Author: Dhileepan

‘The Nun 2’ Movie Promotions Prepare You To Be Terrified

‘The Nun 2’ Movie Promotions Prepare You To Be Terrified

Movie promotions excite me, but what excites me, even more, is the brilliant incorporation of the unique aspects of movies into their respective promotional strategies rather than just deploying generic or conventional advertising. For instance, in my previous blog post on the promotion of the Tamil movie, ‘Maaveeran, I mentioned how the installation of a transparent banner, featuring the movie’s poster, on the facade of a cinema hall, made the people passing through the set-up recreate the iconic ‘overhead stare’ of Sivakarthikeyan in the film. Unless ‘Maaveeran‘ has a sequel/prequel/spin-off, this activation is certain to not be repeated for any other movie as it is closely associated with the film’s theme. In this regard, I recently came across some exciting stuff from the makers of the movie, ‘The Nun 2‘. I feel psyched about a couple of those strategies. So, lemme share them in this blog post!

“Creepy” nuns, all over the place:

As a part of the movie’s marketing campaign by ‘Warner Bros. Pictures‘, around twenty “creepy” nuns (humans dressed up as the evil entity, ‘Valak’ that features in the movies, ‘The Conjuring 2’, ‘The Nun’ and ‘The Nun 2’) have been set out in public to carry out a candlelight stroll.

The army of nuns flooded across some significant landmarks of different cities in the United States of America, like Brooklyn, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, Atlanta and Washington, D.C, in Canada, like Montreal and Toronto, in England, like London and in India, like Mumbai.

Apart from swarming landmarks across different cities of various countries, the nuns made their appearance at the annual horror events, like ‘HorrorHound Weekend‘ and ‘Popcorn Frights‘ and at the movie’s exclusive screenings, like the annual speculative fiction fan convention, ‘Fan Expo Canada‘.

Below are the posts from the official X accounts of ‘The Nun‘ movie, ‘Warner Bros. UK‘ and ‘Warner Bros. India‘ on the stunt…

Across cities in the United States of America…

In London, England…

In Mumbai, India…

Throwback to a similar ‘”Creepy” nuns, all over the place’ stunt for ‘The Nun’:

Upon noticing these “creepy” nuns on the move, the excellent marketing campaign of the 2022 science fiction horror film, ‘M3gan‘ might occur to you, but I’d like to convey here that ‘The Nun‘ had similar promotions way back in 2018.

Here’s a look back at the movie’s campaign.

In Sydney, ‘Roadshow Films‘ and ‘OMD‘, in partnership with ‘Habitat‘, orchestrated a campaign, wherein unsuspecting morning commuters were in for a fright from a bevy of demonic nuns. Likewise, ‘Warner Bros. Canada‘ studio, in collaboration with the agency, ‘Rooftop‘, set out three teams of six nuns each to hit the streets, chanting in Latin and distributing double-sided prayer cards encouraging fans to share on social media using “I Hate #NUNDays” (NUNDay, a wordplay on Mondays). The activations in Canada were created to mark the studio’s partnership with ‘FanExpo‘, which has been considered a part of the Canadian strategy for the movie. Though these stunts appear to be relatively small-scale compared to that of ‘The Nun 2‘, they are equally creative.

Terror appears when you least expect it – A “creepy” newsstand:

Toward the end of ‘The Nun 2‘ trailer, you’d see the protagonist, ‘Sister Irene‘ gazing at a Valak-like artwork on a book at a newsstand. Upon hearing rapid footsteps, she gasps and then turns back only to see nothing. Again, as she turns slowly toward the newsstand, the Valak appears right in front of her from nowhere and has her in a chokehold.

The makers of ‘The Nun 2‘ kind of recreated the above scene.

A ‘The Nun 2‘ branded newsstand was placed in Venice Beach, California. Unsuspecting beachgoers felt shocked as a Valak popped out of the newsstand while they got closer to the prop and started having a look at the magazines. It’s just like how it makes an appearance in the scene from nowhere. As a result, it scares the shit out of them.

Below is the post from the official X account of ‘The Nun‘ movie on the stunt…

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So, how are these promotions gonna help the movie’s opening weekend prospects at the box office?

Upon encountering unusual sights of nuns in public, passersby would be nudged to stop by. Capture photographs of, or probably take selfies with the nuns. In the ‘The Nun 2‘ trailer, you’ll notice the girl named ‘Sophie‘ say ‘I saw a nun‘. If you notice the copies in almost all the X posts above, you’ll see the hashtag, ‘#ISawANun‘. So, any passersby noticing the nuns could later excitedly say, “I saw a nun” to their families and friends. Also, if they share their clicks, with nuns, on social media, they could probably include the hashtag, ‘#ISawANun‘. Thereby, the film’s producers make the audience recreate a moment of the movie. This would pave the way for user-generated content, helping organically to get the word out about the movie. And thereby, evoking interest in the film.

With respect to promoting movies in the annual horror events aforesaid, there’s a key takeaway point. FIND WHO & WHERE THE AUDIENCE FOR YOUR MOVIE IS AND THEN INVENTIVELY PROMOTE IT THERE.

So, in the aforementioned way, the promotions might help the movie’s opening weekend prospects at the box office.

Hope you liked the promotions for the movie, ‘The Nun 2‘ and my take on the same. Lemme know your feedback on this blog post’s comments section.

