Ashee Sharma & Suraj Ramnath

Is KFC challenging Domino's through a Baba Sehgal rap?

In a new video, KFC positions its 'Chizza' as an alternative to pizza.

After a brief hiatus, it seems rapper Baba Sehgal is not just back in the limelight; he is making all efforts to steal it.

Recall that Sehgal, who was a rage in the rap circuit during the 90s, particularly for hits such as 'Thanda Thanda Paani' (a remake of "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice), and 'Manjula', recently appeared in campaigns for brands including Del Monte Fruit Juice, Tata Cliq and Perfetti Van Melle's confectionery brand Chupa Chups.

Is KFC challenging Domino's through a Baba Sehgal rap?
This time he is back, professing his love for the new 'KFC Chilli Chizza' in yet another rap song which goes, 'Chilli Chizza... I love my Chilli Chizza. Kya karoon, I have to say, Sorry Pizza!"

Chilli Chizza is KFC's latest addition to the Chizza range introduced last December. Known for its signature hot and crispy chicken, the QSR chain surprised loyalists by transforming its fillet into a Chizza - a Pizza with no crust, but chicken as the base.

The brand team tells afaqs! that the campaign was initiated by Sehgal. Impressed after trying the Chilli Chizza, he approached KFC with the idea which led to this digital-only initiative.

Is this the reason why the video doesn't have any KFC branding? How is the audience supposed to know where to find the Chilli Chizza? For now, it appears the campaign is for loyalists, fans and followers who know their Chizza well.

The video was released on Sehgal's YouTube channel. He further amplified it using his social media presence on Facebook and Twitter where the audience was asked to take the #ChizzaRapChallenge. As part of the challenge, they had to upload a short video of themselves rapping a couple of lines from the song while imitating Sehgal's signature step from it. He also dropped a hint on Twitter as a teaser to the campaign.

The video was later uploaded on KFC India's YouTube channel.

What's also interesting about the campaign is the fact that typically, it's the KFCs and McDonald's who battle it out over meal combos and more, like in this ad where actor and comic Mallika Dua promotes the KFC 5-in-one meal box.

Is KFC challenging Domino's through a Baba Sehgal rap?
Here however, the burger brand tries to take on a different kind of food altogether by positioning Chizza as an alternative to pizza (we are guessing Domino's). What's more... the lyrics say - 'isme no bread, you can eat it and go to bed' - perhaps subtly implying that 'pizza is unhealthy. Have a Chizza instead'. Well, we can only speculate if this was the brand's intention or a smitten fan, Sehgal, raving about the Chilli Chizza!

This is what experts had to say...

Nikita Khandelwal, senior manager brand strategy and development at World Wide Open, a Mumbai based digital agency from the stable of Reliance Entertainment, believes that while Baba Sehgal may not be appealing to this generation, the video has the potential to trend, albeit as a mockery.

"He's one of those people - you love him, you hate him, but you can't ignore him. And that's what KFC was looking at doing, grabbing attention using Baba Sehgal," she infers.

Is KFC challenging Domino's through a Baba Sehgal rap?
Is KFC challenging Domino's through a Baba Sehgal rap?
Like us, Khandelwal is also intrigued by the absence of KFC branding in the video. She hopes that the brand promoting it on its YouTube channel might help.

On the overt/covert reference to the junk nature of pizzas, she notes, "KFC fans surely don't mind junk and that is why they love it so much. But, with the whole world getting more conscious about health and diet, I do think it makes sense from a marketing perspective to use the health angle. The only catch is that the audience these days is smart and might see through it."

Dubbing it as an attempt to grab consumer attention on digital, Rohan Mehta, CEO, Social Kinnect, says, "Recently, we've seen the brand do some 'standout work'. The coming together of KFC and Baba Sehgal, who has become quite a social media weapon due to his quirky songs and music videos, does raise interest levels, but fails to do justice to the brand. The video production is more of Brand Baba Sehgal than Brand KFC. The product doesn't get much attention besides the lyrical rhyme."

Differing on the branding (or the absence of it) bit, he adds, "As a customer, it's obvious which brand this is for. The product could've got more of a spotlight though."

While he agrees that given the growing awareness about health and fitness, brands should highlight this aspect in their communication, Mehta is unsure if the video will help in registering the intended message in listeners' minds.

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