About a year ago, a bespectacled, ugly, middle class girl with ambition gave the sexy, mangalsutra-clad bahus a run for their money. The adarsh bharatiya naris and the saas-bahus were everywhere till Jassi came along. The serial not only struck a chord with the audience but also got Sony many of its viewers back from Star.
In August 2003, in the 9 pm-10 pm time slot, serials like Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand had a TRP of 15.07, but after Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi, the TRP went down to 14.48. All the serials in this time slot saw a dip in their TRPs after Jassi hit the small screen at 9.30 pm.
Jassi has come a long way; Armaan Suri’s secretary is now Gulmohur’s CEO. The show has been backed by careful promotional strategy that has kept the buzz alive for a long time. Just as packaging is one of the most important aspects of a product, the promotion of a serial is as essential as the content. The promotion of Jassi has been done in stages; the pre-launch and the post-launch promotion.
The message that Jassi was different was conveyed through the ‘hatke’ promotions. While most promos for other serials feature the lead actor, for Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi we didn’t see the protagonist at all in the beginning. Buzz and mystery shrouded the protagonist; that made the audience curious.
Unanswered questions -- Who is Jassi? What makes her so different from others? What does she do? -- initially hooked viewers to the show. Clever marketing manoeuvres like a Jassi Stamp on Jassi’s first anniversary, Satya Paul’s having a line of Jassi’s clothes, and leveraging Jassi through other serials like ‘Ye Meri Life Hai’ held the audiences.
Surely there is more to the serial than just a different storyline. Euro RSCG handles the promotion and advertising of Jassi. Suman Srivastava, Executive Director, Euro RSCG, says, “We have had special shows, plus we did the campaign when she became the CEO. We actually sent sweets to our media planners when she became the CEO. It was as if a member of our family had become the CEO ”.
However, while the initial marketing strategy paid off, in the last few months the TRP has somewhat stagnated. When Jassi started a year back, the TRPs were in the range of 4.03-4.99, and now, a year later, they are at 4.16-4.2. Albert Almeida, Senior Vice-president, Marketing and Communications, SET India, says, “We cannot correlate this (TRP) to just one show. The audience in the general entertainment category has shrunk because of cricket and the elections.”
There seem to be no plans of stretching the show and now the thrust is more on promoting new shows like ‘Indian Idols’. Says Almeida, “We certainly give all our shows a push but it depends on the cycle. Since ‘Indian Idols’ is in the launch cycle, the promotion is aggressive. Relatively Jassi is not getting the same push”. However, he is quick to add, “Innovative promotions for Jassi will continue.”
Even though Jassi managed to enthrall the younger generation, it was an uphill task to get the saas-bahus to change their loyalties. Srivastava agrees, “In single TV households it is difficult to capture all the viewers. Jassi has clicked with the younger audience better but not as much with the elders”.