Photo Courtesy: Warner Bros. India

P.S. ‘The Nun 2‘, which is a sequel to ‘The Nun‘ (2018) and the ninth instalment in ‘The Conjuring Universe‘ franchise, is scheduled for a theatrical release on September 7, 2023. Do watch in Cinemas!

Look Back: A “Natural” Billboard to Promote ‘Maaveeran’

Look Back: A “Natural” Billboard to Promote ‘Maaveeran’

After a brief hiatus from blogging, I’m here again!

This time, I’ve come up with my second article in the Look Back‘ series, wherein I share interesting aspects I gather on the marketing of the movie or web series, which I watched on an over-the-top (OTT) platform and felt satisfied.

Recently, I watched the Sivakarthikeyan-starring Maaveeran‘ on prime video. I loved the movie a lot. It’s a very interesting film that brilliantly blends a fantasy aspect into a sensible narration. Having been so satisfied with the movie, I’ll share information about an activation that Maaveeran‘s producer, ‘Shanthi Talkies‘ had executed to promote the movie’s theatrical release.

About the movie, ‘Maaveeran’

The movie is about how a cowardly character named Sathya (played by Sivakarthikeyan) transforms into a brave personage and takes on a corrupt politician. In the movie, following an accident, Sathya starts hearing a voice, which foretells the problem that lies ahead for him. Whenever he hears it, he gives an overhead stare in anxiety as to where the voice comes from. And that ‘overhead stare’ has been leveraged by the film’s producer to conceive a brilliant marketing idea.

About the marketing idea…

On 13th July, a day prior to Maaveeran‘s theatrical release, ‘Shanthi Talkies‘ posted a video on its official X account on the installation of a transparent banner, featuring the movie’s poster, on the facade of PVR Sathyam Cinemas at Royapettah, Chennai. The video shows the poster being hand-drawn using black paint. The banner is then mounted overhead using four poles. So, when the light, especially the sunlight around noon, is blocked by the black paint in the banner, the poster’s shadow appears on the floor beneath the set-up. The shadow nudged anyone who passed through the installation to look at the overhead artwork. In the process, the person recreated the iconic ‘overhead stare’ of Siva Karthikeyan in ‘Maaveeran‘.

Below is the post from ‘Shanthi Talkies‘ on its official X account…

VJ Abhishek ideated this innovative concept.

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Karthik Gowda, Executive Producer of ‘Hombale Films‘ (The production house behind the movies, ‘K. G. F: Chapter 1’, ‘K. G. F: Chapter 2’ and ‘Kantara’ which became pan-Indian sensations) has appreciated the marketing idea via his official X account.

Below is the post from Karthik Gowda on his official X account…

Sivakarthikeyan has a history of some unique, interesting and brilliantly executed marketing ideas for his movies like ‘Remo‘, ‘Velaikkaran‘ and ‘Seema Raja‘. Now, with the aforementioned marketing idea, Maaveeran has joined the admirable list!

Photo Courtesy: Shanthi Talkies

Look Back: A “Spooky” Twitter Bot to Promote ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’

Look Back: A “Spooky” Twitter Bot to Promote ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’

When I feel satisfied completing a movie or web series on OTT, I google to know its critical reception, box-office performance, and the whereabouts of its actors. Above all, I spend relatively more time looking up the marketing endeavor put behind the movie. A lot of those marketing strategies would be as interesting as the associated movie or web series. For quite some time, I’ve been wishing to blog about such initiatives in an organized manner (although I’ve blogged considerably and randomly on movie marketing). It is not just that I love to put them down, but also because they deserve to be raved about for the creativity invested to conceive, design, and execute them. So, here I am to fulfill my wish with the ‘Look Back’ series, wherein I’ll retell the interesting aspects I gather on the marketing of the movie or web series I watch.

Kicking off the series…

Recently, I watched the 2016 American supernatural horror film, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘ on Netflix. I loved the movie. So, I dug up to know its marketing initiatives. As a result, I got to know a handful of promotional events done for the movie, but the one that interested me the most is the campaign titled, ‘Ouija Knows All Twitter Bot‘. Therefore, I begin the series with this article on the initiative.

About the movie, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil‘…

A widow (Elizabeth Reaser as Alice Zander), with her daughters, carry out a phony séance business at her home. Upon bringing the Ouija board to the business, they make contact with an evil spirit existing there. Consequently, the entity possesses Alice’s 9-year-old daughter (Lulu Wilson as Doris Zander). The movie then focuses on the event’s after-effects.

About the campaign, ‘Ouija Knows All Twitter Bot‘…

The movie’s distributor, ‘Universal Pictures’ and the Digital Marketing agency, ‘Addison Interactive’ collaborated on the campaign, which invited fans to tweet random questions to the Twitter handle, ‘@OuijaKnowsAll’. The questions posted were like, “What is my name?” and “are ghosts real?“. The agency-curated customized bot facilitated the Twitter handle to reply with a GIF image, which showed a planchette sequentially moving over the letters on the Ouija board per their order in the answers. The alphabet under focus on each movement of the planchette displayed beneath the board. Within the confines of the GIF image, the alphabet got added in an incremental manner post each movement and ended with accurate answers to the questions.

Reply to a few other questions had Doris Zander replacing the Ouija board and planchette in the GIF. For instance, a question like “Will Rihanna win a Grammy for her 8th album ANTI?” had the image say “OF COURSE“.

