Akshit Pushkarna

How Zepto created the meme that became the face of the company

Anant Rastogi, associate director - brand marketing, Zepto, discusses how the brand created the character and worked on making it go viral on different platforms.

Quick commerce app Zepto’s recently embarked on a social media campaign strategy that was created to target social media savvy audience.

The brand used a meme that went viral on social media platforms, in the third week of March. A random uncle ‘Sharma ji’ went viral on various social media platforms, with the catchphrase ‘Nahi milega’.

Zepto planned on launching the campaign before IPL because consumption generally increases for Zepto during the season. The marketing team wanted to make sure that the communication of getting unlimited free deliveries is clear with the campaign.

The influencer gained over 35k followers on Instagram over a short time period. He was also trending on Twitter for a brief time after celebrities tweeted about him. They wanted to know who this character was.

In a week’s time, the content posted by him on Instagram garnered 10 million impressions. Zepto then released three short ads featuring the character.

The brand’s approach, while creating the latest campaign, was quite different from what other players in the category have done previously, according to Anant Rastogi, associate director - brand marketing, Zepto.

Its marketing team envisioned creating a social media influencer from scratch. Rastogi explains that the campaign’s creative process began with the thought, “How do we bring a new Internet personality to life, make him go viral, give him a distinct personality, and then use him as a part of our ads?”

To create an Internet personality, the team collaborated with meme marketing agency Youngun. They collectively began the process of identifying the personality traits of this character.

After multiple rounds of deliberation, Zepto realised that a typical old Indian uncle would work perfectly in bringing forth the type of messaging they would want to convey through the campaign. “We commonly see a lot of old people being grumpy and giving their opinions on random stuff. The character is instantly relatable to a lot of folks and we felt confident about working on this,” Rastogi adds.

The profile (‘Uncle ji’) went live on Instagram on March 20. Rastogi says that the company identified Instagram to be the most suitable medium to host Uncle Ji's content. The content generated was around themes relatable to younger audiences. The team was also focused on developing the character's tagline ‘Nahi milega’ so that people would talk about it on Twitter as well.

“We understood that whatever content ‘Uncle ji’ puts out, is going to go viral only if it picks up on Twitter. We essentially got him to talk about all the things that you don’t get in life. His catchphrase and all the deals that he puts out, end with ‘Nahi milega’,” shares Rastogi.

After the content went live on Instagram, Zepto made sure that people with influence, talk about it on Twitter so that it picks up there too. The brand shares that ‘Uncle ji’ was trending at number six on Twitter for a couple of hours.

On Instagram, one reel on his page has hit over 12 million views. Rastogi shares that 80 percent of these views are coming from non followers. He further adds that his content has been shared more than 1.8 million times since the campaign was launched.

The brand determined that a majority of this content has been shared between people who don't follow 'Uncle Ji' or the app on social media platforms. Hence, it has also helped them reach more potential users.

The brand knew that any trend that starts on Twitter, gets a lot of engagement on other platforms, making the campaign more successful. “The ‘Uncle ji’ campaign has worked out really well for us. The deliberations on new commercials are ongoing. We are going to keep Uncle Ji's profile alive. We have some very interesting stuff that's lined up that will be out soon,” Rastogi adds.

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