While the brand integration received negative reactions on social media, it received the much-desired attention as well.
Shark Tank India’s first season came to an end on Friday (February 4). While we will miss the pitches, the entrepreneurial spirit and the competitive banter of the sharks, there’s something else that we will equally miss- the memes on the show. They have kept us laughing long after the episodes were over and even those who don’t watch the show could relate to it.
Amongst the memes, one that was most popular was the one poking fun at the brand integration of UpGrad in the show. After every contestant came out of the tank, they would be greeted by the host Rannvijay Singha, who would offer them an upskilling course on the ed-tech platform. While it is a great platform for promoting its courses, the fact that it was repetitive and often irrelevant made it a butt of all jokes.
Singha also become a subject of these jokes as he was only seen promoting sponsored content.
Despite the negative comments, it can’t be denied that the brand received ample attention and not just on television but also on social media. Shripad Kulkarni, marcom advisor for Challenger brands, says social media reaction is important, more so for a brand like UpGrad because they are a digital first brand. Moreover, he believes any visibility is good visibility.
Dinesh Rathore, Madison said that if people are talking about it they have noticed it and it has worked. “It is not necessary that everything you do will always get positive reactions. As long as there are more positives than negatives, it is a successful brand integration,” he said.
But how do these memes poking fun at the integration impact the brand? According to Kulkarni, it is hardly negative. “Their core audience wouldn’t be bothered about these comments. There's nothing bad about such a thing. It is not really going to harm them. Anyway these comments don’t last too long and die within two days,” he said.
Rathore also agrees that as long as it is creating conversation it is good. “I'm a great believer of branded content. As long as there is conversation happening, it's good for the brand. You cannot control the conversation. All conversations will never be positive. And brands can learn something even from negative conversations,” he said.
However, Kulkarni also feels that the brand could be more imaginative with their offering.
“You don't have to always offer your product or service as a reward. All manufacturers are obsessed with offering it and that is a classic blunder people do. They are offering a prize to build engagement, to get visibility, to build trust and not necessarily to showcase the product, especially if it is not in sync with the ‘win’. For example, they can give an additional funding offer based on a viewer poll. ” he added.
Rathore suggests that the brand could have customised its offering based on the needs and preferences of the contestant. “Rather than just pushing its product they should have come up with relevant courses based on the contestants' experience. It should have made its offering relevant and useful. The reactions wouldn't be so negative then,” he said.