Kolaveri Di Rage: Power of Viral Marketing

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 4166 , Published on 22 March 2012
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Hearing the word ‘Kolaveri’ rings a bell, doesn’t it? Well, it rings more than a bell, a drum, I should say, considering the impact it left on people. For those not sure what is being talked about let me give you a brief introduction, I’m referring to the song “Why This Kolaveri Di” from  the South Indian movie ‘Three’ which is a Tamglish song sung by actor Dhanush, directed by Aishwarya Rajinikanth Dhanush and composed by music director Anirudh Ravichander. This song came as a thunder and blew with itself the underestimated expectations of the marketers as well as those who disrepute the power of internet.

Kolavari Rage

The promoters themselves never imagined that this song would get 1.3 million views within a week of its official release and will be shared by more than 3 crore 97 lakh people on Facebook. This song went on to becoming the First Tamil Song to be played on National Music Channel “MTV” and was tweeted by various famous personalities, including biggies like  Amitabh Bachchan, Anand Mahindra, Shreya Ghoshal, Madhvan and many more. The sensation of Kolaveri Di continued by its subsequent versions that released post the success of the song. Two major hits were the Female version uploaded by Gigdad.com and the ‘Milk’ version sung by Sonu Nigams son Nivaan Nigam which embellished the prosperity of Kolaveri Di. These songs were sung with the same lyrics and in the same fashion keeping in mind the popularity of the original track. Along with these, there were various other local versions as well that kept pouring in as the popularity of the song gained momentum.

The fortune of Kolaveri depended on many factors. Some simply say that it became such an uproar as it is linked to Brand Rajinikanth (who in itself is considered an immortal and undefeatable entity) as it is sung by Rajinikanth's son-in-law Dhanush and directed by Rajnikanth's daughter Aishwarya. But on a serious note, it can be said that the songs simplicity and its catchy lyrics helped in making it a success. The song is mainly in English making it understandable worldwide and the fact that it is a heartbreak song attracts more attention to it from the younger generation. Moreover, the video of the song is much personalized and thus, it gives a soulful touch to the song. These, among various other factors, contributed towards proclaiming ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’ song a Youth Anthem.

The success story of Kolaveri Di gathered much attention from many marketing entities as well. The advertisers were curious to know that how the Kolaveri youtube video touched 4.5 million lives in a short span of one week as compared to what ‘RaOne’ couldn’t do even after spending 50 crores on publicity over a period of 6 months. It posed a question mark that how the Kolaveri fever spread across the nation and promoted itself among all sections and age groups of the economy. The answers to all these questions were common. It was what we call VIRAL MARKETING.

Viral Marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce an increase in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes. In other words, it can be said that Viral Marketing is a publicity technique in which a product is advertised by way of an already prevalent media and from that media the product awareness is enhanced by network effects of that media itself thus combining other media with itself. The Viral Marketing can also be spread by verbal means by creating an impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm.

In case of Kolaveri Di the song was released at the youtube portal from which it spread across other social networking internet sites like Facebook, Twitter etc. Ultimately, the news channels and print media started advertising the song and thus the movie ‘Three’. This was the viral effect which did the trick for Kolaveri Di. Other factors that acted as catalysts for such an achievement for the song were congruency, emotive strength, network-involvement ratio, and paired meme synergy, which were all present in the song. The song has an emotional appeal because of which it relates to the common human experience and thus targets the mass audience that includes the young population of the nation which constitutes about 35% of the total population. Anything which caters to the young tastes is bound to go viral. Moreover, because of its easy to sing lyrics, it was heard with rapt attention and became the seasonal song to cover up the tensions of a busy day. Kolaveri Di, thus, came with its user friendly lyrics and became viral.

The impacts of Kolaveri Di did not get restricted to just being a song. As the popularity of the song increasingly escalated, the song became more of a brand in itself. Every Indian who had  access to a television, radio or a newspaper knew about the song and had it stuck on his tongue. The fame of this Tamglish song was reaching its horizon and this opportunity was well captured by the marketers. They started locating different ways to  use the song to their own advantage. The multinational beverage company Coca Cola took advantage of the fact that the name of the song pronounced the same as ‘Cola’ and circulated flyers saying “Why This Cola Very ‘D’ ”, engraved inside a huge ‘D’ of Coca Cola bottles.

The Chennai police also used this song for encouraging people for safe driving. The word Kolaveri means murderous rage, so the Police campaigned it as ‘Why This Kolaveri?’ in respect of aggressive driving. Also, seeing the upcoming trend how could the fashion designers lag behind. There were lyrical T-shirts that came out flaunting Kolaveri lyrics and different images illustrating the star cast as well as the video of the song. As the song was identified as the youth anthem so the Kolaveri T-shirts were sold like hot cakes. Even the political parties took advantage of the popularity. The BJP has used the tune of kolaveri di for its Goa polls as well as planes to use it against the opposition party by altering the lyrics a little bit. Thus, all those organizations that could identify the panorama of Kolaveri’s fortune, benefited from it.

Therefore, it shall be fair to say that there are various lessons to be learned from the success story of  ‘Kolaveri Di’. It was a simple idea, captured right, that brought with itself various opportunities for different entities. All that was required was a little perspective and ability to recognize the potential. And, it is this ability that assisted the organizations to gain from someone else’s success and nurture their own revenues. Like them, we should also learn from this story and try to acknowledge the teachings that we can take away from this whole episode. The IIM’s are already planning to dedicate a session to ‘Kolaveri’ so why should we drop behind. We, as individuals and as entities, shall also seize this opportunity and extract whatever nectar we can out of it.

This article has been authored by Ankita Ojha from Bimtech.

Image: Ohmega1982 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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