Last week, co-founder of comedy sketch group, All India Bakchod (AIB) Tanmay Bhatt posted a Snapchat video making fun of Sachin Tendulkar and Lata Mangeshkar which was widely criticised by people all over. While political groups filed FIRs against him, the video was a hot topic of discussion across news channels and also grabbed prime time space on Times Now's The Newshour. Not only did this controversy help Bhatt grab instant attention, it even worked in favour of Snapchat.
While the storm was at its peak, Bhatt kept tweeting and mentioning about Snapchat in all his online conversations.
Did Snapchat gain from the controversy?
We spoke to digital and brand experts in order to understand, how did this controversy work in favour of Snapchat? Commenting on this, Saurabh Uboweja, CEO & Chief Brand Strategist, Brands of Desire said, “Snapchat is having a ball run at the moment not just in India but globally. They have just overtaken Twitter in number of concurrent users, raised money at $18bn, and have even managed to get a pat on the back by Twitter CEO and even triggering him to call his own service confusing as compared to Snapchat. They are certainly top of the rung in terms of month-on-month growth as a messaging service.”
He added, “It certainly has worked in their favour. Imagine thousands of headlines reading “Tanmay Bhatt’s Snapchat Video”. It has been a very powerful and absolutely zero-cost brand marketing for Snapchat, prompting Tanmay to jokingly seek money for endorsement. Facebook recently conducted a survey amongst its users in India and in many other countries to find out if people are using Snapchat and why they are using it. In a first-of-its-kind survey, Facebook used its own platform for the research. It simply demonstrates how Snapchat is stealing the thunder from below everyone.”
According to recent reports, Snapchat has 150 million people using the service every day, which makes the messaging app more popular than Twitter by daily users.
According to Jagdeep Kapoor, Managing Director and Chairman, Samsika Marketing Consults, controversies or arguments are like a flash in the pan, they give noticeability, but not credibility. Here the brand has taken the entry strategy, but whether they will opt for the growing approach or the exit strategy, time will tell. Brand building doesn’t happen in a day!
Digital experts give their take
Rajiv Dingra, Founder & CEO, WATConsult highlighted, “The entire controversy gave Snapchat primetime TV coverage which is obviously very valuable. Facebook had its run-ins with hate speech and religious content in the past but the platform has only grown. This is very favourable for Snapchat which is globally one of the fastest growing social platforms. The app is popular among the age group of 15-25 years mainly in India. It should have a user base in the early millions but it is growing rapidly.”
Suveer Bajaj, Founding Partner, FoxyMoron elaborated “Post the controversy, Tanmay’s follower base has increased and also the number of downloads for Snapchat has seen a rise. It has helped in spreading awareness and created a brand recall for Snapchat, but adoption has not happened.”
Echoing similar views, Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Mirum India said, “It surely helped to popularise the platform which was enjoying a certain set of demographics till now. The other set of the demography for whom videos meant YouTube, has started taking interest and it has definitely worked in favour of Snapchat.”
However, Tripti Lochan, CEO, VML India and South East Asia, highlights that even though the controversy has raised awareness about the app, but it has also put Snapchat in a temporary spotlight. “The app would have experienced a surge of users (across all ages) and brands exploring the platform, resulting in some spike of new/active accounts. However, this has no direct relation to the stickiness of the app that Snapchat has built over the years to earn more daily active users than Twitter globally,” she mentioned.
How will brands benefit from Snapchat as a platform?
Owing to the growing popularity of the app among today’s youngsters, brands are using it to connect with the audience today. Last month digital agency WatConsult turned to Snapchat to find prospective employees through their campaign ‘Snapplication'. Its plan of action required candidates to upload a 10-second video on the app about their passion and work on brands of their interest. The Snapchat account received nearly 200 new followers and close to 100 applications.
Lochan from VML cited, “As the user base continues to grow for Snapchat, brands will actively include the platform to their social media strategies. One of Snapchat’s key features is geo targeting which can be used by brands for effective and targeted communication.”
“Snapchat's popularity among the teens and millennials in India has made it a goldmine for the brands. This app could be a great way to instill a brand recall into the minds of the TG. The time-sensitive frame of this app makes it more appealing and also present brands with an opportunity to innovate,” added, Anjanee Gadgil Account Manager, Gozoop.