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Meet our Middle East & Africa DTC Activations Director, Gaurav Asarpota

Meet Gaurav Asarpota, the DTC Activations Director of Promidea MEA, whose career journey has spanned over 16 years in strategic brand building and marketing across multi-national brands. Transitioning from a through-the-line agency to a direct-to-consumer focus, Gaurav now leads innovative campaigns and oversees DTC activations across the dynamic MEA region. His expertise in cultural localization, digital strategies, and technological integration positions Promidea MEA at the forefront of marketing excellence in MENAP and Sub-Sahara Africa.


  1. Can you share a bit about your background and what led you to your current role as DTC Director at Promidea MEA?

I am a creative thinker, strategic brand builder, persuasive communicator and an imaginative brand and marketing professional with over 16 years of experience. Working with a reputed through-the-line agency helped me hone my skills in strategic planning, campaign executions and client relations. During my tenure, I had the opportunity to work on several multi-national brands/accounts which provided me with omni-channel exposure.

My move to Promidea SRL was a natural progression from a through-the-line to a more direct-to-consumer-focused role. Led by my passion for innovative brand solutions and desire to work across regions with diverse and rapidly evolving markets have further helped me mold myself into a well-rounded marketing professional.


  1. What excites you about working in DTC marketing? How do you adapt DTC strategies in the dynamic region of MEA?

As the MEA Regional Director – DTC Activations, I leverage my extensive experience to oversee a talented team, develop impactful strategies, and ensure that our clients' brands resonate powerfully with their target audiences. My role allows me to combine my strategic vision with hands-on execution, ensuring that we deliver exceptional value and exceed client expectations.

What excites me most about working in direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing is the ability to create and maintain a direct connection with the consumer. DTC marketing allows for real-time feedback, personalized interactions, and a deeper understanding of customer needs and preferences. This direct engagement enables us to tailor our marketing efforts more precisely, resulting in more meaningful and impactful consumer experiences.

In the dynamic and diverse regions of the MENAP & SSA, adapting DTC strategies involves a keen understanding of local cultures, consumer behaviors, and market trends. The MEA region is characterized by its rapid digital transformation, youthful population, and varying levels of market maturity, which necessitate a flexible and localized approach. I follow 5 key principles when working on DTC strategies:

  1. Deeper understanding of cultural sensitivities & localized approach
  2. Digital & Mobile focused approach
  3. Insights backed by data
  4. Innovation & Agility to enable effective and speedy go-to-market executions
  5. Work that builds brand trust & loyalty


  1.  BTL marketing often involves engaging directly with consumers. How do you ensure that these interactions reflect the brand values and ethos of Promidea's MEA clients?

This is one of the most important aspects of DTC marketing where your ground-level engagement directly to consumers is required to be on-point and exactly follow the comms framework laid out by the brand & Promidea. It all starts by gaining a deep understanding of the activating brands purpose, creative platform and what exactly we want the consumer take-away from the engagement. Once we have absorbed that, we focus on in-depth training sessions and curating tailored messages for ground-level communication. We further put QA filters and also gather consumer feedback during the course of engagement and finally verify these with our results.


  1. Could you share some recent successful BTL campaigns or projects you've worked on? 

We have been working on many exciting projects for Mondelēz brands, especially Cadbury Dairy Milk, Oreo, Halls, Lunch Bar across MENAP and Sub-Sahara markets. We have currently deployed the Oreo The ‘O’ Collection campaign in KSA. The campaign is a region’s first where we have put a currency on Oreo and consumers can earn and redeem their points through a digital platform against limited edition merchandise. This has been one of the most challenging campaigns and we await the results post-completion. In Sub-Sahara, we recently concluded the Cadbury Generosity campaign in 2023 which was very purpose-led and around literacy in the region. We had the privilege of contributing to communities with stories curated & authored by consumers like you and me, then published into story books through a publisher. These were then used in school programs where we visited around 25 public schools in Kenya and did a literacy drive.


  1. What role do you see technology playing in the future of BTL marketing, particularly in the context of emerging technologies like AI and AR?

Technology has already been playing a pivotal role even with physical activations. AI (including ML) along with AR is poised to re-imagine DTC campaigns by making them more personalized, interactive, efficient and insightful. By leveraging on these new-age technologies marketers can create more engaging and effective DTC engagements that resonate deeply with consumers and drive better business outcomes. 


  1. Looking ahead, what do you see as the future direction of BTL marketing, and how do you envision Promidea MEA staying at the forefront of these developments?

Looking ahead, the future of DTC marketing will likely be characterized by increased integration of digital technologies, greater personalization, and a heightened emphasis on sustainability. Digital advancements, such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI), will revolutionize how brands engage with consumers, offering immersive and interactive experiences. Personalization will become even more critical, with data analytics enabling brands to create highly tailored campaigns that resonate deeply with individual consumers. Sustainability will also play a significant role, with consumers increasingly favoring eco-friendly and socially responsible brands.

To stay at the forefront of these developments, Promidea MEA will continuously look to innovate and adapt. This includes investing in cutting-edge technologies & solutions that can enhance consumer relevancy and campaign effectiveness across all touchpoints. We will have to ensure that all DTC marketing efforts remain relevant, effective, and aligned with the evolving preferences of consumers across both MENA & SSA regions.


     7. Finally, what advice would you give to other professionals looking to excel in the field of BTL marketing and premiums, particularly within the MEA region?

To excel in DTC activations and marketing space and premiums, professionals should prioritize understanding local cultures and market dynamics, leveraging digital and mobile platforms, and building strong local partnerships. Tailoring campaigns to the unique preferences of diverse consumer segments, investing in data analytics for informed decision-making, and staying adaptable to changing trends are essential. Continuous measurement and optimization of campaign effectiveness are crucial for sustained success. Engaging local talent and incorporating personalized, culturally relevant premiums can significantly enhance the impact of DTC marketing efforts in this diverse and dynamic region.


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