Why are brands loving Dabbu Uncle's moves?

Marketers and brands leverage viral social media content to enhance audience engagement, say industry experts

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Oct 1, 2019 4:27 PM


Dancing uncle is back

When Google featured “Dabbu Uncle” in its “Be a showstopper #WithALittleHelp” campaign, Sanjeev Shrivastava aka Dancing Uncle caught the attention of social media users and the internet was again dancing on his moves.

A number of other brands have encashed Dancing Uncle’s popularity to reach their target audience and enhance audience engagement.

Viral content has always attracted eyeballs of brands and marketers. How do marketers and brands use such social media content for segmentation and leveraging reach?

Shourya Ray Chaudhuri, Managing Partner & Creative Head, Tonic Worldwide, says: “When brands latch on to trends and pop culture, they seem relevant to their audience. So the objective is mostly resonance and being top-of-mind.”

Deep Mehta, Co-Founder of Digichefs said there has been a debate on ‘Topical vs Evergreen’ content in social media for a long time now. With the organic reach nearly dead on most platforms, topical content can serve as a low hanging fruit for brands to get immediate attention and eyeballs.”

“The right hashtags and touching the right nerve can make or break a brand in today's world,” he added.

Mehta pointed out how some popular brands have efficiently used viral content to leverage their market. “Amul has been using topical content as their social strategy for ages now. Missing out on an opportunity to create possibly viral topical content can be counted as a big loophole in a brand’s online strategy,” he added.

Apart from Google campaigns, Dabbu Uncle has been part of marketing inititiatives of other brands like DSP Mutual Funds, Amazon India, Bajaj Allianz and others.

Dancing Uncle regained his popularity in a DSP Mutual Fund advertisement. DSP’s video campaign, featuring ‘Dancing Uncle’, traced back the life of the professor from Bhopal whose dance moves went viral on the internet some time back. The video campaign on “Dynamic Asset Allocation Funds (DAAFs)” has been winning hearts over the internet.

Abhik Sanyal, Head, Consumer Marketing, DSP Mutual Fund said, “Our DAAF video attempts to blend a much-loved and relatable YouTube personality - Dancing Uncle - with a truly relevant investing proposition - DAAFs. The bizarre mockumentary format allowed us to play with characters and a ‘is-it-really-true’ underdog story with the beautiful city of Bhopal providing an amazing backdrop for the film to really come to life. I hope this film at least brings a smile to anyone who watches it as they think of how they can #InvestForGood.”

According to Kumar Deb Sinha, Executive Vice President, The Story Lab, “Social videos can create overnight celebrities. Today Dabbu Uncle and Ranu Mondal are household names. Thanks to their original video going viral, they attract massive number of eyeballs on any new video featuring them.”

However, brands need to remember that such content comes with an expiry date, and one should have the flexibility to latch on the popularity of the creator when it is at its peak, not when the popularity is diminishing or it is not so relevant any more, Sinha cautioned. “This is real-time marketing at its best. If done well, what it does for the brand effectively is to reduce its promotional spend effectively for the campaign, as well as drive more conversations for the brand in the social space.”

On asking how brands make creatives latching onto popular culture to create waves among the audience, Sinha cited the example of how Pepsi and Boost associated themselves with the viral content of their times. “One of the best examples of this will be Pepsi associating with 87-year-old Charulata Patel for their swag campaign during this World Cup. It was the perfect timing as well as marriage with the brand ethos and the social influencer. Another example which comes to my mind is Boost creating a Sachin anthem with Kolaveri Di fame Dhanush and Anirudh, right after the success of Kolaveri Di and launching the video when the buzz for Sachin’s 100th century was at its peak. This was marrying two popular trends and one of the best examples of real time marketing by a brand.”

While this may be a trending format for brands to catch consumer attention, avoid making your brand handles seem like a feed of stock photos or product or service brochure and make content that readers can identify or relate with, said experts.

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