How HBO India capitalized the WhatsApp status feature and received above 100K messages

Case study by Foxymoron for HBO India in which it used Whatsapp status feature to promote Suicide Squad, submitted under the category: 'Best Use Of Mobile Content’ for LI Content Marketing Awards 2017

The Client

HBO India (Turner International India Pvt Ltd) - World leader in entertainment, HBO is present in over 50 countries entertaining billions of fans each day with the very best of Hollywood and groundbreaking HBO Original Productions. Not to forget the record breaking Emmy and Golden Globe haul, maximum for any TV network till date.

Launched in India in 2000, HBO is the leading English entertainment channel. The one-stop-shop for movie buffs with Hollywood’s biggest and latest premieres and only channel with it’s own original productions. Join us here to watch, share and discuss all about movies and newest shows featuring on your favorite Home Box Office. It’s not TV, its HBO.

The Agency

FoxyMoron’s roots are based in an experiment. What started off as a summer project in 2008 evolved into something unbelievably enormous! It was the thought of having a good time while doing something we love, doing it because what’s life without a little mayhem, but most importantly, it was about doing things for the fun of it. This very philosophy is what converted our little summer project into one of India’s leading independent digital agencies.

In today’s environment when you have everything from Banks to Birth Control pills and Water Coolers to Air Purifiers with a digital presence, we place innovation above all in order to distinguish our clients from the herd! We always aim to make the brand a little more Foxy. We always do things differently, because we don’t know any other way. This works for us as it leads to thinking outside the box and coming up with ideas like never before. For our clients, it leads to innovative, interactive and impactful award winning work that raises the bar for the industry.

FoxyMoron has conceptualized, created and executed some of the biggest and successful brand led activities in India and our company has grown to become one of India’s leading digital marketing agencies, but nothing else has changed…we still follow the same philosophy!

Problem Statement

When brands look to interact with their fans, the first few platforms that they turn to are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now even Snapchat!

Identified Objectives

The objective was to personally engage with fans on a clutter free platform, which is more targeted, simpler to use, and more effective than before. All Social Media platforms are cluttered with information; hence the brand wanted to connect with the audience in a new, clutter-free way.

Keeping this in mind, we chose WhatsApp as the primary platform for this campaign. WhatsApp as a platform has rarely been explored by brands even though it has over 200 million active users in India! This is because of the common perception that it is not a very campaign friendly platform and is tedious for marketers to execute a campaign because metrics are manual. However, we chose to overcome this and record our results manually.

The Strategy/Execution

When brands look to interact with their fans, the first few platforms that they turn to are Facebook and Twitter, or a combination of both. Recently even Instagram stories and Snapchat have become quite popular.

However, WhatsApp as a platform is neglected by brands even though it has over 200 million active users in India. This is because of the common perception that it is not a very campaign friendly platform and is tedious for marketers to execute a campaign because metrics are manual.

The most ideal aspect about the WhatsApp platform is the fact that it is used by people on a daily basis. So when it came to promoting one of the biggest movie premieres - Suicide Squad on HBO, we thought it was a fantastic opportunity to utilise WhatsApp as a platform to the movie and engage our fans.

The first step involved pushing our number across various social platforms; Social Media as well as an on-air push on the channel itself. We started this campaign by asking users to add us on WhatsApp through HBO India’s social handles (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) with a personal message, sharing the HBO India number.

Step 1
“Villains now have a number” – HBO India. We pushed our number on the brand’s social handles and channel itself.

Step 2
Once our fans got a hold of our number, they could chat with us and we were there to answer all their questions and speak to them on a one-on-one basis. A Villain would respond and give the fans a friendly Jolt that would get them chatting. Each fan received customized responses in the Suicide Squad villain’s tonality.

Step 3
Each fan received customised responses in their favourite villain’s style on a daily basis.

Step 4
To keep our fan-base engaged, we leveraged the ‘WhatsApp status’, for which, we begin by adding incoming numbers to our contact list. Through the status, we engaged fans with daily contests, villain takeovers and exclusive as well as never seen before content from the movie.

Below are the details on how we kept the fans engaged on this unexplored feature of the platform:

Daily contests
Every evening we had a new contest for our fans! These contests ranged from guessing games to imitating movie dialogues to even giving their suggestions for a Bollywood Suicide Squad.

Every day we were giving out film merchandise and vouchers, which actually got our fans to participate along with conversing with us on a daily basis.

What we did for the WhatsApp status contests;

  • We asked fans to mimic their favourite villain by sending a voice note of a dialogue or humming the official soundtrack of the movie and received over 2200 voice notes
  • We also utilised WhatsApp Status’s doodle feature to get people to doodle themselves to look like one of the villains from the film and received over 500 doodles from our fans

Villain Takeovers

Seven days prior to the screening of the premiere, every day we had a villain takeover where we conversed with our fans in a particular villain’s style. Not only that, we would greet fans with voice notes from that villain, share the best scenes of that villain and the contest of the day was inspired by that villain too.

This contest revolved around the popular comedian Karan Talwar aka Bollywood Gandu to add a Bollywood twist. He gave suggestions on which Bollywood actors could portray Suicide Squad characters. On the basis of the same we asked people to send in their Bollywood suggestions too.


This activity made HBO India the first entertainment brand to capitalize on the WhatsApp status feature.

  • The results were phenomenal as in a matter of hours we had over 800 contacts organically.
  • The campaign continued for three days gaining above 1,000 new contacts every day, and garnered over 2,000 daily views on our status.
  • Totally we gathered over 10,000 chats and received above 1,00,000 messages.


This campaign enabled us to connect with our fans on a one-on-one basis and build a personal connect with them. Not only that, we could capitalize on a on a clutter-free platform such as WhatsApp, which fans utilize on a general basis, sometimes even more than Facebook.

Hence, even though Facebook could have given us a wider reach, WhatsApp gave us the opportunity to personally reach out to our fans.

As per recent reports, WhatsApp is testing APIs for businesses, as it could soon become a viable platform for communication.

Case Study link: 

HBO India Suicide Squad

How HBO India made the the premiere of Suicide Squad a memorable one by using Whatsapp

Lighthouse Insightsさんの投稿 2017年11月6日(月)