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About the offline promotions…

Real-world giant projections, installed at the annual Halloween events, ‘Haunted Hayride’ and ‘Halloween Horror Nights’, entertained people waiting in the queue. In conclusion, the ultimate goal was to get everyone buzzing around the movie.


Influencers and celebrities jumped on the bandwagon of posting questions, resulting in the campaign’s reach getting amplified. As a result, the initiative garnered 355,000+ questions and 23,000,000 impressions on Twitter by then.

Per Deadline, the movie debuted at 3,167 theaters with cumulative gross earnings of $14M in its Week 1.


As an entrant to the Clio Awards program, the agency submitted the below video and photo to the medium, ‘Theatrical: Social Media’ within the entry type, ‘Theatrical’, and the category, ‘Single Platform Campaign’. Eventually, the campaign won Clio Gold.

Source: Clios

‘Raaj Kamal Films International’ Has Set Out Interesting Promotions for ‘Vikram’

‘Raaj Kamal Films International’ Has Set Out Interesting Promotions for ‘Vikram’

It has been quite some time since I wrote about movie marketing. With this being the case, when I noticed the legendary actor Kamal Haasan’s upcoming film, ‘Vikram’ – one of my most anticipated movies of 2022 – promoted all along by some innovative and interesting initiatives, it became inevitable to feel excited and urged to put them down. So, here I am with this blog post.

The compelling promotions gradually ramped up the hype of Lokesh Kanagaraj‘s directorial besides the K-Town sensation Anirudh‘s chartbuster album. Now, let me provide an account of the endeavors.

1. Vikram Non-Fungible Tokens (Vikram NFTs):

Fantico‘, an NFT and gaming company owned by ‘Vistas Media Capital‘, is offering limited-edition Vikram NFTs in its soon-to-be-launched metaverse, ‘Vistaverse’ (To be set operative in partnership with Lotus Meta Entertainment) by collaborating with Raaj Kamal Films International (RKFI).

The NFTs will serve as a ticket to the metaverse experience. In addition, it will offer its buyers utilities like…

  • Access to unique artworks of characters
  • Digital avatars
  • Props
  • Posters
  • Film memorabilia
  • Fan interaction moments
  • Private screenings
  • Access to by-invite only to a traveling Vistadome party
  • A choice to convert some of the NFTs to actual underlying tangible assets

The NFTs will also give preferential access to virtual land sales in Mumbai and Chennai in Vistaverse, which RKFI claims to be the first such in-game asset to be launched in India.

Actor Kamal Haasan unveiled Vikram NFTs along with the movie’s trailer on 18th May 2022 at Cannes Film Festival.

Vikram NFTs arrived for presale on 28th May 2022 over here:

As one may know that NFTs are one of the secure ways of trading, I consider the initiative to be smart in monetizing the brand.

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2. ‘Vikram’ branded artworks executed directly over train engines and coaches:

Raaj Kamal Films International, along with Southern Railway, has branded the WAP 7 class locomotive or engine at Erode with the official first look of ‘Vikram’. Below is Southern Railway‘s tweet about the collaboration…

Also, ‘Vikram’ branded graffiti have been executed over a couple of double-decker coaches of Uday Express, which plies to and fro between Coimbatore Junction and K.S.R Railway Station (Bengaluru).

Chennai-based graffiti writer and street artist ‘A-kill’, Pune-based artist ‘Afzan Pirzade’, who specializes in portrait arts, and Karthik SS of Chennai art studio, ‘108 Collective’ have come together to realize the artwork.

Previous notable arts of ‘A-kill’ in Chennai are the widely popular mural featuring two sisters smiling together in Kannagi Nagar and the HIV/AIDS awareness street art across Indira Nagar MRTS’ main façade.

Afzan Pirzade’s painting, along with Lobster, as part of the ‘Paint my city’ project for the Kumbh Mela festival 2019 was one of the most widely shared images of street art done for the event.

In Chennai, Karthik SS and his team were behind the initial concepts and sketches for the murals present on the walls of Andhra Mahila Sabha hospital in Durgabai Deshmukh Road, Adyar. The arts are also being sold as NFTs in the marketplace, ‘JupiterMeta’.

In post-pandemic times, I could recall the makers of the 2022 Indian period romantic drama, Radhe Shyam’ coming up with a similar strategy, wherein they put up the movie’s posters over Delhi Metros. But, the promotion over train for ‘Vikram’ spans across Tamil Nadu and Karnataka because of the medium chosen i.e. Uday Express.

3. Kamal Haasan surprises his fans from behind them while they adulate him:

In the below video uploaded to the YouTube channel of ‘Sony Music South‘, fans of Kamal Haasan are shown adulating their favorite star. The highlights are the moments we watch them getting surprised as they either see Kamal Haasan or hear his voice from behind.

This promotional video follows suit of Chadwick Boseman and Puneeth Rajkumar surprising their fans.

4. A brief reunion of old pals, wherein ‘Panchatanthiram‘ meets ‘Vikram‘:

This is yet another short promotional clip for ‘Vikram‘, which is uploaded to the Youtube channel, ‘Moviebuff Tamil‘. It features actors Jayaram, Ramesh Aravind, Sriman, and Yugi Sethu enacting the respective characters portrayed by them in the 2002 Tamil language comedy film, ‘Panchatanthiram‘. Kamal Haasan and Simran are the movie’s leads. The short video appears as an extension to Panchatanthiram. In other words, the video is a light-hearted attempt at the concept of ‘Panchatanthiram‘ meeting ‘Vikram‘.

