Inside Lenovo India’s Digital Strategy To Sell Its New Smartphone To Millennials Via Storytelling

For A7000 Lenovo India along with Experience Commerce launched MissionA7000 - a unique storytelling campaign on digital that involved a movie launch


Censor Board recommends a ban on mobile phones after being appalled at how the technology was being misused by the lead character Louis Santiago played by Hollywood superstar Johnny Deep in the film - Mission A7000. Later Censor board chief asked the makers of the movie to get the required changes made so that the film doesn’t hurt anybody’s sentiments.

Confused and aghast? The only respite for now is that the above news was featured earlier this month in Faking News portal, a leading news satire website in India. However, the manner in which the Censor board has been behaving lately, it won’t be very far in the future for this to turn true!


The native content published by Faking News directed me to a portal Mission A7000 that told the story of a geek who was locked in Istanbul after his lady love ditches him for a bag full of cash. The only hope for Louis is an electronic gadget which has the ability to hack the PA system which is powered by a 64- bit Octa Core processor.

The comic strip trailer that felt like an animation movie, convinced people to book a special screening earlier this month. The trailer story ends with a question whether Louis was able to hack the system or got himself hacked by the guards.

The special screening of Mission A7000 with Johnny Deep and Scarlite Handsfree in lead roles happened in four metro cities. Johnny Deep and not Johnny Depp? IMDB had no results for Mission A7000. One more detailed look and it was clear that I had been deceived.

The movie produced by Lenovo Pictures wasn’t about a Hollywood movie but about its latest smartphone A7000. With qualities like - Dolby Atoms, Octacore processor for super speed and 5.5 inch HD display, Lenovo India decided to launch the smartphone in movie theaters with a private screening for influencers and bloggers that could give the true feel of Dolby Atoms.

On digital Lenovo along with its digital agency Experience Commerce decided to go ahead with a movie story idea to reach out to the millennials on social media.

Sandip Maiti, CEO at Experience Commerce spoke to Lighthouse Insights on the unique idea behind this launch. He said that initially the idea was about having a movie poster which was stretched to a movie trailer. “We wanted to avoid just talking about the features of a smartphone, since it gets commoditized and at the same time it fades away too early. We took the multi-media experience route and since the launch for the phone was being hosted in a Dolby theater, we took the cinema angle. Thereafter we involved art and created a story in a way that makes people feel that it is a real movie because the final gratification was an invitation to the movie theater.”

Talking about the technology involved in the portal, Sandip added that the sound embedded with the story had special effects, giving you the feel of a spy thriller with the comic book effect.

While the campaign buzz was at its peak, it was revealed to be the launch event for Lenovo A7000. In addition to this the participants who got invited to the movie theater got a chance to see the latest Hollywood spy flick Kingsman: The Secret Service and were also able to grab priority passes to the Flipkart sale.

Along with the creative campaign the agency was involved in running a heavy duty media campaign using the same assets and ran creative banners on impact and performance media to generate sales.

Storytelling to connect with millennials

A recent study revealed that 84 percent of millennials don’t like traditional advertising nor do they trust it. This generation dislikes advertising and not brands said Maker Studios’ chief content officer Erin McPherson recently. Maker Studios is now the largest distributor of short-form video content in the world. It gets 11 billion monthly views, with sixty percent of viewers aged between ages 13 and 34.

Today to reach out to millennials brands need to tell a good story and Lenovo India is getting it right in every campaign. Earlier during the launch of A6000 we saw the brand get Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor to interact with fans on six different social networks for a day. The campaign was tied around original visual content backed with co-creation. Besides the campaign proved that a brand can have an impact on multiple social networks only if it uses the uniqueness of a social network by creating original content.

While there was no Ranbir for A7000, the brand along with the agency had a compelling story to push the product on social media. Beginning with the initial push on Faking News, to driving conversations around the spy movie by involving movie bloggers on social media and finally ending up with tying offline and online conversations at the event goes out to show that the campaign was well thought of and well executed at each step.

“People of this generation love to talk about upcoming movies so we wanted to ride the fashion front of the youth as a new movie launch is a fashion front. By the time the campaign was explored on social, people knew that it isn’t a real movie but by that time conversations were already spiking up,” Sandip added while stressing the fact that it was a deliberate ploy that was not overdone.

For Sandip the best measure of the campaign is Google search trends - A7000 was trending on Google right after IPL.

Till date 35,000 units have been sold and registration is on for the next flash sale on Flipkart. So is the digital campaign spiking sales for Lenovo India, was my question to Sandip, “While digital plays an eminent role in connecting with the youth, the success of the campaign is also being driven by other core aspects such as PR and media buying.”

Lenovo India along with Experience Commerce are disrupting the digital space with innovative campaigns to connect with millennials, at a time when other smartphone makers are still considering Twitter contests as a digital campaign and India trending as ROI.