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  • Writer's pictureMansee Mohta

First-time winner in the Cannes Lions 2023, new-age agency Talented’s ‘Why Is This A Swiggy Ad’ for Swiggy won a Bronze.

Using the best potential of UGC format, Swiggy asked the audience a simple question – ‘Why Is This A Swiggy Ad?’ and had thousands talking about it.

Swiggy, the food-delivery app, came up with their extensive campaign titled – ‘Why Is This A Swiggy Ad?’. Quickly, this single sentence gained much traction on the internet and had the users confused. This user-generated campaign (UGC) had thousands of people discussing a simple question on a live stream and more.

1. Category Introduction

Founded in 2014 as a food delivery platform, Swiggy has slowly become the platform with every convenience at your fingertips – with its quick commerce offering Swiggy Instamart, and its Pick Up and Drop service Swiggy Genie.

2. Brand Introduction

Swiggy’s mission is to elevate the quality of life for the urban consumer by offering convenience. The brand has partnered with over 200,000 restaurants spread across 500+ cities in the country. Swiggy also offers instant grocery delivery service Instamart, pick up and drop service Swiggy Genie, meat delivery, and daily grocery delivery service Daily.

Along with the product innovation and ongoing pivot of the business model, Swiggy has also been at the forefront with its marketing playbook. Its campaigns over the years have been talked about for their engaging creative storytelling, with a notable loyal fan following on its social media pages.

3. Problem Statement/Objective

Swiggy has become such an integral part of your lifestyle. Beyond just-food. Whether it comes to your dating life, eating habits, PG life, budgeting, work-life etc. there are clear traces of Swiggy now being a core part of it. It has even become part of mainstream pop culture in a way that is not functional but instead entertaining. It’s called ‘Swiggy Culture’. It’s the culture, codes and new behaviours that come with using an app like Swiggy.

4. Brief

Bring alive the ‘Swiggy Culture’ and establish Swiggy as the pop-culture brand amongst Gen-Z and millennials by generating conversations and earning media attention for the brand.

5. Creative Idea

“Why Is This A Swiggy Ad?” – a user-generated imagination campaign, where one image turned the advertising premise on its head and made Indian Gen-Z and millennials forget about their short attention span – all through thumb-stopping visuals and an engaging airtight social plan.

6. Challenges

Will they see it? Will they get it? Will they keep guessing?

All questions were at the top of TALENTED’s mind, every day since the idea was conceived but a good social and influencer plan could easily tackle that.

7. Execution

‘Why Is This A Swiggy Ad?’ was launched through print, OOH, and social media – all leading to The campaign website was designed to help fans of the campaign explore each element in extreme detail, and unlock hidden clues to help them crack the mystery. Users could participate with their best and weirdest theories through Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to win ₹1 Lakh Swiggy Money.

8. Problem Statement/Objective

Swiggy has become such an integral part of your lifestyle. Beyond just-food. Whether it comes to your dating life, eating habits, PG life, budgeting, work life, etc. There are clear traces of Swiggy now being a core part of it. It has even become part of mainstream pop culture in a way that is not functional but instead entertaining. It’s called ‘Swiggy Culture’. It’s the culture, codes, and new behaviors that come with using an app like Swiggy.

9. Results

Over the course of 8 days, people on the internet (and off it) racked their brains to come up with the most interesting theories. From long Twitter threads, and 3-scroll LinkedIn posts to mind-boggling videos, and at one point – hundreds of thousands of people on a live stream discussing the ad. The more discerning participants even discovered that they could unlock the full ad through a cryptic password. But were any of their theories correct?

10. People posted their theories

Why is this a Swiggy ad?

- There is the earth with India lit up showing Swiggy is currently in India but plans to expand its business

- deeper pockets of the country and beyond this country

- Swiggy is going to establish new places which are super famous for food like new VV Puram etc.

- Swiggy is going to start drone delivery/delivery that takes an aerial route and delivers different food varieties to people (even astronauts in 2047 as the lander is suggesting made in India 2047)

- From the earth, there is a scooter without a person carrying food on two sides

- Even Swiggy Instamart is accessible in this region

- The astronaut is even able to apply a discount on the order!


In the second week of October 2022, Swiggy launched their campaign, ‘Why Is This A Swiggy Ad?’ through OOH, front-page print ads across top metros, and on social media. A single picture that made the internet speak a thousand words. A brainchild of Talented, “WITASA”, has evidently since then, seen nearly 800,000 people participating through their own theories, Livestream debates, and online discussions, all wondering why this was actually a Swiggy ad. WITASA is now Swiggy’s most successful UGC-first campaign so far, reminding us of what advertising is really about getting attention. The attention made “Why is this a Swiggy Ad” one of India’s top searched questions on Google that week.