The video has been conceptualized and executed by Team Social Beat.

5. As dusk fell in Dubai, Burj Khalifa put on a visual spectacle:

Like Netflix promoted the launch of Volume 1 of Stranger Things 4 by making the rifts to Upside Down appear on monuments like the Empire State Building in New York and Gateway of India in Mumbai, Raaj Kamal Films International built anticipation for Vikram by putting on a visual spectacle on Burj Khalifa.

6. Raaj Kamal Films International‘s fusion marketing with Bisleri:

Raaj Kamal Films International collaborated with Bisleri in Tamil Nadu and Kerala to render limited edition ‘Vikram‘ branded water bottles.

Apart from the above promotions, the makers of ‘Vikram‘ organized a grand audio and trailer launch event in Chennai, set up a digital billboard with the movie’s poster at the airport, facilitated the incorporation of customized emoji to select hashtags on Twitter for the film, and devised a handful of pre-release events. So, it was an all-out effort from Raaj Kamal Films International, in association with Turmeric Media, in creating sky-high expectations for the film. Also, the film’s cast and crew involved in a slew of shows (Including Super Singer Junior 8 on Vijay Television and Big Boss Malayalam on Asianet) and interviews on linear TV and YouTube channels respectively.

Featured image courtesy: Raaj Kamal Films International

‘THE DHONI TOUCH’ Book Review: An Interesting Account on the Man!

‘THE DHONI TOUCH’ Book Review: An Interesting Account on the Man!

The movie ‘M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’ – based on the pages of the legendary sportsperson’s life until 2011 Cricket World Cup’s final – heeds more on the bed of roses with a slight glimpse of the thorns. In other words, the movie emanates more positivity. Now, on having read the Cricket writer Bharat Sundaresan’s ‘THE DHONI TOUCH’, I once again feel so. It’s not just the Dhoni factor behind such enablement but also the commendable jobs by the creators in coming up with their respective works.

Unlike the movie, which is a biopic of Dhoni’s life, the book unravels the enigma – as its tagline remarks – that the legendary cricketer is. The author has put in significant effort in culling extensive information, predominantly from primary sources such as Dhoni’s long-standing friends, coach, colleagues, etc. By extension, on a lighter note, it appears like Bharat Sundaresan has chronicled an illustration for each adjective that one would throw up to boil down the kind of cricketer or person Dhoni is. The illustrations testify how innate Dhoni’s traits have been, which make up the man whom many admire.

Excellent examples on Dhoni going the extra mile to get his way:

There are various instances in Cricket matches that remain a testimony to Dhoni‘s willingness to go the extra mile in pursuit of the task at hand. The book records numerous off-field incidents, which demonstrate the same and are unavailable to the public. For instance, there is a scenario evidencing the prudence of Dhoni, the kid.

Dhoni in younger days (Pic Source: starsunfolded)

Dhoni was then simultaneously part of the teams of his school and Central Coal Limited (CCL). The teams had matches on the same day and the cricketer was expected to be part of both. Neither the school team’s coach nor the CCL‘s secretary was ready to leave him out. So, Dhoni came up with a very surprising suggestion to resolve the tug of war. He told that he could play for CCL if the school match gets postponed by a day. When the coach cautioned him about the hot playing conditions, which he needs to endure for two days, he came up with another astonishing reply that he could play even for three days.

This is some really unexpected stuff!

Conducting oneself:

In the second leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League, I noticed a worn-out Dhoni walking up to the pavilion after the game and then turning up well-decked and fresh to the presentation ceremony. He also used to wear a wristwatch that I hadn’t seen on him while playing. This happened match after match, irrespective of their result or the toughness they demanded. This is one of the primary qualities I like in Dhoni i.e. the way in which he conducts himself. These aspects aren’t restricted to just the on-field appearances but to his public appearances as a whole. It can be the manner he walks, sits, gestures, manages eye contact, smiles, or grins. Everything appears so measured like the eloquence in his articulations.

MS Dhoni at a felicitation event for Chennai Super Kings hosted by India Cements (Pic Source: Espncricinfo)

In the book’s 10th chapter ‘The Man Emerges’, late cricketer V.B. Chandrasekhar has imparted incidents on Dhoni‘s ability to conduct himself well, right from his rookie days. They are quite a good deal of information from an insider’s perspective and inspiring. It is also equally inspiring to get to know that Dhoni guides and helps his team to conduct themselves. An incident mentioned in the 7th chapter ‘A Captain Comes into His Own’ stands testimony to his leadership. In fact, a sports website’s article featured the incident’s extract that had urged me to buy ‘THE DHONI TOUCH’.

It was in February 2008 in the Commonwealth Bank Series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). It was when Australians were at their indomitable best. It was when the Ricky Ponting-led Australian team believed that every loss of theirs was an ‘upset’ and not just a win for their opponent. It was only the fifteenth One Day International (ODI) match as captain for Dhoni. And it was when Indian pacers picked nine wickets between them and bowled out Australia for a paltry 159.

