Amazon-owned online audiobook and podcast platform, Audible, has released a new ad campaign that spotlights the power of stories. The ads created by Ogilvy India will air for six weeks in both English and Hindi, across TV and digital mediums.
Audible launched in India towards the end of 2018, and the company is still testing products that are right for a diverse and price sensitive market like India. As a first strategic move, last year the platform launched a free India-first app called Audible Suno, which has over 100 original and exclusive audio series both in Hindi and “Hinglish”. These ‘easy-to-digest’ audio shows feature celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Anil Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh, Anurag Kashyap, Tabu, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, among various other comedians, authors, and artists. The app has garnered over five million downloads in nine months and witnessed a spike in new users and usage during the lockdown, as per the company.
In an exclusive chat with Brand Equity, Shailesh Sawlani, country head, Audible India, says the pandemic in some ways became a “catalyst” for people to explore new things to keep stress at bay and make the best use of their dead time. This led to “exploration” of new formats of content on platforms like Audible, he says. As a result of these new consumption patterns, Sawlani is now also seeing “habituation kicking in”.
To cater to new users, the platform’s curated and created fresh content. For instance, with Audible Stories, the company put together titles like ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ narrated by Stephen Fry and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in Scarlett Johansson’s voice. That apart, a ‘sleep collection’ with bedtime stories, ASMRs and soundbaths was curated. In new content, Audible Suno tailored shows like ‘Suno Mahabharata Devdutt Pattanaik Se Saath’, ‘Qisse Lockdown Ke with Neelesh Misra’, ‘Simple Recipes with Sanjeev Kapoor’, and a few others, to build stickiness. Recently, the company also released a show called ‘What A Match’ by cricket commentator and interviewer Harsha Bhogle. In terms of trends, Sawlani says Indians love “scripted dramas” even in audio formats.
In order to showcase these content formats and different user behaviours on the platform, the new ad films talk about “books, stories, life lessons and more”. “The audio category is still in its early stages in India. We think there a huge opportunity for making people understand how the medium works. The campaign is an effort to address this and to make people aware of the power of great stories. It will help us seed ideas in the minds of people who want to try out the audio content format,” explains Sawlani.
With more people working from home and families spending more time together, Sawlani also thinks ‘co-listening’ will give the brand new ideas for creating original content in the coming months.