Discovery has ended the year with a bang. Their two recent projects on discovery+ were Into the Wild with Ajay Devgn and Vicky Kaushal followed by Say Yes to The Dress India
For Say yes to the Dress India, they collaborated with Badshah, PayalDev and Punit J Pathak to compose ‘wedding song of the year’ named Sajna. The song crossed 12 Million views (Currently 18 M views) on YouTube in merely 5 days. Moreover, it has been trending across social media ruling radio waves as well with 2.5 Million audio streams.Over and above, they partnered with established personalities for a reel challenge which organically led to celebrities showering love on the track etc.
In an exclusive chat with MediaNews4U, Azmat Jagmag, MarCom Head – Linear & OTT, Discovery Inc speaks to us on the shows, innovative marketing initiatives, John Abraham as brand ambassador for Eurosport and much more.
The year has been very eventful for Discovery, can you talk about it?
I couldn’t agree more! As a network with brands across genres and different PLCs, not only has this year been eventful but a very impactful year for us at Discovery. We continue to make strides be it the broadcast or the DTC business and we firmly believe that Discovery is a brand that truly resonates in this highly cluttered and competitive landscape. Testament to this has been the exponential growth of both our line of businesses across parameters like ratings revenues, acquisitions and engagement rate.
On the DTC side of the business, this year we strengthened our brand proposition of Family. Facts. Fun, and had some of the most innovative and disruptive marketing across each of our campaigns. We have been flooded with responses from viewers and fraternity alike that discovery+ has taken them by surprise this year. And we only hope to transition from surprise to delight as we go along.
Innovation and disruption as themes resonated across our broadcast business as well. In a country and genre that is ruled by cricket, for Eurosport we onboarded John Abraham as a brand ambassador for MotoGP, which I must say was a bold and ambitious move by us. Dkid’s iconic and pioneering IP, Little Singham continued to grow from strength to strength, and interestingly 2021 allowed us to finally bring back deep on-ground engagements besides digital and mass promotions.
Our flagship channel, Discovery spearheaded #IndiaGetsReal campaign that unequivocally established the fact infotainment as a genre is ahead of English movies and GEC, and Discovery leads the pack on that front.
And of course, for us at Discovery, CSR continues to be an always on, meaningful and sustained effort with our initiatives like Project C.A.T. and World Environment Day. Project C.A.T. supports Discovery’s global effort to double the wild tiger population by 2022. Our teams braved the odds to install nylon-net tiger fences in the 24 Parganas Forest Division in Sundarbans. The fencing prevents tigers from straying into villages close to the forest. To boost tiger protection efforts in the Sundarbans, we have deployed a speed boat and a floating camp. This is who we are, and no matter how eventful or challenging the year, this is something that we would never drop the ball on!
For all the work we do, it is also encouraging to be recognized at esteemed platforms and awards, and this year has brought us many accolades too.
Bear Gryll show with Ajay Devgn and Vicky Kaushal, how was the marketing campaign devised for the two superstars
Into The Wild with Bear Grylls today is a brand that cuts across the conventional “genre” definitions and has become a part of pop culture. After iconic guests like PM Modi, Rajnikanth and Akshay Kumar, the bar had been set really high. Even this year Into The Wild With Bear Grylls continued to rule the roost be it on linear or discovery+, driving significant eyeballs and acquisitions across platforms.
‘Yeh Koi Khel Nahi hai bro’ a 360-degree media campaign crafted for Into the Wild with Bear Grylls and Ajay Devgn had the right mix of innovations backed by a very strong digital leg, which was supported by an impactful traditional strategy to ensure strong recall for the show.
From legendary cricketers to comedians, influential personalities like Virendra Sehwag, Yuzvendra Chahal amongst other social and film influencers were tapped to generate buzz on social media. Drawing parallels from the show, motion digital billboards were put up in parts of Mumbai with sounds of thunder, lightning, and waves of the Indian Ocean. Lastly, there were Into the Wild installations at the busiest promenades of the city i.e., Bandstand and Juhu beach to create talk-ability around the show. The episode with Ajay Devgn set a record for being the No. 1 franchise in the infotainment genre in 2021.
Close on the heels to that, we released Into the Wild with Bear Grylls and Vicky Kaushal in November, where we played on the famous ‘Josh’ terminology that is synonymous to Vicky Kaushal. To engage the audience, we crafted a campaign line – ‘The Josh is at an all-time high’ that was relatable and catchy to promote across multiple platforms. To get more insights on his experience, we organised an IG live for Vicky Kaushal and Bear Grylls with Janice Sequeira, where they spoke about his experience of shooting ‘Into the Wild’. Moreover, industry’s well known actor Varun Dhawan and also Vicky’s very good friend, reacted to the trailer of the show on his Instagram that bloomed into a fun banter between the two. Lastly, playing on topicality factor, we were quick to jump on the bandwagon right before Vicky’s marriage through smart content seeding and later by wishing him on social media as there is a section in the show where he spoke about his future wife and his expectations from her.
Customised innovations served as the secret sauce to everything we did on the marketing front this year, including the marketing of our breakthrough hit this year “Secrets of Sinauli”. This discovery+ original continues to win hearts, rave reviews and accolades. As a part of social media promotions for another show, Secrets of Sinauli, we created an Instagram filter for the audience where they could use the Filter and respond to the questions from the show making it interactive and engaging for consumers.
The concept of ‘Say Yes Dress to India’ can you elaborate on it?