Dhoni and Rohit were in the middle chasing down the total. The skipper sent the message, “Nobody will celebrate on the balcony once we win this match” to the pavilion and passed on the instruction, “When they give their hand, just firmly hold yours out without folding it like an obligation, but don’t overdo it. And just stare blankly at them without any hint of excitement.” to Rohit. All he wanted to convey to the Australian team was that India‘s victory in their own backyard is no fluke. It is no upset. And it is going to happen again and again. It appears like the Aussies couldn’t handle India’s victory and it really shook them.

And here is my personal experience when I visited M.A. Chidambaram Stadium at Chepauk in Chennai for an Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI). CSK was chasing with Dhoni at the batting end and Trinidadian cricketer Kieron Pollard was the bowler. Since Dhoni‘s wicket was crucial at that point in time, Pollard availed his go-to weapon, which he regularly used then. Run-up to the crease and then stop bowling suddenly as though you have been distracted for reasons unknown. Thereby, you think you spoiled the rhythm of the batsman who is waiting to face the delivery. Since Dhoni was at the batting end, he gave back in his very own style. When Pollard was about to bowl the very next ball following the run-up, Dhoni pretended to be distracted at the very last moment, which ended up with a rousing reception from the audience. Dhoni departed after a while and eventually, CSK lost the match. But, the moment is worth remembering for years to come!

Fascinating peeks into analogies and parallels here and there:

The author’s account isn’t just confined to putting down the information, which he has gathered but also in bringing up surprising analogies and drawing interesting parallels in various places. Well, to name a fascinating few, in the 6th chapter ‘The Mahi Way’, the parallel drawn between Dhoni and Sherlock Holmes and in the 8th chapter ‘Pythagoras behind the Stumps’, the analogy put forward to describe the kind of wicket-keeper the cricketer is. These are one of the high points of the book.

Let me brief on the parallel drawn between Dhoni and Sherlock Holmes in ‘The Mahi Way’.

Dhoni had once shocked his good friend Col Shankar by asking him who Sunita Williams and Patrick Patterson are. By quizzing so, he had meant no disrespect towards the legendary personalities. It is only that his complete ignorance seems to be because of him being a person who doesn’t bother much about anything that doesn’t affect him. This is where Bharat Sundaresan draws a very interesting parallel between Dhoni and Sherlock Holmes. Dr. John Watson, Sherlock Holmes‘s friend in Arthur Conan Doyle‘s novel, is very surprised by his bud being ignorant of famous philosophers, theories, the fact about earth traveling around the sun, and the constitution of the solar system. Bharat equates Dr. John Watson‘s astonishment to that of Col Shankar and then mentions Holmes‘s famous theory about the mind being an ’empty attic’ with no ‘elastic walls’ as below…

“A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or best is jumbled up with a lot of other things…for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”

A brilliant correlation indeed!

Intriguing lessons, worth inspiring budding cricketers:

From the person who has marketed brilliancy in captainship at international and highly competitive club crickets, game-changing moments, nimble-minded and lightning-quick wicket-keeping skills, and the like, it’s not surprising to know him being good at marketing himself.

(Pic Source: Chennai ipl)

The book conveys not just the process, which went behind in the sporting front in the build-up to Dhoni becoming a legendary cricketer but also reveals information on the proliferation of his brand value in the commercial arena. For instance, in the 9th chapter, ‘Thala’ (‘Thala’ in the Tamil language refers to ‘Leader’) deals exclusively with the inside information related to the nurturing of the brand, ‘Dhoni’ aka ‘Thala’. The boom the Dhoni era has introduced on what a talented, and more importantly, a smart cricketer could earn, is something remarkable. The smartness and the seamless focus, which he continues to possess are intriguing and worth inspiring budding cricketers.

Recount on Dhoni’s interests, apart from Cricket:

Dhoni‘s interests, apart from Cricket, have as well been widely recounted in the book. For example, in addition to featuring (as MS Dhoni himself) in the below McDowell’s No.1 soda spot – created by the Gurugram-based ad agency DDB Mudra South & East – the book states on the cricketer to have taken care of its scriptwriting too. Alongside Dhoni, the feel-good video features his childhood Buddies, Chittu (Seemant Lohani), and Chottu Bhaiyya (Paramjit Singh), who are among the primary sources of information for the book.

Also, Dhoni‘s profound interest in armed forces is widely known. In ‘THE DHONI TOUCH’, you get to know how the cricketer found time to appease his desire in upgrading his credential as an honorary Lt Col in the Territorial Army. The 5th chapter ‘The Fauji Captain’ exclusively showcases Dhoni‘s love for the armed forces.

Here is an instance from the chapter.

Dhoni had wished to qualify for parachute wings and thereby, obtain a badge with blue wings and an umbrella. To qualify, he was supposed to complete five parachute jumps from a military aircraft, including one at night, from around 15,000 feet. So, Dhoni underwent rigorous two weeks of training in Paratroopers Trainings School (PTS). After completing training, he performed five para jumps and obtained the badge, which even many of his soldier friends hadn’t completed.

Below is a video showing Dhoni doing his first para jump from the military transport aircraft ‘An-32‘…

To have been able to become a legendary cricketer by making wicket keeping and captaincy the primary reasons to admire him in a nation, which celebrates relatively more of batsmanship, is no mean feat. His contributions behind the wicket have created a legacy. Australian wicketkeeper Mathew Wade‘s popular jest, “I’m not Dhoni” after he so very nearly had a stumping to dismiss Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan deserves a mention here. To say impressive is least to describe his achievement in bringing to the country all the available International Cricket Council (ICC) trophies during his stint on the national side.

