Ananya Pathak

'Trivago guy' resurfaces in Paytm ad

Abhinav Kumar a.k.a. the 'trivago guy' rides on his fame from previous endorsement in new Paytm spot.

When Abhinav Kumar made his first appearance in a commercial of the hotel price comparison website – trivago, in March 2017, netizens pinned his normal, everyday look as a bizarre fit for a model. His comical dialogue delivery added fuel to the raging fire of memes. However, with all the talks and mixed reactions, even when much of it was demeaning, the brand decided to use the face of its then country development head in a series of communications, and soon thereafter Kumar was tagged as the 'trivago guy'.

Even when Kumar moved on from trivago in February 2019 and later joined Paytm as vice president, product marketing, the change in his designation and company profile had little to do with his popularity as the face for his previous endorsement. Digital payments platform Paytm's latest communication – a minute and 22 second long film – featuring him, is proof of that.

As Kumar walks into a kirana store, the shop-owner and his wife, who later joins him, faintly recognise him... 'aapko to kahin dekha hai maine'. Popular for his "Kya kabhi aapne online hotel search kiya hai?, Kumar here is seen educating the store owner about Paytm's all in one QR code.

Over an email, Kumar tells us that modeling or appearing in ads has always been a fun activity at work for him. "It is good that I have a recall value from my older ads which can be used for a better explanation of the new products and launches," he says.

He adds, "I have always believed that employees are the best brand ambassadors for a company and a brand. They know more about the products and services offered by their company and are passionate about explaining and helping in delivering the right yet simple message without too many distractions. These gigs are done on a case to case basis and will depend on the products the company is selling and if I fit well in the presentation."

For a short stint, after trivago, Kumar took up the role of country manager-India at Bettzeit, an online bedding company. Reportedly, he is also on the advisory board of BookBySlot, an online platform to book hotel rooms on a slot basis and PaisaDukan, the India-based peer-to-peer lending marketplace. In a tweet by BookBySlot, Kumar was tagged as the 'trivago guy', long after he had moved on from the brand. In another tweet by the brand, Kumar was seen talking about it.

We asked Tarun Singh Chauhan, brand consultant from TSC consulting if Kumar's fame as 'trivago guy' works for Paytm as well? He says Kumar is a known face today and he is simply cashing in on that in the ad.

Tarun Singh Chauhan
Tarun Singh Chauhan

“Kumar is not a trivago model. He is just a model. trivago spent a lot of money on the campaign that featured him. That helped him gain popularity. Kumar is using that fame to his advantage now.” He is not sure if the ad in question will work, but thinks people will talk about it for sure.

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