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Despite 55% negative sentiment on social media, Airtel shows who's 'The Boss'

08-August-2014
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Despite 55% negative sentiment on social media, Airtel shows who's 'The Boss'

The new Airtel ‘The Boss’ ad, created by Taproot India, has been the topic of much intense debate on the internet over the past couple of weeks. The ad broke towards the end of July and has been at the centre of a storm since then. Debates on whether the ad is progressive or sexist have divided the internet.

Media analysts Meltwater and Simplify360 went through the conversations on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook, among others, in an attempt to find out the exact impact of the ad on the digital universe.

Even though Airtel’s digital advertising started focusing on other expects of The Smartphone Network, which was their overall campaign, the Boss ad still remains the most talked about. In all, the official hashtag for the campaign – #TheSmartphoneNetwork – has had a total reach of 250,473, while an unofficial hashtag (#airtelad) reached a total of 79,479 accounts on Twitter since the start of this month, according to a quick search on analytics tool Keyhole.

However, not all the conversations have been positive. In fact, initial reactions were largely negative with ire being directed to claims that the ad was regressive and sexist. This initial outrage definitely helped popularise the ad even more as it added to the curiosity value.

After analysing more than 10,000 posts across a number of digital and social platforms, including blogs, Meltwater’s Sentiment Meter found that over the last two weeks, 55 per cent have expressed negative views. Even more interestingly, Simplify360 found that only 25 per cent of the total commentators were women, at least on Twitter.

“It’s quite common to see mixed reactions to ads that touch the culture and traditions in India. The Airtel - Boss Film is yet another example. Considering the brand size, it was evident that people will express their emotions on social media. I would say it was a blessing in disguise for Airtel as because of varied emotions on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, the curiosity increased and led to more views of the ad on YouTube. In a week’s time, the official YouTube page had more than 1.2 million views,” observed Nitin Bhatia, Director, Agency Partnerships, Meltwater India.

In terms of numbers, the ad was one of the most spoken about in recent times. The long version of the ad has so far garnered in excess of 980,000 views, with more than 3,900 likes, while the shorter version has had close to 3 million views, with 177 likes. Also, more than 50 people also posted the ad on their accounts, adding another 190,000 views, says Meltwater. “With around 10,000 mentions spread across various channels on social media, it generated more than 14.5 million impressions. Which means around 1.4 crore people potentially viewed these posts,” pointed out Bhatia.

The Facebook post for the video has so far received 57,529 likes and 247 shares. Likewise, the original post on July 25 on Twitter had received 99 retweets and 96 favourites (akin to Facebook Likes). Since the two weeks that it has been live, Simplify360 estimates that Twitter mentions have exceeded 6,000.

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