To have read a book on the cricketer, which markets itself to unravel the enigma that is him, is such a delight!

And to find it unfolding information and analysis in a very interesting manner is so satisfying!

The book, which takes us through the many phases of Dhoni, right from his early days in Ranchi, concludes with the below compelling line that sums up the legend’s era…

“He’s also ensured that Indian cricket will never be the same again,

not after it has felt the Dhoni Touch.”


Book available in the below link…

Featured image courtesy: mid-day

4 (Top) Things I Liked in Reading ‘Life is Good: THE BOOK’

4 (Top) Things I Liked in Reading ‘Life is Good: THE BOOK’

When it comes to Superpowers, the inaccessible superhuman strengths of fictional characters, like Superman, Spiderman, and Wolverine, used to instantly occur to me, whereas the readily accessible traits like ‘Openness’, ‘Courage’, ‘Simplicity’, ‘Humor’, ‘Gratitude’, ‘Fun’, ‘Compassion’, ‘Creativity’, ‘Authenticity’, and ‘Love’ did not come to my mind. But, after reading the book, ‘Life is Good: THE BOOK’ co-authored by Bert and John Jacobs – Founders of the American apparel and accessories brand, ‘Life is Good®’ – the latter qualities spring to my mind, whenever I contemplate Superpowers. The manner in which the brothers champion the traits as Superpowers, by putting down numerous illustrations of both tapping into them in the process of building their establishment, serves as an irresistible account in acknowledging them.

There are 10 chapters in the book, wherein each chapter advocates a trait, which is promoted by a considerable number of personal experiences of the ‘Life is Good®’ founders and external references. From the many interesting experiences, I am picking four and briefing them below…

4. Possessing “I’m all ears to feedbacks” attitude:

In the early days of their business, Jacob Brothers used to embark on journeys in their van to sell T-shirts. After returning home, it was a ritual for them to organize parties for their friends. They found the occasions as opportunities to not only catch up with buddies, supply them beer and a few tales from their journeys but also to tape up their T-shirt designs around the room and let their friends write feedback besides them. After a particular road trip, despite not being in a mood to organize a party, they went ahead in arranging one. A loose, simple sketch of a bohemian guy (in the pic below) received dozens of feedback around it, and the founders felt the comment, “This guy’s got life figured out.” to be very striking, and subsequently, they distilled it to “Life is Good.”.

As a follow-up, two days later, they printed 48 “Life is Good” T-shirts to sell at a street fair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Much to their surprise, the T-shirts were sold out in less than an hour. The three words, ‘Life is Good’ turned out the moment magical and the simplicity in the design attracted more attention than their elaborate pitches, messages, and designs, which they had delivered in five years since the inception of their business.

This life-changing moment stems literally from the founders possessing an “I’m all ears to feedback” attitude. The below acknowledgment from Jacob Brothers stands testimony to their desire to accept feedback of any sort and thereby, evolve…

“The company is imperfect and always will be.

Its founders are even more flawed.”

3. Nurturing One’s Community:

It’s a delight to watch ‘Life is Good®’ nurturing its community by encouraging them in supporting a cause.

A snap, taken during a pumpkin festival
A snap, taken during a pumpkin festival
(Pic Source: WikiMedia Commons)

For instance, in 2003, the brand invited people to participate in a pumpkin festival, which attempted to break the Guinness World Record for most carved, jack-o’-lantern in one place at a time. The apparel and accessories brand partnered with the Maine-based nonprofit, ‘Camp Sunshine’, which supports children facing life-threatening illnesses and their families. The festival, which was complemented by games like sack races, home run derby and obstacle courses for kids and adults alike, and fundraising, saw a turnout of more than 10,000. Every year, the fest was organized with the very same cause i.e carve and light pumpkins to break the Guinness World Record. Finally, in 2006 on the Boston Common (A central public park in downtown Boston, Massachusetts), a huge crowd gathered carved, and lighted 30,128 pumpkins and broke the Guinness World Record. More importantly, over $500,000 was raised for ‘Camp Sunshine’.

2. Humanizing the Brand:

Following the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the ‘Life is Good®’ brand decided to help victims and their families via a fund-raising product. So, they reached out to their retail partners informing their idea to sell special, stylized American flag shirts and then donate 100 percent of the profits to the cause. A morale-boosting influx of orders encouraged the brand to print and ship shirts that lead them to end up with a donation of $207,000, far more than their initial fundraising goal of $20,000.

T-shirts designed following Boston Marathon Bombings
T-shirts designed following Boston Marathon Bombings

Ensuing Boston Marathon Bombings on April 13, 2015, the company created a T-shirt with the text, “BOSTON” on its front with a small heart in the center of one of the O’s and the copy, “Nothing is stronger than LOVE” on its back. Within 30 hours after conception, the apparel was made available for sale in stores and on the brand’s website. In less than 60 days, the T-shirt’s sale went on to amass over half a million dollars in profit, which was then donated to ‘The One Fund’ that was established to help victims and their families.

Both projects appear as the height of humanizing the brand in the darkest times.

1. Reinforcing the core values to the internal customers:

The 10 Superpowers form the core values of the ‘Life is Good®’ brand. In order to embody the values into their products, the company reinforces them to its internal customers i.e. its employees in an interesting way. Within the company’s design center, there is a digital art gallery that showcases each Superpower using inspirational images, which are selected from the brand’s latest influences and most recent work. For every season, one Superpower is chosen to highlight as their creative inspiration. The idea is to make the employees establish an emotional connection with the Superpower to express the same to the customers via the products.

