Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart turns its annual flagship sale into a Facebook 360-degree treasure hunt

On the surface, Indian online retailer Flipkart’s first foray into Facebook 360-degree video is a tour of the company’s Bengaluru headquarters. But it’s also a treasure hunt for viewers looking to land deals at its annual flagship sale.

The four-minute video, posted early Wednesday morning, features the company’s own employees taking viewers on a tour of the office’s lobby, meeting and conference rooms as well as its movie and music-themed rooms. Each location contains Easter eggs for various deals and offers, and users are encouraged to spin their phones around to spot and screenshot the offers. The video is also a play on the campaign theme “Ab itne mein itnaaa milega,” which roughly translates to “Get more for less.”

As viewers follow along, they may find an offer hidden in a poster on the wall in the company’s film room or on the T-shirt of a busy Flipkart employee scurrying across the office. In one of the frames, for example, viewers can snap up a discount of 5,000 Indian rupees ($78.50) on Apple iPads. In another, a Michael Jackson wall mural offers them a set of JBL flip speakers for 4,999 rupees, marked down from 6,399 rupees. There is a timer counting down too, giving them 10 seconds to spot and screenshot all the 10 different offers.

Those that share their screenshots in the Facebook video’s comments section and mention which offers they are most excited by stand a chance to win up to 15 electronic gift vouchers. The first one to spot and share the screenshots of all the 10 offers in the video — and also share the most unique reason for why he or she is excited about — it will win the bumper prize, worth 50,000 rupees.

“Video is really taking off in India, but we wanted to take it a step further and make it interactive, not just have a passive audience on TV,” said P.G. Aditya, creative director at Dentsu Webchutney. “We wanted to come up with a hack that would force the audience to engage with the contest.”

October is peak shopping season in India, marked by Diwali, the widely celebrated festival of lights. Days leading up to the festival are filled with massive sales akin to Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales here in the U.S., with several brands trumpeting their deals on traditional and social media. Flipkart, often dubbed as India’s Amazon, is one of the country’s largest online retailers and has been running its annual festive sale called “The Big Billion Days” for three years now.

The Facebook 360-video effort is an extension of a similar effort by Flipkart and its agency Dentsu Webchutney last year called “#TheBigBillionHunt,” in which it used multiple Instagram accounts and tags to create a gamified treasure hunt on the platform. The effort attracted thousands of users in the 12 hours that it was active, also increasing Flipkart’s daily Instagram user growth by 350 percent. This year’s video amassed over 728,000 views and more than 21,000 comments within the first two days.

“After the success of last year’s campaign, we decided that we should have a new version of the hunt every year,” said Prashant Gopalakrishnan, associate vp at Dentsu Webchutney. “The idea is to make the latest social innovation, in this case Facebook 360-degree video, the main driver.”

While the initiative is aimed at furthering engagement, it will undoubtedly also help the brand boost its sales at a key time. After years of continuous growth, Flipkart sales have plateaued recently. India’s most valuable startup, which introduced e-commerce to the masses, has also been facing stiff competition from Amazon India, which is catching up rapidly.

“For us, engaging with our users with a compelling story is as important as sales,” said Shoumyan Biswas, vp of marketing at Flipkart.

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