Twitter declared 2014 as the year of the selfie, after celebrity Ellen DeGeneres' Oscar selfie was retweeted more than three million times. This year, the focus has moved to videos, with mobile app Dubsmash spearheading the trend of what is being touted as a 'velfie' or the video selfie.
Dubsmash is essentially a lip-syncing app, available on Android and iOS, which allows smartphone users to create selfie videos with famous movie dialogues, quotes and songs. A user can also create his/her own sounds for dubbing. With a staggering 50 million downloads on Android, the app has become a rage, especially among young users.
After selecting an audio clip, users record their own video to play with the sound they have chosen and can then share the clip they have created via WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and text message. The app was created by a small team of German developers - Jonas Druppel, Roland Grenke and Daniel Taschik - and launched in November last year.
Dubsmash videos and its shareability feature have attracted the attention of brands which have used the app's popularity to engage with consumers.
Wendy's, the US-based burger chain that debuted in India this May, recently executed a Dubsmash campaign titled 'Smashup'. The idea was to position the brand as a warm and friendly neighborhood restaurant and targetted millennial consumers. Wendy's tied in popular movie dialogues/lyrics with its hero products in order to establish a strong connect with the audience - its Greek mutton specialty was tied in with "This is Spartaaaa," a popular dialogue from movie '300' and to promote the Banana Caramel Frosty, the famous Minion Banana song was used. People were asked to send in their velfies and the ones with the most number of likes got awarded a 'meal for two' at Wendy's. The restaurant claims to have engaged more than 86,000 users through this activity.
"I strongly believe that with more options like Dubsmash coming up, due to increasing smartphone penetration, there are many interesting ways to market one's products. One does not have to resort to traditional mediums every time. From a food brand perspective, to explain my products to the consumers, video and new digital mediums work really well. Digital medium helps brands to target their consumers better and more creatively than a traditional medium like television," she explains.
Tripti Lochan, CEO, VML, the agency behind Wendy's Dubsmash campaign, believes that while Dubsmash is a DIY app for consumers, when a brand embarks on a campaign with it, there has to be a strategy behind it. The agency curated the Dubsmash clips talking about Wendy's products and brand, while engaging consumers on the social channels.
While Wendy's tried 'glocalisation' to connect with consumers, Kingfisher, a brand associated with good times, used Dubsmash to strengthen consumer connect using its popular jingle.
"#KFDubsmash was an initiative that aimed at maximising the visibility of the Kingfisher jingle through an engaging activity that put the power of communication into the hands of the consumer, by leveraging the power of the platform," notes Samar Singh Sheikhawat, senior vice president, marketing, United Breweries.
Sheikhawat believes that video is 'now' and Dubsmash can become an engaging platform for brands, if used smartly. With a number of platforms serving video content, from YouTube to WhatsApp to Dubsmash, the amount of time spent on video is increasing every day, which also poses a challenge for brands to get noticed and stand out.
For the record, the #KFDubsmash activity was primarily targetted at the Twitter and smartphone community. While a number of consumers participated in the activity, a few brands like Ola and Park Avenue, along with SMBs, also created #KFDubsmash videos, featuring their own brands to create buzz on social media.
The activity received over 200 unique user entries, the hashtag reached out to over three million users and received over 50K mentions on Twitter alone. On Facebook, the campaign reached over 2.3 million people with the final compilation video of the best #KFDubsmashes generating over 0.35 million views.
"Our role was to facilitate participation by initially creating & promoting a set of #KFDubsmash entries that set the tone for the activity. Post the initial content creation, the focus for our team was to engage and reach out to the right set of people who are vocal on social media," he states.
Meanwhile, INOX, a multi-screen cinema chain, used Dubsmash to promote the Salman Khan-starrer 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', urging viewers to participate in a special contest in which they had to create dubs using Khan's movie dialogues. The activity, targetted at 25-30-year-olds, received hundreds of entries.
Harshvardhan Gangurde, vice president, marketing, INOX Leisure, says that since Dubsmash is more or less about lip-syncing popular dialogues from films, it is a strong marketing tool for the company. For other categories, he feels, it might be difficult to work around it.
"With increasing adoption of smartphones, consumers like to shoot, click and share the captures. This is also one of the reasons that platforms like WhatsApp and Dubsmash are becoming popular. However, unlike WhatsApp, the consumer base for Dubsmash tends to be younger," he comments.
"This, inherently, is its strength. The content created can then be shared across, which gives brands another opportunity to reach out to a wider base and capture lots of earned media," he notes.
Kumar also highlights that some brands may be worried about copyright issues because of use of the music. "But I guess they do have an option to take down the Dubsmash if reported," he adds.
"Brands will eventually want users to create dubs with their audio content for which they have license to use. Like creating lip-sync Dubsmash for an interesting ad or content created by them, encouraging users to submit their own dubs of featured songs," he says.
Ruing that there has not been a noteworthy Dubsmash campaign in India, so far, Kumar is hopeful that owing to the high engagement, it will become essential that brands start using the app as a tool to reach out to consumers.