Digital Media, Pop Culture and why it’s the best time to be in Marketing!

It’s crazy how quickly we pick up things and make it a part of our lingo, and sometimes our lives. Take the ‘mauka mauka’ commercials for example. We cannot watch a cricket match without them.  They’re hilarious. I can’t write this without humming ‘mauka mauka’ and I bet neither can you read this is without humming ‘mauka mauka’. Stupid isn’t it? We enjoy it nevertheless.

I haven’t spent a single Holi without someone asking the following question and acting like Gabbar Singh. You know what I’m talking about.  “Holi kab hai? Kab hai Holi?” Though, most people miss out on the distinctive daaku style guffaw at the end of it. They shouldn’t. It’s a nice touch, trust me.

There was a time and there will be a time when people would shed all their sophistication and dance Gangnam Style every time they play that song at clubs (Seriously? You dance Gangnam Style? *snorts*). We also did the Harlem shake back when it was popular. Hummed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” and tweeted furiously arguing that the dress was white and gold. Pfft. I know I did.

We also played our part in the Modi wave. Unlike a lot Gujarati uncles (read my relatives) I didn’t go as far as sporting a T-shirt that read “I’m MODIfied”. Though, I did enjoy those ‘Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar’ jokes. I’m sure you forwarded many, authored a few. I know I did.

I flipped when my dad sent me an Alok Nath joke (If he was in a Colgate commercial he’d probably go around asking, “Kya aapke toothpaste mein sanskaar hai?”) Social media loves him. And they also love Kejriwal. You must have seen #YoKejriwalSoHonest doing rounds on twitter.

Thanks to AIB we all have at least once in our lifetime made an Alia Bhatt joke. Those far west, you’ve absolutely made a Sarah Palin joke, don’t you lie. I know I did.

We’ve also seen Miley Cyrus twerk, it was weird, and yet we loved it. I know I …err.

The point I’m trying to make is that Social Media is great. It’s blurring the boundaries between what’s virtual and what’s real. The two worlds are converging and brands have started to pay due notice. I absolutely love social media. Except the time when I told my typical gujarati mom that I basically Facebook for a living. She had a hard time understanding where she went wrong in raising me. (Flashback: I worked as a social media manager, before making it to IIM Shillong. Its guys like us who come up with hashtags like #Mufflerman and get paid for it. It’s a respectable profession, OK?)

Social Media has put the power in the hands of the brands (I mean ‘people’, did I say ‘brands’? Why are you reading ‘brands’? Why would I say ‘brands’?).

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But with great power comes great responsibility.

Picture this.

*Inside Khap Panchayat headquarters somewhere in Haryana*

Man 1 – Dude, we screwed up big time with our public relations.

Man 2 – Yeah, bro. What do we do now?

Man 3 – How about we hire a few consultants, run a campaign and spin around the air of negativity that engulfs our brand?

Man 1 & 2 – Brilliant. O Tau tane cookie!

In the weeks that follow they come up with a wildly successful print and digital campaign. Soon we’re all humming the Khap Panchayat’s jingle that’s all over radio and YouTube. There merchandize sells like hot cakes at fashion outlets across the country. You spot a celebrity wearing a wearing T-shirt that reads “Vote for Khap, AAP is too mainstream”.  Things can change and how.

Digital media has changed the rules of the game. It has opened the gates and everyone’s invited. If you have a sound strategy, an understanding of your fickle minded audience, and why should they be interested in what you want to say, your brand can go places.

We don’t need to look far to know how viral campaigns can influence the best of us. Our founding fathers would’ve flipped if they knew that most IIMs did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. #Win

Social Media 1, Sophistication 0

As the trimester ends and we all look forward to our summer internships, I’m reminded of Nadeem’s 8 weeks a slave. I’m an optimist let me tell you, and I’m really trying to be a little more upbeat about the summer but I can’t help it if someone’s playing ‘Summertime Sadness’ in the dorm. Ah, the universe and its omens.



Mehul Jogadia

I studied advertising, interned as a journalist and worked as a social media manager before I joined IIM Shillong. It’s rumored I’m the diversity B-Schools have been looking for.