Namah Chawla

Will Dream11-Khaby Lame collab provide a new dimension to Indian influencer marketing?

There will be more cross-border collaborations between content creators and brands now, feel experts.

Fantasy sports platform Dream11 recently collaborated with Italy-based social media influencer Khaby Lame. It is a part of Dream11’s Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 campaign, titled #Dream11PeDimaagLagaNa.

Lame is famous across the globe for his short wordless comedy clips. He rose to popularity on TikTok, and is now the second most followed TikToker in the world, with over 110 million followers. He also has over 46 million followers on Instagram.

Created by White Rivers Media, the video begins with Indian digital creator Viraj Ghelani talking about an unnecessarily complicated way of consuming French fries. Lame then shows how it should be simply done and reiterates the brand’s message - to use its intellectual might for picking a Dream11 team, and not for complicating simple tasks.

It is Lame’s first collaboration with an Indian brand and, as per media reports, he was paid a whopping Rs 2 crore for it.

Speaking to afaqs!, Shrenik Gandhi, co-founder and CEO, White Rivers Media, says, “Khaby Lame is a man of simplicity, who tries to uncomplicate things. This influencer tie-up is built on that. The basic premise of the brand is also to simply use your brain and it has used the tagline ‘Dimaag lagana hai to Dream11 par lagao’ for quite some time now. That is why they complemented each other seamlessly.”

Gandhi mentions that the challenge for any brand campaign these (IPL) days is to stand out. Hence, the team wanted to do something different to reach out to the audiences and cut through the clutter.

Talking about how this tie-up will impact the Indian influencer marketing landscape, Gandhi states, “Influencer marketing is already changing and, going forward, the top brands will like to collaborate with not only Khaby, but other internationally well-known influencers too.”

On whether the cost of getting an international influencer justifies the returns generated by the campaign, Gandhi mentions, “I believe that content is king and the entire campaign depends on it. If you look at the campaign, then 60 per cent of the video does not have any music. The brand has to adapt to the influencer, and the same is true otherwise as well, for a successful collab.”

"The brand and the influencer have their own unique audience. Both have to respect each other and create something together for it to be truly ahead of the game."

afaqs! also reached out to industry experts to know their opinion about this campaign. Manesh Swamy, senior VP - creative, social, PR, marcom, Logicserve Digital, feels that Ghelani was a good choice to play Lame’s counterpart. The latter plays on the no-brainer part quite well with his content.

“The talent cost is a bomb! But Khaby is a big name and very popular on TikTok and Instagram globally. If the influencer helps you drive the message or sell a proposition, it’s a gamble the brand takes. And, I guess, it paid off. At least in this case, they managed to create the right buzz. I am sure this content piece performed better, or equal to their star-studded campaigns,” adds Swamy.

Explaining the merits of investing in global talent, Rohit Kumar MS, co-founder-partner, Zensciences, says, “The costs of celebrity and influencer endorsements in a global marketplace are obviously far higher than what Indian marketers may be used to. However, that really should be seen as investing in a global marketplace and enabling a very high reach and engagement. I am waiting to see which Indian brand now goes to the Super Bowl and similar events.”

Archit Agarwal, digital specialist at The Mavericks, hopes for more cross-border collaborations between content creators and brands. He says that Instagram's 'creator program' that brings together global and Indian content creators periodically, is a great example of this.

According to Agarwal, the focus should always be on the message, than the cost. “It seems that Dream11 went with the same approach. It wanted to build the concept, fit the message, and then tried to identify the creator to collaborate with. Given the content created here and the wide net it casts from a brand awareness point of view, the cost is fair,” he signs off.

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