Around mid-2018, we founded Dobby Ads. Our vision was to simplify local and last-mile advertising. We observed that even in 2018, brands were placing posters inside supermarkets to upsell their products. Even local businesses were placing pamphlets or flyers near the billing counter, which customers would pick up and take home.
We addressed this problem by finding spots within supermarkets that have a high chance of getting eyeballs and install there a digital screen. Usually, this was near the billing counter. Our team would visit the store, discuss the best spot with the store management and mount the screen. The person you see in this picture is Shankar, and he is clearly one of the best installers in Bangalore.
All screens were connected to our own centralized ad platform via the Internet and remotely operated. Every line of code was written by our in house team. Through this, advertisers used to approach Dobby, select the screens they were interested in, make payment for the duration they wanted to subscribe for, upload content, and go live.
We also allocated some slots to the property where the screens were placed. In the case of a supermarket, they could show currently running offers. In the case of a gym, they could show inspirational fitness tips.
We also reserved some slots for Dobby. We used these slots to show engaging content - our own version of Google Doodle. We created an in-house content team to daily change content across all our screens. The objective was to not just engage with our audience but also spread inspirational updates about the city and its individuals, our country, and this world at large.
Within a year, our screens were placed in at least one of almost all popular supermarket chains in Bangalore. While there was a team behind this work, we owe our success to Abhijith, who worked very hard across the city to get this network established.
In late 2019, Dobby Ads went to a new level when we installed a Mega Screen in the food court of a premium Tech Park in Bangalore. Our entire team (dev, sales, and marketing) spent three days in the food court to get the screens up and running. The same software operating a gigantic screen like this was one of the greatest feelings. The credit to this achievement goes to Dishan from Dobby and to Saurabh and Suhas, with who we partnered.
From March 2020 to August 2020, we partnered with Big Basket to show ads on their Big Basket Instant Screens. This gave us access to 1000+ screens across multiple cities. We started getting advertisers who used 100+ screens to broadcast their ads.
The pandemic hit us hard. A footfall-centric business got a punch in the gut by an anti-footfall virus. On one side commercial locations across the city shut down and on the other hand companies slashed their marketing budgets. As a result, our entire screens business was put on hold.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."- Confucius
2021: Dobby 2.0
Today, we have reinvented Dobby. Over the two years of building this company, our team gathered rich experience in advertising, ad-tech, and content.
On one hand, we are offering this expertise in the form of services to businesses.
On the other hand, we are building new software products from our rich on the ground experience of working with hundreds of small businesses and advertisers.
As they say, strong walls are shaken but never break. We take pride in saying that we survived the pandemic and we are on our way to creating the dent we were always meant for.
Dobby owes it all to its people. Seen here is the gang in our early days in 2019.
An alumnus from IIT Bombay, Sudhanshu worked at Amazon and Samsung prior to founding Dobby Ads in 2018. He believes in people. According to him, a sincere attitude mixed with the right guidance can create magic. In his free time, he loves making wooden projects or playing with his son in a park. He shares these updates frequently on Instagram.
PS: He is actively looking for a professional photographer to update his profile pic. The current pic across all platforms is over a hundred years old.