Released on 8th December 2021, Say Yes to the Dress India celebrates brides from different walks of life as top-notch fashion designers of the country help them choose and curate their dream wedding dress. The international franchise brought country’s ace fashion designers like Abhinav Mishra, Sandeep Khosla, Abu Jani, Neeta Lulla, Varun Bahl, Rahul Mishra, AnjuModi, SeemaGujral, Zara Umrigar and Natasha Dalal amongst others under one roof. The eight-part series uncovers the fascinating tales of brides from diverse cultures with different tastes who are in search of the most important dress they will ever wear.
The special wedding song and your collaboration with Badshah, Payal Dev and Punit J Pathak, idea, and concept behind it? What made you do the Reel challenge for this show?
Say Yes to the Dress is a popular international franchise that we were bringing to India. However, we were also cognisant of the fact that to launch the same it was imperative for us to have a breakthrough launch strategy. We had two clear business challenges to look into– first that discovery+’ association with lifestyle content is still in nascent stage and second, marriage-themed content is available in plenty in India.
We knew we had to find that one inflection point! And that came from two very important points, that India is the land of rich culture and traditions and India’s love and that obsession with Bollywood style singing and dancing is unparalleled. Our research showed that there cannot be a better melting pot of the above two, than the Great Indian Wedding itself.
Drawing on this socio-cultural insight, we collaborated with India’s No 1 pop star Badshah to create the wedding song of the season for the launch of Say Yes to the Dress India. Through this promotional video ‘Sajna’, our ambition was to warm the audiences’ heart to the show, and make it stand out amongst a sea of wedding-based fiction and non-fiction shows in India.
The response to the just-released song has been truly overwhelming with the song going viral in a matter of days after its release. As we speak, there are over 250k Insta reels, 50 MN+ YT view, and millions of audio streams already. In all humility, we have got genuine love on the song from major Bollywood, TV and Social celebrities and it’s growing by the day.
The song has been No. 1 on radio airchecks (after devotional music) for two weeks in a row, which is a truly commendable feat for a non-music label. The early signs on SYTTD are very promising and the show is definitely managing to break clutter in a celeb-led genre.
How has Discovery conceptualized an out-of-the-box marketing initiatives for its shows, please elaborate?
The two defining tent poles for any marketing strategy we devise are – Consumer insight & Creative leap. What I love to refer to as “From Logic To Magic”, the mediums, messaging and amplification are all basis these two. Focussing on the insight and creative leap ensures that no matter how similar the media mix may look, the strategic thought behind each campaign is always unique and differentiated.
What will we see in 2022 from Discovery?
At Discovery India, it is exciting times indeed. On one hand, we have a powerful legacy brand Discovery that has strongly resonated with the viewers through decades, and at the same time, we are also building the new age dynamic brand discovery+, which in a short span has managed to strike the right chord with viewers throughs it stellar content, and strong brand building. Our constant endeavour has been to strengthen the brand & its reach. Leveraging multiple connected devices, driving new age media usage, innovation, and consumer engagement are going to be key building blocks to the above goal.
How much of marketing today is on digital platforms as compared to traditional platforms?
Like I mentioned above there is no set template at Discovery for deciding on medium wise spends. We are firm believers of the fact that spendingdepends and gets defined by the concept, the TG, the messaging, and the objective. Just as an example, this year at discovery+, we have had a campaign which was led by a mix of devotional channels, while we also had a campaign that operated purely with social influencers. I must share with you that both served the objective for which they were designed for.
How different is it to market a Television show as compared to marketing OTT?
There is no difference at all. That you still keep the viewer as the centre for both is the foundational similarity, your insights and creative leap are still based on consumer truths and content promise.
However, the one true distinction which kicks in on the analytics front – TV shows have a longer lead time when it comes to performance reporting, while on OTT the reporting is more real time This interestingly also comes with its own set of pros and cons. The pro being you can pivot the campaign faster if need be. The con is that sometimes the reaction could be knee jerk, and the true trial by fire is to know when to pivot and when to stay the course.
You recently got on board John Abraham as brand Ambassador for Eurosport, the strategy behind this?
Eurosport as a brand stands for plurality of sports. And while we are absolutely aware of the rage that cricket is in our country, through Eurosport our endeavour is to fuel sports that may not have a similar limelight. We believe that every sport has its audience. We want to build passionate communities from different sports genres.
For a fledgling sports brand like us it was a huge bet to onboard John Abraham as a brand ambassador for MotoGP and through this partnership, we aimed to expand motorsports across the length and breadth of the country, also fuelling more conversations around the thrill and competitiveness of the sport. Interestingly, the John Abraham campaign for MotoGP added millions of new viewers to Eurosports. Besides MotoGP we are betting big on AEW which is getting us great traction.We were also the official telecast partners of Paralympics in India and in spite of it being a niche offering we saw a massive rise in viewership and earned media
Little Singham a homegrown IP, and also the international IP’s how have your audiences received it?
Just like the rest of the network, it has been an eventful year for Discovery Kids as well. We have already crossed 4 million YouTube subscribers and are seeing growing preference and recall for our IPs. The success and impact of our on-ground and direct engagement activities, contests etc are also helping us gain preference. One of our most popular IPs, Little Singham has always been a constant fan favourite and is growing exponentially by playing its magic on kids.
Discovery Kids for the first time launched a 360-degree, multi-platform campaign ‘Pop, Lick, Rock and Roll’ continuing its association with Hershey India. It certainly set a new milestone in content partnership for the brand. Our aim is to keep building all our IPs including Fukrey Boys, Sheikh Chilli and Friends in 2022 as well. We are buoyed by the performance of our impactful strategic marketing initiatives in this category and will continue to build our marketing initiatives through kids’ influencers, school connect programs etc along with mass mediums like TV and digital.