Ashish Lingameni, Head – Brand, Product Marketing and Sustainability at Swiggy adds, “Among our many objectives with WITASA, the biggest was conversations, the share of Voice and engagement. This campaign has been fulfilled beyond expectations. There’s also science to this madness. Swiggy food delivery, Instamart and Genie are all top of mind through just one campaign and that’s what defines the success of this campaign.”

PG Aditiya, CCO and Co-founder, Talented says, “No other brand could have done this campaign. It took a brand that had immense existing brand love, woven into our cities’ cultural fabric & with tons of personal memories for each user to qualify for something as absurd as this campaign. To us, WITASA is design-thinking & culture-marketing at its best. It also proved that Gen-Z has longer attention spans than we think. You, me, all of us – we all became Swiggy’s ad agency for a whole week. And while we’ve (kinda) answered the burning question… we won’t blame you for not being convinced. Maybe we’ll never know why it was a Swiggy ad. But as long as we keep thinking about it, we’re answering our own question.”

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The doyen of Indian advertising, Sylvester daCunha, of the Amul Girl campaign in 1966 fame, passed away on Tuesday 20th June 2023. His passing once again reminds us of the legacy the company created under the 'utterly butterly' brand campaign, one beloved by billions, laced with incomparable quick-wit. When you think of the ‘makkhan’, or butter, in the above bits of daily conversation, invariably only one brand would come to mind, Amul. And when you think of Amul, you picture a cute chubby girl in pigtails, the Amul girl. Advertising icon Sylvester daCunha, the man behind Amul's mascot who touched the daily lives of Indians with his signature Amul ads, utterly and butterly, has passed away but left a rich legacy that has become a part of our popular culture.

Amul girl: An utterly-butterly ‘meme’-led marketing legacy ahead of its time.

An unfettered legacy

Scripted in the late 60s, the Amul girl’s tale is one that deserves all the adulation showered on it. For Amul, the main competitor at the time of its birth was Polson Butter. It too had a mascot - a genial, blonde girl gleefully spreading butter across a slice of bread. In due time, Amul would eventually dominate, edging out the Pestonji Edulji Dalal-owned Polson.

The original brief was to create a mascot for Amul butter, positioned for children and mothers.

The late Sylvester daCunha, along with illustrator Eustace Fernandes and Usha Katrak, among others, created the Butter Girl for Amul’s campaign back in 1966. The first ad, with the word ‘Thoroughbread’ along with Amul’s slogan ‘Utterly Butterly Delicious’, first appeared in March 1966, with the Amul girl riding a horse.

Decades later, the iconic noseless girl with blue hair donning a red polka-dot frock can hardly go unidentified.

The nonpareil wit of the admen behind it has been a ubiquitous presence in India for nearly fifty years - be it during the Indira Gandhi government's infamous Emergency, congratulating the victor of Kaun Banega Crorepati show in 2000, the Commonwealth Scam jibe at Suresh Kalmadi, boycotting of Chinese-made products in 2020 or the celebration of India’s new Parliament building in 2023.

Amul girl cries on the death of the Legend.

Sylvester daCunha, your creation will be the North Star of branding forever. A true global Lovemark.

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  • Writer's pictureMansee Mohta

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

A “Battle of Brands” or “Brand War” is an intense competition among several brands from the same product category for the retailer's limited shelf space and for market share.

The legendary brand wars.

In today's fiercely competitive market, numerous prominent brands are vying for the attention of a shared target audience. The ongoing war between these industry giants has led to a constant battle of advertising strategies, with each brand striving to outshine its competitors and secure customer engagement and traffic.

As the market becomes more saturated with competitors, brands are relentlessly seeking innovative and effective advertising approaches. This intensifies the race to the top, with brands constantly striving to outdo one another and capture the largest share of consumer attention.

It's not Star Wars anymore, it's Brand Wars!

Here are the Iconic Wars till now.

McDonald's and KFC

KFC stole McDonald's biggest Show!! McDonald's Canada launched the much-anticipated Chicken Big Mac and announced it on Twitter. Soon enough, KFC posted its own version of the Big Mac, with the words: FIXED IT. They even went as far as tagging McDonald's on the post. Ouch. But the real Zinger was these billboards. They sent trucks advertising 'the fix' right in front of McDonald's stores to steal their thunder.

Chat GPT Joins the War

McDonald's was quick to hop on to the Chat GPT rage, but Burger King was quicker to leverage it to their own benefit. And then Subway joined the stage.

Is everything fair when it comes to marketing moves? Let us know your thoughts!

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