Spikes Asia Case Study: How Better Half Recipes enabled Swiggy Instamart to outpace category growth in Q1 2020

Spikes Asia Case Study Better Half Recipes

The Better Half Recipes for Swiggy Instamart won a Silver at Spikes Asia 2022. The case study explores how the campaign came into being and resulted in 14% engagement in the quick commerce category that was still to find its place in the country.

Spikes Asia Case Study Better Half Recipes shares how Swiggy created a campaign for Instamart – creating a mark for the brand and the quick commerce segment itself which was in its nascent stages in 2020.

Category Introduction

98% of India’s $375Bn grocery retail market turned online during the world’s biggest lockdown. Swiggy, deemed non-essential, used its fleet to enter the grocery market with Instamart. Awareness of such a service was non-existent. To be successful in transitioning its business to groceries, Swiggy Instamart sought to redefine category codes to unlock a new segment driven by emergent lockdown behaviours.

By starting the conversation around equality in the kitchen as opposed to the storefront, the brand created a visceral activation using three mediums that define the media landscape today:

  • Text
  • Video
  • Audio.

Brand Introduction

To turn 2% of the grocery market online, current online grocers have used different levers of ‘convenience,’ namely deep discounting to convert its consumption audience: women.

The competition is well-funded and relies on celebrities, massive media buys through traditional media. Swiggy Instamart, instead, began as a pilot with virtually no advertising budget.

As a brand with a stronghold on young Indians through its food delivery service, Swiggy Instamart’s go-to-market strategy was designed in a way that any campaign would have to result in consumer adoption.

As a business, Swiggy Instamart’s lack of fixed costs on infrastructure, celebrity endorsements, offline presence, or even its own warehouses was already differentiated and produced a better service experience. Marketing had to offer a higher-order reason to pick the brand.

Creative Idea

Men don’t make the news for ordering food off delivery platforms. However, in India, men make news for simply stepping foot into the kitchen.

When men started doing chores, looking up recipe hacks, and cooking videos on YouTube, Swiggy Instamart sought to redefine category codes to unlock this new segment. By starting the conversation around equality in the kitchen as opposed to the storefront, the brand created a visceral activation
using three mediums that define the media landscape today: text, video, and audio.

The discourse around gender roles in India is expanding into areas such as parenting, career decisions, and housework. While men’s attitudes can be moulded around parenting and career decisions, their ability to contribute to chores hasn’t. With increasing workloads during the pandemic, lines for housework were blurred. Men slowly learned to mop houses, buy the right pulses, and even wash their own dirty laundry.

During this time, the cultural norms of the lack of men’s participation were being challenged, and Swiggy Instamart cemented it for a chore which women do 88% more of: cooking.

SSpikes Asia Case Study Better Half Recipes – Summary

Swiggy Instamart created The Better Half Recipes: The first-ever feminist recipes.

Instead of another story about why equality mattered, Instamart gave couples a new tool to experience a feminist kitchen: feminist recipes.

By splitting instructions equally where recipes are sought, The Better Half Recipes took the onus of teaching your partner to share cooking time, without kitchen mishaps, without wrong ingredients, without second-guesses… so women didn’t have to.

The kitchen became a counterintuitive starting point for a new narrative in grocery delivery, with a vestige of Indian kitchens: recipes, cooking videos, and cookbooks themselves.

Also Read: Spikes Asia Case Study: How the Netflix campaign for Red Notice drove 19 Mn+ impressions in 3 days

Strategy Execution

In the pilot, Instamart was available for Swiggy users in Bengaluru and Gurgaon. Aside from service guarantees, the pilot would succeed if it could redefine category expectations (of men’s grocery shopping).

The brand did not take a linear approach, considering following codes would risk Swiggy’s ungendered TOV (Tone Of Voice) and healthy gender balance. To remain ungendered, the brand was inspired by the Politics of Housework from 1970.

Swiggy Instamart question, “was it normal for men to ignore groceries because it was normal to be clueless about kitchen needs… because it was normal to not cook?” Men don’t do chores or purchase groceries until they’re personally inconvenienced, and the onus to ‘help men help women,’ is still on the woman.

When lockdown data reflected men helping out, out of inconvenience, Swiggy Instamart repositioned grocery as a fun unisex chore, starting with cooking in the kitchen.

The Better Half Recipes hit the internet by hijacking YouTube comments of 70 of India’s most-watched chefs. Turning over 160 trending recipes feminist, by leaving comments (with timestamps) to split recipes equally, available in a ‘The Better Half Playlist’. Just like searching for recipe variations, partners
could now search for better half versions to split the effort.

For couples who prefer ‘listening,’ ‘The Better Half Podcast’ featured real-time audio instructions for recipes- split in half, for each ear pod, on Spotify.

For potential customers in Bangalore and Gurgaon, the exclusive ‘The Better Half Cookbook’, a physical cookbook with original recipes, split into two and doubled up as a product catalogue and trial-generator.

Spikes Asia Case Study Better Half Recipes – Results

News about Instamart’s Better Half Recipes reached 100 million people & expanded to 6 countries – including the USA, Canada, Australia, Thailand, and New Zealand, increasing brand queries by 51%, app engagement by 14%, and garnering $1.8 million in earned media. By launching a campaign idea outside serviceable areas, Instamart garnered disproportional FOMO within Gurgaon and Bangalore, selling out ‘The Better Half Cookbook’ in 4 days and increasing trials by 13%.

Swiggy Instamart outpaced category growth in Q1 2020.

Pooja Manek, Associate Creative Director on Swiggy’s Better Half Recipes “It’s wild to think any of us got any inspiration and motivation last year to get such stellar work out there. Goes to prove, that creativity shows up even when you least expect it to. As for The Better Half Recipes, we knew it was going to be a labor of love the moment we came up with it. And I’m extremely proud of the team who managed to still get the best version of the idea out there despite being miles apart.”

Shikha Gupta, Creative Director, Swiggy said, “Gender roles continue to plague even the most ‘modern’ nations and sections of society. This idea doesn’t just aim to start a conversation about equality but actually aims to spark a change. If men feel crippled in the kitchen despite having the intent to help, this cookbook serves as the first step toward making that change. I’d say ‘Change begins in the kitchen and this cookbook is living proof of that.”

Editor’s Note

Awards & accolades such as Spikes Asia have often played an integral role, in bringing some of the most intriguing and impactful campaigns from around the world, to the front. While as an industry, we have a certain idea of which were some of the most amazing campaigns, there is often a knowledge gap as to how did these campaigns come into existence? What went behind making the campaign? What were the steps taken to execute and eventually distribute it?

Spikes Asia Case Studies is a small attempt by Social Samosa, towards understanding what goes behind making a winning campaign? First in our series is Stayfree’s It’s Just A Period, which won a Silver at Spikes Asia 2022. We then uncovered The Unfiltered History Tour by Dentsu Webchutney and Vice Media and Netflix’s launch campaign for Red Notice which won a Bronze at Spikes. In this article, we take a look at the Spikes Asia Case Study Better Half Recipes.

Watch this space as we add the case studies to more campaigns from India that won big at the awards.

-Saloni Surti


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