A 'Life is Good' artwork
A ‘Life is Good’ artwork

That’s it with my top four picks and to conclude my article, I briefly boil down the book with the below note.

Per Jacob Brothers, people fighting great adversity, like disease and the loss of beloved ones, share their experiences in correspondence. Their stories illustrated the brothers on optimism guiding them in battling tough times. Having been inspired and moved by the stories, the brothers dubbed them ‘Fuels’. If people’s courageous stories have been the ‘Fuel’ to Bert and John Jacobs then the book as a whole is a binding of various ‘Fuels’ emerging from the brothers’ experiences, predominantly in the process of building their establishment.

Book available in the below link…

OREO’s Latest Campaign Is Quirky!

OREO’s Latest Campaign Is Quirky!

Yesterday, by rolling out the quirky campaign ‘OREO Offering’, OREO was attempting to make contact with extraterrestrials and it required your help to do so.

As part of the bizarre campaign with the mission ‘BRINGING ALL LIFEFORMS TOGETHER’, OREO had put up a limited-time offer for you to get your hands on its chocolate sandwich cookies. All you had to do is to pay $3.00 for shipping and handling. No charge for the product.

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The instruction copy featured on the pack reads, “PLACE OREO COOKIE IN CENTER OF PACK WITHIN CLEAR VIEW OF THE SKY TO CREATE YOUR OWN #OREOOFFERING”. The offer begun yesterday morning and was publicized to last till June 10th or when promotional supplies are exhausted, whichever happens first. While I commenced writing this article, I could see that OREO is out of its Offering packs.

Featured image courtesy: Oreo

4 Marketing Lessons, Businesses Can Learn From ‘Soorarai Pottru’!

4 Marketing Lessons, Businesses Can Learn From ‘Soorarai Pottru’!

A couple of days back, I watched the Amazon Original, ‘Soorarai Pottru’ on the OTT platform. The Sudha Kongara’s sixth directorial venture is not only moving but also is studded with a number of lessons for businesses to take away. In this article, I list them. But, before listing, I shall boil down the movie, which is loosely based on the life of G. R. Gopinath, founder of ‘Simplifly Deccan’ – India’s first low-cost carrier.

A brief on the movie…

Soorarai Pottru’ chronicles the inspirational journey of Nedumaaran (Suriya), an ex-Air Force officer, who is launching a low-cost airline in an attempt to afford flight travel to the less privileged. In the process of realizing his dream, Nedumaaran is hampered at regular intervals by Paresh Goswami (Paresh Rawal), a leader in the aviation industry and the one whom the former considers a role model. Amidst such tricky circumstances, Nedumaaran makes his dream come true. Alongside him is Sundari (Aparna), his better half, who apart from successfully running a bakery, stays with him through thick and thin in breathing new life into his dream.

Now, let me list the lessons I observed.

1. Empathize with the pain points of your customers:

While serving in the Indian Air Force, knowing his father dying, Nedumaaran rushes to the airport. When trying to purchase a flight ticket, he gets to know that the economy class tickets are fully booked, and he is short of the fare of a business class ticket. As he desperately wants to travel to his native, he even goes on to plead with his fellow passengers for the balance money. Also, he promises that he would return it to them but it goes in vain. So, he resorts to alternate modes of transportation. And by the time, he reaches his native, his father has already died.

Following these series of unpleasant experiences, he doesn’t stop with just painfully running into them but goes on to empathize. He empathizes from the shoes of all those who consider the prevailing pricing of airline tickets unaffordable. That very thought urges him to make the common man fly. And the result is… a low-cost airline.

2. Take into account the value-conscious aspect of the target market:

As a follow-up to empathizing with customers’ pain points, he formulates a business model that enables passengers to buy plane tickets, like they purchase soaps. With India being a value-conscious market, Nedumaaran decides to charge 1000 rupees per ticket as opposed to the market rate of 10,000. Simultaneously, he negates various value-adds. He doesn’t provide newspapers. No extra food or staff. And to top it all, he decides to operate his flights for six trips a day as against the 2 trips by existing players. Eventually, he drops costs but at the same time ensures in delivering a quality service.

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3. Team up with another business to do fusion marketing:

In a chapter of the late American Business Writer Jay Conrad Levinson’s book*, the author has listed twenty ways in which guerrilla marketing differs from the old-fashioned brand of marketing. In one of the ways, the writer defines traditional marketing as an approach, which suggests a brand to observe its industrial market completely to decide which of its competitors are to be utterly defeated by it.

Conversely, he proclaims guerilla marketing as an outlook, which advocates a brand to discover businesses that possess the same kind of potential customers/clients and standards as it does, so that the brand can collaborate with the selected businesses in their marketing endeavors.

By opting for the latter, the author asserts that a brand is expanding its marketing reach, but reducing its marketing cost as it is sharing the expenses with the fellow business. And, he puts forth the term Fusion Marketing, which guerrillas use for this viewpoint.

Now, coming back to the movie. As Nedumaaran partners with his wife Sundari to sell food to his passengers, he provides hospitality to them and at the same time, earns extra money for his family (A collaboration with another catering service would have dented his profit margin).

