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Views | Kolaveri lessons for marketers

Views | Kolaveri lessons for marketers
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First Published: Wed, Nov 23 2011. 05 31 PM IST

Tamil film actor Dhanush
Tamil film actor Dhanush
Updated: Wed, Nov 23 2011. 05 31 PM IST
Marketers must by now be wondering how they can do a Kolaveri - giving their products a massive push with minimal spending.
For those who came in late: Tamil film actor Dhanush, while trying to kill time on the sets of his upcoming movie “3”, wrote the inane lyrics of Kolaveri Di, about a boy asking his girl why she is angry. The making of this song, which is also sung by the same amateur lyricist, managed to get close to 1.8 million views within days of its release online. Kolaveri is now the No. 1 trending word on Twitter in India and also remains the most searched video on Youtube. Around 7 lakh people have shared it on Facebook already, free publicity for the movie before its release.
Tamil film actor Dhanush
At first glance it is hard to understand why this song has become so popular. Its lyrics start “’Yo boyz, I am singing song... Soup song... Flop song”. But there it all comes together in a rather charming way.
Marketers, meanwhile, might be wondering how to go the Kolaveri way. Brent Coker, a marketing professor at the University of Melbourne, wrote about this in November. He says there are four elements that need to be in place for a branded movie to go viral: congruency, emotive strength, network-involvement ratio, and paired meme synergy. These four are the basis of the branded viral movie predictor (BVMP) algorithm. Coker has a more detailed explanation on his blog on “what makes a 30-second film go viral.
First, videos which are congruent to our existing notion about the brand are met with approval. In the case of Kolaveri, Dhanush, who is known for his boy next door image in his films, has sung the song with innocence, along with his co-star Shruti Haasan, with no makeup. The very simplicity works.
Second, videos with strong emotional appeal tend to do better than others. This was easier for Kolaveri: it tries to describe heartbreak, a very human experience.
Third, videos which make more people relate to it work better. In this case, the lyrics of Kolaveri consist of trendy words which fit into the youth lingo of today.
Fourth, according Coker, videos tend to go viral only if they have the right combination of what are called Internet memes. In this case the meme cutsie wootsie, which refers to making nonsensical phrases out of certain words, to make them sound musical in combination with other memes such as Impromptu and Simulation Trigger might have done the trick. A simulation trigger is when viewers share the same ideals with the people in the video and imagine themselves to be associated with them.
Of course, there is another theory doing the rounds: It all happened because Rajnikanth wanted it to. He is Dhanush’s father-in-law.
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First Published: Wed, Nov 23 2011. 05 31 PM IST
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