How a humble lentil dumpling changed the fortunes PhonePe

The Challenge

We had to make the audience look at us and stop looking at the competing apps. For a brand that isn’t the leader, we ran the risk of growing the category and helping the leader. We had to marry effectiveness with efficiency. In our conversations with client, we were clear that we cannot take the national campaign and slice it for Kerala, we have to find a connection that vibes with the local population and makes them reach out to us
The average Malayali is gregarious, outgoing, lives life to fullest and is very proud of its roots, food, culture and way of life. For PhonePe to craft an emotional bond, they have to fire the Malayali pride. To that extent the brand has to take a back seat and allow the local idioms to take over.
We needed to get under the skin, character and flavor of Kerala. We had to find something that should be considered true emotion of the state. This is the only way PhonePe will be seen as a brand that is of Kerala, for Kerala, by Kerala. This could not be done by a team that didn’t know Kerala, this had to be an insider view. We searched far and wide, and the usual Kerala images kept popping up: coconut, elephants, boat race, banana, jackfruit, karimeen, but none of these were inspiring us. It is here where our resident Malayali expert roped in a unique deep fried lentil ball called Parippu Wada.
Why Parippu Wada, the work will clearly showcase how and why this was the really inspiring choice
We created 8 digital films, shot across the length and breath of Kerala. The campaign was as Malayali as Kerala can be. The casting, the locations, the music and the final voiceover and the campaign line were all inspired by Kerala.
The campaign has been directed by multiple National award winner V.K. Prakash. VKP added his own flair to the cinematic feel of the state. The final VO is of Malayali Superstar Jayasurya.
Even more amazing is what Hindu Businessline wrote about the campaign: Kerala saw the rise of sale of Parippu Wada!
In four months time, PhonePe became the number one payment app and has since maintained its pole position

This was the most challenging brief that we were addressing. While PhonePe is leading payment app across India, it was lagging behind in Kerala, and this needed to be fixed and fixed in a hurry. Strangely, PhonePe was not seen emotionally close to Kerala and we needed to build the emotional equity.