Mumbai: Late on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, set the cat among the pigeons by announcing the government’s decision to abolish ₹ 500 and ₹ 1,000 notes, starting midnight.
The bold move created a buzz on social media as consumers took to Twitter and Facebook among other mediums to air their views. West Bengal chief minister and politician Mamata Banerjee was among those who voiced her concern over the “draconian decision", even as others congratulated the prime minister.
A majority, enjoyed a good laugh, as jokes and memes circulated on the internet. According to data from the microblogging site, over 4,70,000 tweets about the subject were tweeted over a 12-hour-period, starting at 8pm on Tuesday.
The volume of tweets on the subject, peaked at about 11.30pm on Tuesday, with 2,000 tweets per minute. The volume of tweets around the announcement was fairly large for a period of 12 hours.
In the past, Twitter data collected over a similar 12-hour period showed that the Union budget recorded 190,000 tweets. While Narendra Modi’s interview with journalist Arnab Goswami, or #PMSpeaksToArnab recorded 250,000 tweets.
The announcement also served up the perfect opportunity for some brands which moved quickly to reach out to their audiences.
Also read: Scrapping of Rs500, Rs1,000 currency notes was in the works in secret for 6 months
Paytm, the mobile payment platform brand for instance, quickly put out a tongue-in-cheek tweet, “We have got two words for you: Paytm Karo" the tweet was re-tweeted 5,300 times. Others such as retail chain Big Bazaar, said it would accept the ₹ 500 / ₹ 1,000 notes till midnight to help consumers grab essentials. Restaurant chain, Social, asked consumers to put the banned currency notes to good use by purchasing shots before midnight. Blue Stone jewellery brand, sent out messages to customers saying it was extending its store timings to ensure consumers could buy gold coins till midnight.
“In the digital economy, real time is absolutely critical. An amazing example of the same is Oreo’s ‘Dunk in the Dark’ ad during the power outage in USA. We have worked with brands wherein we have kept multiple creatives ready based on the possible outcomes. I believe if brands can respond meaningfully in real time to the context – whether it is USA elections or demonetization, brands can receive superior return on investment from their media," said Vivek Bhargava, chief executive officer, iProspect India, a digital agency from the Dentsu Aegis Network.
Also read: Narendra Modi: The risk taker
“There is always a good side and a bad side to sudden gigantic strides. Last night was no different. And it had to be done exactly like it happened. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any effect," said Prathap Suthan, managing partner and chief creative officer, at the agency Bang in the Middle, explaining that it was a move that fit in beautifully with the overall digital future of money. “It was almost like giving them and handing them out an open cheque book to cash at will. While many businesses would have to bite hard at the impact of the demonetization, the businesses that ride on the absence of physical money are partying. And yesterday’s tweets from both the brand PayTm and Vijay Shekhar were so much an expression of their happiness and confidence," he said.