Towards the climax, a couple of young men, who just completed a trip in Nedumaaran‘s flight, render a casual positive remark over the food. This implies that Sundari‘s expansion of her products beyond her bakery has become fruitful and it’s a win-win situation for the entrepreneurs.

Also Read:

4 Examples of Captivating Fusion Marketing Campaigns (And Why They’re So Great)

These are the 10 Best Burger King Marketing Campaigns of 2018

4. Identify your competitor(s) (If necessary, cut across industries):

Way back in 2019, in a letter to its shareholders, Netflix wrote, “We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO.” This was owing to Netflix considering the online game, ‘Fortnite’ as its competitor in entertaining its customers, and eating up their free time in the process.

Likewise, Nedumaaran doesn’t view another airline that offers flight tickets at relatively affordable prices as his competitor. Instead, with 1,000 rupee tickets – way below market rates – he wants to meet the Indian Railways head-on.

So, for a business, it is essential to identify its competitor(s). If necessary, it has to do so by cutting across industries because sometimes your competitors may end up in another industry, as in the case of Netflix.

That’s it with my observations and interpretations pertaining to the lessons, which businesses can take away from ‘Soorarai Pottru’. Hope you liked reading the write-up. Let me know your opinion(s) in the ‘Comment’ section.

* Guerrilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for making big profits from your small business

Featured image courtesy:

2D Entertainment and Sikhya Entertainment

‘Soorarai Pottru’ goes the breathtaking ‘Red Bull’ way! (But, not exactly)

‘Soorarai Pottru’ goes the breathtaking ‘Red Bull’ way! (But, not exactly)

Hope you remember the Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s breathtaking descent from over 24 miles (39km) above the earth! It was way back on October 14th, 2012 when the spellbinding feat was achieved as part of the Red Bull Stratos project, wherein the company invested 30$ million and raked in 500$ million through sales.

Whenever I think of Guerrilla Marketing stunts, this famous, record-breaking space jump instantly occurs to me.

Now, here is an instance of Guerrilla Marketing from the makers of Tamil actor Suriya starring ‘Soorarai Pottru’ along the lines of Baumgartner’s astonishing 2012 feat. But, not exactly.

To be more precise, if it was Felix Baumgartner reaching the stratosphere for Red Bull, then it is a board containing the autographs of thousands of Suriya’s fans for ‘Soorarai Pottru’.

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The makers of the movie have orchestrated with a German crew to accomplish this ‘OUT OF THE WORLD’ task by fastening the board to an unmanned high-altitude balloon.

Suriya posted a brief video on this promotional effort, dubbed ‘Tribute to my anbanafans!!’ on November 11th, 2020 to his social media profiles.

The clip provides a glimpse of the board floating across space. Also, the altitude last shown in the video appears to be 35km above the earth! ‘Soorarai Pottru’, the first big-ticket movie from Tamil Film Industry to be directly released on an OTT platform, goes for a world premiere on Amazon Prime Video on November 12th, 2020! The latest Guerrilla Marketing stunt from team ‘Soorarai Pottru’ finishes the movie’s vigorous pre-release promotions on a high note.

Featured image courtesy:

2D Entertainment and Sikhya Entertainment

Servant leadership: In Hour of Need for Businesses in the time of Corona

Servant leadership: In Hour of Need for Businesses in the time of Corona

Novel Corona virus has radically reshaped a lot of aspects in our day-to-day life. Businesses are no exceptions.

Recently, I went to a hotel situated in my locality to down breakfast. Dine-in space was blocked off. Only takeaway service was available. Customers could collect their food by waiting in the hotel’s facade.

Hotel’s owner was looking after the billing section. There were only three waiters who were busy delivering the food ordered to the awaiting customers.

And there came a customer who ordered coffee. When one of the waiter rolled up his sleeves to prepare it, owner asked him to look after the orders that are queuing up and got in the groove to brew the beverage.

In the past two months, I’ve stumbled upon few more servant leadership instances as above.

And then, of late, I read a ‘Fast Company’ article, which briefs the shift in the public perception of CEOs during the pandemic, based on a report by the WPP plc.-owned New York-based marketing consultancy ‘Group SJR’.

The report ‘THE CEO LEADERBOARD: COVID-19 REPUTATION RANKINGS’ unveils the ranking of brand perception across Fortune 100 CEOs – measuring how they were perceived before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and how their reputation has changed in the subsequent weeks.

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The ranking is based on the assessment of the publicly available digital data, spanning across Facebook posts, Tweets, LinkedIn posts, Instagram posts, YouTube comments, News Sites, RSS Feeds, Blogs, around the Fortune 100 CEOs between January 1st, 2020 and April 15th, 2020.

The LEADERBOARD lists top 25 from the Fortune 100 CEOs who came out on top in this most democratic and existential crises.

Also, it puts down the top 10 CEOs across industries like tech, retail, healthcare and finance.

The ‘Fast Company’ article concludes with the ‘Group SJR’ co-founder and CEO Alexander Jutkowitz mentioning that the leaders with highest scores in the ranking were those who were highly visible in the crisis, communicated clearly and been empathetic.

His statement, “Servant leadership really has come to the fore” vastly sums up the need of the hour.

With all is said and done, from the scenario that I observed in the hotel to the bottom line that the Group SJR’s Leaderboard underscores, servant leadership has become one conspicuous attribute of business leadership going forward.

Pic Courtesy: Fotor