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Corporate Aug 25, 2012

Do you shop or simply ‘Flipkart it’?

By Anant Rangaswami

This is a brave attempt by Flipkart - to try and 'verbalise' the brand. In a new campaign, the e-commerce company asks consumers whether they 'shop' or 'Flipkart it'.

You can see one of the commercials in the campaign below in the post.

Screengrab from Flipkart.

"I don't shop anymore, I just Flipkart it," says the protagonist in the TVC.

There are very few brands who have made the leap from a proper noun to a verb. Xerox, in many parts of the world, and certainly in India, has become synonymous with photocopy - as in, "Make a Xerox' of this letter.

Closer home, specific to India, 'Colgate' became a verb. It's common, in parts of north India, for parents to ask their children, "Colgate kiya?", as a substitute for "Have you brushed your teeth?"

Close-up, in India, tried to catch up on Colgate when they forced Close-up to become a verb with their delightful commercial "Kya aap Close-up Karte hain?"

Here's the Close-up commercial.

If Close-up didn't quite become the verb it wanted to, it's because it was nowhere near being a category leader. For the transition from noun to verb to have a chance, the brand, to begin with, must have a clear leadership position.

In Flipkart's case, it does, currently. As the range of products on offer widens, the need to move from being a portal for books to become a destination for shopping becomes imperative.

The need is underlined by the existing competition such as Myntra, eBay, Homeshop18, naaptol, Yebhi, etc and the emergence of new players such as Jabong.

It's going to be some time before we know whether the move to become a verb works - that's why it's prudent that the commercial underlines the other virtues of good ecommerce sites - ease of purchase and reliable delivery.

Disclosure: Homeshop18 is a part of the Network18 groups that also owns Firstpost.

by Anant Rangaswami

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