Why it is my best campaign
In a career spanning over two decades and out of all the campaigns which I have been personally involved in, I would say that the Naukri.com campaign is the closest to my heart, especially Hari Sadu. When we took up this business in 2003, several other dotcoms, which had sprung up like wild flowers only a few years before that, had already gone bust.
No one understood this space, we were treading uncharted waters. No dotcom campaign had till then made any mark in the market place. There were no norms one could really follow… imagine having two sets of target audience: prospective employers and prospective employees, both equally critical. Off line executive search firms were still the norm. More importantly Monster.Com, an international online job portal, was considered to be the big daddy as it had the advantage of international experience in the sector.
The big question was, "How does one build up a new brand in a space which was in a sense transactional as there was no human intervention involved?" The need of the hour was to identify a unique emotional space that would give the brand a sharp attitudinal dimension in the shortest span of time. Shortest because in dotcom businesses, driven by immediate results, no one gets a second chance. One has got to get it right in the first go.
Brief to the agency
Since the category itself was emerging, the brief was to build traction to the site through eye-catching advertising.
Problems & challenges
The biggest challenge was that there were no set behavioural patterns one could fall back upon with respect to job portals. Consumers were not evaluative, there was no evaluation parameter and there were no success stories or case studies to emulate.
The initial thoughts were leading the campaign into functional and rational areas such as convenience, privacy, large portfolio of clients to choose from etc.
The Eureka moment
In advertising one needs to be restless and have a passion for uncovering insights. Any statement, any incident has a potential to lead one on to the right insight. And being an ardent practitioner of insight mining through self-experiences, a particular personal experience strengthened a hunch that "People don't quit their jobs, they quit their bosses."
A quick dipstick with colleagues and friends followed and they all warmed up to the insight instantly. But the insight was just a starting point, because a good insight needs an exciting creative idea; the big creative leap was the idea of 'boss bashing'. We didn't have the faintest idea then that this insight and the idea of boss bashing would take us on a path that would lead to the creation of an iconic figure, which only a few brands in Indian advertising have managed to create in the past such as Lalitaji of Surf .
The birth of Hari Sadu
When you are honest, you can be brave. The first Naukri TVC, which captured a young executive splashing water all over his boss in the rest room, received an encouragingly overwhelming response, helping them vent out bottled up angst. We were more worried as to how the employers would react; to our pleasant surprise, they too loved it.
It is important to push the boundaries and create relevant but edgier work and the success of the first two scripts strengthened our belief. We had decided that we needed to take boss bashing to a new, unexpected level.
A chance telephonic conversation with a tele-caller led me to spell out my name, as the line was faulty. Post the call it suddenly struck me that I had a new script and Hari Sadu was born.
The christening of Hari Sadu began with the surname rather than the first name as "Sadu" is a colloquial expression used to describe people who are upset over nothing. Hari sadu, therefore, became the caricaturist portrayal of an unreasonable, upset-over-nothing boss.
Now, we were really pushing the boundaries and the script was a bold one. It saw the light of the day because the client (Sanjeev, Hitesh and Ambrish: founders of Naukri) too backed our belief. Rajesh Krishnan took the script and brought it to life with brilliant execution.
Rest, as one would say, is history. Hari Sadu, a household name today, is as relevant and entertaining today as it will be tomorrow because the idea of boss bashing will remain evergreen and Naukri will always be associated with this idea.
There's nothing like success and better still there's nothing like success, which you can quantify. For the past one decade Naukri.com has held on to India's no.1 job site position and enjoys a 62 per cent market share.
Will it work today
The fact that the ad has not been eased out goes to show that the central idea was really powerful and that it can withstand the test of time.