Aishwarya Ramesh

Netflix’s Ranbir Kapoor ad assures viewers it’ll ‘wait’ for them till IPL is over

Titled ‘What a Shot’, the ad features the Bollywood star being appreciated for his acting… or is he?

Streaming giant Netflix’s latest ad features Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor being ignored. The 30-second-long film, titled ‘What a Shot’, shows Kapoor addressing the camera.

He talks about the array of content on Netflix, emphasising that there’s something for everyone on the streaming platform. He then realises that there is nobody paying attention to his dialogue delivery – since everyone’s busy watching an Indian Premier League (IPL) match on their phones.

Kapoor casually tells the viewers that he’ll meet them once the IPL is over. Directly, this is Netflix’s way of acknowledging just how cricket-crazy India is. Netflix has been using its social platforms to post various creatives – normally around the time an IPL match is about to begin, letting the users know that it’ll miss them.

Netflix has also posted mood-based creatives – recommending comedy movies when the users might be sad over their favourite teams losing.

Sambit Mohanty, head of creative, South – McCann Worldgroup, says that the ad is slickly made. It clearly acknowledges India's obsession with cricket.

“I think this is a classic instance of moment marketing. Netflix is letting its Indian viewers know that it understands them. Understands what 'cricket' means to Indians and while it'll miss them, it'll also patiently wait for them to return to the platform for all entertainment – except cricket, of course.”

Sambit Mohanty
Sambit Mohanty

Kapoor is a face typically associated with Bollywood unlike, say, Pankaj Tripathi, who is well-known for his roles on OTT shows and movies. However, according to Mohanty, Kapoor, as an endorser, works well because of his star power and charisma.

“He's merely playing himself – a top Bollywood hero – plugging a brand (Netflix), only to be caught and bowled by cricket! That tip of the hat to IPL is quite nice.”

Aalap Desai, national creative director, dentsu mcgarrybowen India, opines that if the starting point of a campaign is interesting, whatever comes out of it will always be something worth watching. This is one such campaign.

“The ad is well-executed, and you get to know about the product offering with a cheeky twist. Ranbir not being paid attention to is fresh, and that’s the best part of the film. He talks about the content, and then no one pays attention to him. Product bhi bik gaya and ad clutter-breaking bhi ho gaya. Uss se zyada kya chahiye? I love it.”

Aalap Desai
Aalap Desai

Desai points out that the viewers are not going to skip cricket for content simply because it is appointment-viewing. Netflix’s content can be viewed at any time.

“It works beautifully for me because it stays with you as a reminder after the match. That’s when the choice between other OTT platforms and their temptations kicks in. This ad ensures Netflix being in the consideration set when the viewer comes back to choosing content.”

“While most brands are trying to join forces with cricket to ride the bandwagon, I think Netflix accepting that it will lose to it is brilliant. Accepting defeat, in this case, is what makes it (Netflix) the winner for me.”

Desai adds that Kapoor gets your attention, and because he is a star associated with big budget films, the choice is fresh. He mentions that using him and wasting him has its impact. “In my opinion, the bigger the star, the bigger the impact would be for this kind of idea.”

Carlton D'Silva, co-founder, House of Awe (a specialist entertainment publicity studio that offers design and digital services), says ‘well played Netflix’ upon viewing the ad and the social media content.

“I thought the execution of the ad was alright. The social media content, though, was smart and I especially loved the engagement on Twitter... I would love to see more of that.”

He calls it a smart ad and mentions that a lot of brands do have IPL plans, but for a streaming channel to come to terms with its audiences moving to another channel publicly, is bold and yet a bit tongue in cheek.

Carlton D'Silva
Carlton D'Silva

“The fact that it (Netflix) is willingly stating that it is going to miss its audiences during the IPL, but will see them back after the game, is the kicker. It is very simply, yet intelligently done.”

Commenting on Kapoor’s presence in the ad, D’Silva states that the use of the celeb is a show of intent on the part of Netflix.

“Apart from the obvious fact of a greater reach, the intent is to show how serious Netflix is in this (Indian) market when it comes to producing good content... And, let's be real here... From all the superstars out there, Ranbir is probably the best male actor we have...”

Chraneeta Mann, co-founder of The Mob feels that it's a well shot ad and subtly underplayed as one would expect from Ranbir Kapoor. She points out that there is also chatter about the ad film being a precursor to a show that will soon be streaming on Netflix that features him. “There seem to be comments like 'suggest something good to watch' as well as the campaign hashtag of #SeeYouSoon that also suggest there's something in store.”

Chraneeta Mann
Chraneeta Mann

She opines that the social media strategy of connecting to the viewers and telling them you're too caught up in the IPL is relevant for sure, since Netflix does share its target audience with avid IPL watchers, says she wouldn't really go so far as to say its offbeat.

"It's a fairly expected tack for a content streaming site to take at a topical point like the IPL, as is the strategy to take movie dialogues to put the point across. The slightly media reticent persona of Ranbir is always a plus point. Any sort of activity does tend to get fans to stand up and take notice. Especially fans that have pretty much exhausted the content on these platforms recently - they just need a little prodding about something new on the platform to get the chatter going."

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