Brand Strategy Marketing

Inside Meta's monumental privacy campaign for WhatsApp in India

By Amit Bapna, APAC editor-at-large

September 14, 2023 | 5 min read

How do you promote privacy features? If you’re WhatsApp in India, you do it in the most public way possible.

WhatsApp's privacy campaign done with a difference

WhatsApp's privacy campaign done with a difference

WhatsApp recently took over the iconic Gateway of India monument in Mumbai, bringing protection and privacy controls into the public domain as part of a 3D anamorphic installation.

Sandhya Devanathan, vice-president of Meta India, tells The Drum: “The anamorphic installations follow the journey of a WhatsApp message between a sender and the intended recipient, and no one in between.”

Depicted as part of the campaign were the privacy features people have at their fingertips on WhatsApp like end-to-end encryption, two-step verification, silencing unknown callers, and disappearing messages.

The eventual idea was to showcase how WhatsApp’s privacy layers work together to create a safe space for private messaging in a creative way, she adds.

This first-of-its-kind installation in India’s business district transformed the landmark into a branded digital experience destination.

Elaborating on how this activation fits into the brand’s playbook, Devanathan says: “The Gateway of India installations are part of WhatsApp’s global privacy campaign unveiled in India earlier in June which is focused on the importance of secure communication and WhatsApp’s multiple layers of privacy.”

This is the second year in a row that Meta has launched its flagship campaign to educate users on WhatsApp’s multiple layers of protection and the privacy-led features launched.

Overall, the campaign has deployed various media vehicles including social, digital, and broadcast channels, in print and on billboards across India – and this installation is part of that larger campaign.

The privacy campaign’s ad film launched a couple of months back has been conceptualized by Omnicom-owned creative agency BBDO India.

The film is crafted around a private conversation between two sisters and a use-case scenario of WhatsApp’s built-in layers of protection, the enhanced control users have over these conversations and can securely reach out to check in on someone.

Unlike an ad film, the brief and the starting point, ere were very different. Says Devanathan: “The genesis behind our privacy showcase at the Gateway of India was to create an unforgettable immersive experience to bring WhatsApp’s privacy features alive.”

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The privacy showcase is WhatsApp’s ode to Mumbai, she adds, and there could not have been a better location than the iconic landmark which was then layered with some quintessentially Mumbai elements like the kaali-peeli taxi (the classic black and yellow city cabs), red post box, iconic street lamps and pigeons at the Gateway of India.

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