today are being lied to and create a product that lives up to the whole truth philosophy, so for example, till eight, nine months ago, we were only making protein bars, then we launched a range of muesli, peanut butters in another two, three months. We're gonna launch another food category in five months from then we launch another food category. So our mission is simple. We just take different food categories, we check whether currently, most of the brands there are offering 100% clean label food, or are they lying to consumers? And unfortunately, the answer in most turns out to be the latter. And then we start trying to formulate a product that lives up to The Whole Truth philosophy because we don't have any option, we have to declare each and every ingredient on the front of it, so that takes a little while. So that remains the focus not just the next half, but the foreseeable future, too,” told he.

Mehta told us that the brand will keep on unearthing the 100% honest truth of anything that touches food or food marketing in the future as well.