Monday, 23 April 2012

My First Ever Marketing Campaign: Habbada oota

Some days are good and some are bad in life. At one point of time in my life, I thought that these worst days will never be over for me but today when I look back, I feel those days taught me so much in my life.
My so called worst days started in July 2007, when I joined Pantaloons Retail India in Bangalore as a management trainee.  I was fresh from MBA College and full of energy to do something in world. The first day of my job, we (batch of 40 people) were sitting in an auditorium and completing the joining formalities. I was eagerly signing my papers, as I wanted to see my cubic or perhaps the cabin. I was dreaming of handling difficult marketing campaigns and projects of Pantaloons and everyone is appreciating me. But suddenly a cracking voice of a lady (who was our HR) broken my dream. She said “Welcome to Pantaloons family!!! You all are management trainee now and for next 6 month, you all will be given training in different departments to understand how retail company functions. So here are your uniforms of Bigbazzar, Please wear it and you all have been posted to different Bigbazaar as a sales person for next one month”. I got a shock of my life. Common!! I am a computer Engineer and MBA in marketing. How can I do the role of a salesperson??? I confronted her “Why we need to do the role of a salesperson?” She said coldly “You need to understand the pain of a sales person.”

When I saw everyone is picking up their uniform, I quietly picked up mine and wore it. I was feeling quite terrible as I didn’t do my MBA to become sales women. I came here to handle difficult projects, to increase the top line and bottom line of Pantaloons but not to sell clothes.
With heavy heart, I joined BigBazaar of Jayanagar, Bangalore. I went to store manager’s cabin and he asked me which department you would prefer. I thought for a second and said “ Give me books department!!”. I thought, at least, I am saved from selling saris and shirts. He looked at me and said “ OK !! but it’s not doing very well… Since you are a management trainee, I want that the sales figure should go up by 60% in next two weeks.“  I thought “OMG!! I got the target also in less than 2 minutes of my joining” . He got up and looked at me and said ” Remember your performance review is on third week of this month, so if you don’t perform it well , you may need to repeat this training again”. “Uff kya musibat hai!!!! I don’t want to do this for whole of my life” that’s the exact words came to my mind.
I went to my department and saw most of the books were in Kannada. “WOW!!! That’s called sone pe suhaga”. I don’t know Kannada and I have to sell books written in Kannada.

Next day I stood stiffly in front of a dressing room mirror wearing a god-awful concoction of orange uniform. The salesgirl within me ooohed and aaaahed, telling me how adorable it looked. There was no way I was going out into the world dressed like that...but…..
I reached to my department and started glancing those books which can contribute to sales figure deeply in database; I got to know that most of the books belong to cookery book. But my problem was, all the cookery books were in English and belong to North India cuisine. The customer profile of this bigbazzar does not speak English and selling north Indian cuisine was a tough job.

Than, I made my first “so called” marketing campaign plan to sell these recipe books to traditional Kannadigas.
I went to the promoters of “India Gate Basmati Rice” in food bazaar and asked them if they can support two day campaign where we can allow customers to taste biryani made up of India gate rice. After much persuasion they agreed. For me, it was like half battle won. Now the next tough job was to release fund from my store manager for the campaign. After so much of discussion, my miser store manager agreed to give me Rs 1000 for the campaign.

After a lot of google search, I got the name for my campaign “Habbada oota  (Food festival)”.
Oh God!! What a pain to find a suitable name for food festival in Kannada.

I designed a flex in Kannada where it was written about food festival. I prepared Biryani in my house and took it to store for promotion. With the help of other staff, we created a stall in ground floor where we have kept our biryani in small plates, recipe books and India Gate basmati rice packets.
At first, people were not even ready to look at our stall. By afternoon. I was losing out my patience to wait for customers. Than, I thought of organizing one minute game show which I use to see in my childhood. From customer service desk, I announced that those who will eat maximum number of biryani plates in one minute, we will give a surprise gift to them. After announcing for few minutes, there were few customers who were ready to play this game.

Wow!!! What an experience it was, seeing customers filling up their mouth with birayni. We gave a recipe book as a gift to the winner. We repeated this show thrice in an hours of interval. With this game show, customer were eager to taste biryani and started taking interest in our recipe book. By the end of the day, I have sold around 20 copies of Birayni cookery book. Seeing the response of the campaign, Instant mix promoter offered me to help in this. They gave us some packets of veg kebab to prepare and asked me to promote it tomorrow. I prepared those kababs and took it to stall next day. We repeated the same game again but this time the response was much higher compare to yesterday. Everyone one was eager to taste the north Indian cuisine and was also ready to buy Instant mix packet along with my cookery books.
Within three days I was able to increase my department top line by 30%. It was tiring, terrible but an incredible experience which I wouldn’t have got it without getting on floor with Bigbazzar uniform. Well it was start of my training and my so called worst days are yet to get over.


  1. Nicely written post , which reflects honesty and the honest person you are !!!
    There are some grammatical errors which even I do commit sometimes ,!!
    And this sounds to mature to be called "from a new bee !!! "
    Well nice post , Looking to see more from your personal experiences !!!

  2. That was a very quick reply for the challenge.
    Well very nice post portraying a fresher entering into market...
    Liked it very much...
    Keep writing...

  3. A very unique post about your experience Ruchi!!! I must say you are talented!!

    An award waiting for you dear Ruchi @

    Please accept it as my appreciation for your good work!!

    1. Thankyou soo much Divya!!!! I am so glad that you liked my blog and given me such apperication.....


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