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How Truecaller used 2 quirky Bollywood-style short digital films to familiarize people with its latest offering, 'Call Reason'
Both the films launched by Truecaller are around 5 minutes long and tell the use of the feature in a quirky way
Manan Shah, Director Marketing – India, Truecaller speaks to us about the thought behind the campaign
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How Truecaller used 2 quirky Bollywood-style short digital films to familiarize people with its latest offering, 'Call Reason'

Manan Shah, Director Marketing – India, Truecaller speaks to us about the thought behind the campaign
  • Truecaller launched ‘Call Reason’, a feature that enables callers to set a reason for their call, helping the receiver to check what the call is about, in October.
  • To inform people about the feature, Truecaller has come up with 2 Bollywood-style short films.
  • Manan Shah, Director Marketing – India, Truecaller tells us the thought behind the campaign and what they expect out of it.
Till recently, Truecaller did not spend much on marketing. Over the years, it has been able to build a loyal user base for itself through word-of-mouth. In fact, out of its 185 million monthly active users, over 150 million daily active users are in India.

However, Truecaller launched ‘Call Reason’, a feature that enables callers to set a reason for their call, helping the receiver to check what the call is about, in October and to familiarize people with this novel idea, it has come up with 2 very interesting, Bollywood-style short films, ‘Waaris’ and ‘Kidnap’. To build a buzz around its campaign, Truecaller also launched the trailers of the short films.


We spoke to Manan Shah, Director Marketing – India, Truecaller to understand the thought behind the campaign, how it was conceptualized and why they thought of going the short-film way. He also tells us about Truecaller’s marketing plans for the upcoming year.



Q) Audience (esp GenZ) attention spans are decreasing every day. However, your new campaign comprises 2 short films, both around 5-minutes long. What was your thought behind the campaign?

From our previous experience, we’ve come to realise that it's not entirely true that people have lower attention spans but just many more options, today. Our films have huge entertainment value while subtly integrating the product and the brand. We decided to weave the entire story around the product and its benefits rather than have a great story and then think of how to fit the brand in. This, I believe, is the right way to do content and not forced logo brandings or product integrations.

Q) You had introduced Call Reason in October. Since then, how have you been able to build a buzz around the feature as well as the campaign?
Like with any new feature, we do a gradual roll out, increasing the number of users who get the update gradually, while monitoring for any issues. In parallel, we were able to work with a lot of influencers and users who had requested this feature to us, and create a video with them to promote it. Now this phase of the campaign builds on the promise of offering our users ‘true choice’ to focus on what matters.

Q) What were the insights that led to Truecaller coming up with Call Reason?
Call Reason was the most requested feature from our users over the past year. Even for us, the logical evolution after telling people ‘who is calling’ is to tell them ‘why they’re calling’. We believe that every call has the potential to alter what happens next. This we showed beautifully with the true story behind Nawazuddin’s struggle as an actor and how one call shot him to stardom in our 2015 campaign. Now, with a reason displayed before you pick up the call, you
will be able to make a more informed decision, enabling you to make the most of every opportunity.

Q) What kind of reception has it seen from users so far?
At a product level, you only need to do a quick search on our social channels to see the kind of overwhelmingly positive reception this feature has gotten. Its finally people who asked for it and now that we’ve built it, they are loving it. As for the campaign, it is picking up pace pretty rapidly, as we speak and once we release the second film over this weekend, we should see a lot more traction and reach coming in.

Q) Take us behind the scenes of the campaigns. How did you conceptualize and bring the idea to fruition?

The original idea came across while talking to our creative partners at Wirality, who worked on this campaign. We looked at popular movies, where that one phone call changes the course and direction of the film. This is a reflection of real life too and that’s when it hit us that Call Reason as a feature empowers people to ‘Take The Right Call’ both literally and figuratively. That's where the whole idea grew from and we married Bollywood style storytelling and characters with the seamless integration of the feature and the brand into it. Our creative partners at Wirality, the director Pranav and the production team at MOM (Mortal on Mission) have done a fabulous job with amazing casting and simple yet powerful storytelling. For the most part there are no dialogues but just characterisation and
amazing acting skills that uplifts the video and keeps the audience glued in.

Q) Apart from the films, how else are you informing consumers about Call Reason? What media are you using?

When Call Reason was first being rolled out, we did a virtual briefing with journalists. Thanks to that, there was a significant amount of press coverage. We’re now doing this campaign to create awareness and excitement about the
feature and what it can really do. This is a full fledged digital campaign. But at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. The moment you use Call Reason, you realise how useful it actually is. We’ve also provided complete control to users. You can customise your reasons, set reasons individually for certain callers or switch off the feature entirely.

Q) Do you anticipate a spike in users due to this feature, considering the novelty of the idea?
Most definitely. At Truecaller, we focus our efforts around our vibrant community that is now 190 million and growing in India. They are really the ones at the forefront when it comes to letting us know what’s working, what’s not, actively identifying numbers and marking calls as spam/scam. Post the lockdowns, we did cross a significant milestone too: onboarding roughly 4 lakh new registered users per day on Truecaller. All this happens organically and is a testament to just how vital our service is.

Q) What are your marketing plans for the upcoming year? Truecaller till last year hardly spent much on marketing. Are you looking at increasing your spends in the next few quarters?
We have always enjoyed great publicity via word of mouth from our users and that has helped us with exponential organic growth, in India and beyond. For this very reason, unlike other apps, we’ve never really needed to focus on user acquisition but rather concentrate on making user engagement, loyalty and building relationships. For this we plan to have a lot more focus on creating a lot more exciting and meaningful branded entertainment based campaigns next year.