Been on Facebook lately? If the answer is yes, then that chances of you having missed Mr. Sanjeev Shrivastava would be scant. He's a middle-aged uncle, a professor, a husband and... wait for it... a dancer!
This plump, 45-year old 'Dancing Uncle' shot to fame overnight as a video of him setting the stage on fire made swift rounds on social media. The video drew reactions in the thousands, probably lakhs, from awed netizens.
But it wasn't just individuals who took interest; brands were also maintaining a close watch as Shrivastava grabbed a sizeable chunk of social media limelight.
Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, the insurance company, was quick and also probably the first to rope in Shrivastava for their latest #LifeGoalsDone campaign. The brand released a video, #DancingUncle, shot in a living room (probably at Shrivastav's home). Only this time instead of 'Aapke Aajane Se', the hit Govinda number was replaced by Bajaj Allianz Life's new jingle 'Samjho Ho Gaya'. The 'Dancing Uncle' also shares the frame with the brand's messages addressed to 'participating policyholders'.
Well, it's not the first time that brands hitched a ride with overnight stars on a fame high; remember the 'wink girl' from the trailer for the Malayali movie 'Oru Adaar Love'?
Yes, Priya Varrier, the Malayali actor also became an overnight social media sensation with her wink and netizens couldn't stop sharing it. Then too brands were quick to cash in on Varrier's fame. Kellogg's rode the 'wink' buzz with a timely campaign. Varrier posted a picture of herself eating Pringles on social media which was accompanied by an ad copy.
afaqs! spoke with Chandramohan Mehra, CMO, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance, about the ad:-
"We got the video recorded specifically for the ad. It was recorded by Sanjeev himself and we wanted it to be as real and organic as possible. Here Shrivastava represents the policyholder who is dancing with joy when he got something extra. We tried to keep away from the concept of a hard sell," Mehra says.
Speaking on the life insurance brands swift action of roping in Shrivastava, Mehra says, "The idea is to cash in on the wave and to ensure that the communication is reached in an interesting manner. The shelf-life of any digital communication is short-lived. We saw it as an opportunity, there was a huge rise in the popularity of Shrivastava and the kind of response it was drawing on social media and WhatsApp. Anybody who has a smartphone surely has his video. In this, we saw an opportunity to communicate a special bonus in a manner that it would be untypical of a life insurance brand to do. It cuts through the clutter and engages the viewer. And I thought why not just ride this popularity and build a creative connect with Sanjeev's personality."
Mehra clarifies that the video with Shrivastava is not an individual ad. It is, in fact, related to the brand's previous ads with comedians Rahul Subramanian, Kumar Varun and YouTuber Sahil Khattar. "This has been happening over the last few months and we have been on digital in an aggressive manner. Shrivastava was a tactical opportunity for us; we can't build a brand in only one way. It is a holistic and continuous process," Mehra adds.
In his review of Bajaj Allianz's approach and the overall delivery of the ad, Nimesh Shah, from Windchimes Communications, tells afaqs! that such ads are tactical in nature and are created to make the most out of a 'viral phenomenon'.
"We live in the age of disposable content where brands are fighting to get their fair share of attention. Communication of this type is tactical in nature and is done simply to cash in a phenomenon that has gone viral. There is nothing strategic about it. However, Bajaj should be commended for acting swiftly and getting a video executed with Sanjeev, whose recent dance video at a wedding made him a social media star," says Shah.
"What this trend highlights is the ability of the brand to seize such tactical opportunities to maintain brand saliency in a customer's mind. Brands can, of course, make this stick with the users if it is done creatively, consistently and connected with a brand's service area," Shah adds.
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