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Truecaller: Making the right connection

Truecaller's first campaign in India is aimed at taking the app to the masses

Ankita Rai 


Truecaller, a popular caller ID app for smartphones that flashes caller's name on the user's screen, has launched its first campaign, 'Take the right call', to spread its message to a wider audience set. "Truecaller is a five-year-old Swedish company. However, our growth really started in emerging markets in 2011 led by the rise in smartphones. India has been a success story for us and it is our largest market, followed by the West Asia and North Africa and the US," says Kari Krishnamurthy, vice-president, growth and partnerships, Asia, & country manager, Truecaller India.

Truecaller has more than 80 million users currently in India. While the brand is not new to India, it faces a unique problem here: A majority (80 per cent) of its users is from top metros. Even though the app runs on all the operating systems such as Android, BlackBerry, iOS, including feature phones and thus, can be easily accessed from a budget smartphone, its downloads are far less in Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

The reason being lack of awareness. During a recent research the company found that it was among the top apps the people in Tier-I and Tier-II towns want to download. And they mostly got to know about it through local retailers while buying their smartphones. It was this insight - that of retailers creating awareness about Truecaller and downloading it for consumers - that led to the conceptualisation of the campaign, says Krishnamurthy. "We wanted to directly reach the consumers," adds Krishnamurthy.

Conceptualised by advertising agency Contract India, the campaign is in line with the company's efforts to provide users the facility of knowing who the caller is. The television commercial has Hindi film actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui remembering the days when he worked as a security guard and how one phone call changed his life completely. It was his luck that the caller, who wanted to offer him a film role, called him persistently.

"More than 80 million of us in India already use Truecaller. So our task isn't to address people who already have it on their phones. It is to inform the rest of India which is unaware of the opportunity Truecaller offers. That's where Nawazuddin came in," says Ashish Chakravarty, national creative director, Contract India. "We wanted to promote Truecaller as a consumer company and not as a technology company. We could have used a celebrity or testimonial-based ad where five people would speak about their experiences. But ours is a people product. And this is the story of Nawazuddin Siddiqui himself. People identify with him," says Krishnamurthy.

"Siddiqui is the voice of the emerging India, his screen presence is magnetic and persuasive. And the true story of where he has emerged from, the story of a guy who made the most of what life and luck threw up, is compelling. We saw an effortless link between the task and Nawaz's story. Thereafter the only thing to do was to have him tell us his story in his words and observe the same. The product just slips in effortlessly," says Chakravarty.

The first phase of the campaign will run for five months or so. A 360-degree campaign, it would be led by television and will be promoted across general entertainment channels, both Hindi and vernacular, infotainment and sports channels. There will also be a strong focus on digital and radio. "YouTube has become a biggest content driver and, hence, no one can afford to miss out on that. Also we are running radio spots across 50 cities," says Krishnamurthy.

According to industry estimates, the budget for the campaign is around Rs 10-12 crore across television, radio and digital. Truecaller is working with OEMs and integrating its apps, including Truemessenger and Truediallers, with their operating system.

"Apps cannot act independently. They need hardware and data connection. It is a three-way relationship. We have partnered with more than 18 device makers nationally and internationally. Given the rise in smartphone shipment in India, OEM integration is important for us," says Krishnamurthy.

According to the International Data Corporation Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 26.5 million smartphones were shipped to India in the second quarter of 2015, up 44 per cent from 18.4 million units for the same period last year. By 2017, India is expected to overtake the United States as the second largest smartphone market globally.

Brand: Truecaller
Agency: Contract India
Budget: Rs 10-12 cr

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First Published: Mon, September 14 2015. 00:08 IST