A Social Media Case Study: How Did ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’ Go Viral? And What Can You Learn About Marketing?

by Mahesh Kukreja · 0 comments

in Social Media


‘Why this Kolaveri Di’ is a Tamil-English song written & sung by actor Dhanush (Rajinikanth’s son-in-law). It is one of the songs to be featured in the movie ‘3’ set to be released in 2012. A rough version of the song was leaked on YouTube on 31st October, 2011. The leaked lyrics were also posted on social media sites including Facebook & Twitter.

Why This Kolaveri Di

The leaked song & lyrics were going viral among users on Facebook & Twitter. Sony Music India was quick to capitalize on the leak and planned well to turn it into a marketing advantage.

Some Stats about Kolaveri Di

Here are some amazing stats of the Kolaveri song:

  • Sony Music India released Why This Kolveri Di on YouTube on 16th November, 2011. Since then the video has received more than 20 million views, more than 168k likes and more than 84k comments (as of 12th December, 2011)
  • During the launch period of the video, #Kolaveri hashtag was trending on Twitter India for more than 3 continuous days
  • The video has been shared on Facebook by more than 1.4 million users worldwide.  More than 1.8 million users have liked it & it has also received more than 1.1 million commentsKolaver Di - Facebook Stats
  • Indian Celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan, Anand Mahindra, Salman Rushdie, Madhavan, Shreya Ghoshal, Trisha & more, appreciated & tweeted about the song on Twitter
  • On 21st November, 2011, Kolaveri became the ‘most searched video’ on YouTube
  • The popularity of the song was reported by international media like BBC & Time Magazine
  • Airtel India reported that Kolaveri Di was downloaded more than 200k times in 18 days of launch
  • Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs), the top B-schools in India, conducted studies to figure out the virality of the video
  • Kolaveri Di became the first Tamil song to be featured on MTV India & radio stations across India
  • The song was also featured on a radio station in US
  • It received Gold Award by YouTube

How did Kolaveri Di go Viral?

Soon after the song was leaked, Sony Music India wanted to make the most of the advantage. Jack in the Box is the digital agency responsible for making the video go viral. According to NinjaMagic.in, the company aimed to market the video on YouTube, Facebook & Twitter.

Let’s first talk about how the company managed to market the video on Facebook. Sony Music India’s South page has about 200k fans. And most of them are Tamils. So, posting about the video on Facebook page attracted viewers, comments, likes & shares. In turn, YouTube views of the video started going up.

Kolaveri Di - Google Trends

Honestly at first, when I started noticing that people were sharing the video on Facebook, I didn’t know about the song & I thought it must be in Tamil language, which is not of my type. I felt like ‘Why are these people going crap over the video?’ Almost everyone was sharing the video as their status updates. And I said, That’s enough! I’ll have to watch the video to find out why the people are going crazy.

And that was the moment. When I heard the Tamil-English (Tanglish) lyrics and the cool beats, I too liked the song.

Ok, now let’s talk about how the video was marketed on Twitter. The marketers of John in the Box created #whythiskolaveridi hashtag and started posting quirky lines like “Iceland has not heard #whythiskolaveridi”, “Not called for 2 days #whythiskolaveridi”, etc., with the YouTube link to the video. This intrigued people on twitter who didn’t understand what Kolaveri di meant. So these people started asking questions & clicking the YouTube link.

After the video went viral on Twitter, users were talking about Kolaveri Di via #Kolaveri hashtag. The topic trended for more than3 days on Twitter India. Even today people are tweeting about this song.

Soon the song gained popularity from South India to the whole of India and then across the world.

What can you learn about Social Media Marketing from Kolaveri Di?

You need to define your social media marketing strategy properly. When you’ve a Facebook fan page which is liked by thousands of targeted users, your content/articles will be viewed by those. Sure your website will get more clicks. But, this is not enough. These readers should automatically share your content with their social friends. These readers should subscribe to your newsletters. These readers should buy your products.

This brings us to the main thing that is important, i.e. Content. If Kolaveri di wouldn’t have funny lyrics & cool beats, there would have been a very few shares & likes. Why did the song get so many likes & shares on Facebook? Heck, because of the content. Remember if the content is good, you don’t need to market it. It’ll market itself.

Sure content is not enough. You must advertise the content strategically. Like for example, using free Facebook advertisement. With Facebook advertising, you can advertise your website or products to other users. But you must take care to manage the ads properly. Managing Facebook ads with traditional Facebook APIs can be tedious & time consuming. Rather using a 3rd party advertisement tool like keybrokersocial can help you to get most out of your money. You can create hundreds of ads and targeting combinations in minutes. Keybroker Social also allows you to assess your campaign performance and make changes to your ads in real time. Keybroker Social allows you to focus on your business goals and efficiently create powerful social advertising.

Now, to make your content go viral on Twitter, you need to get targeted followers, just like you need to get targeted likes on your Facebook pages. Sharing the content on Twitter is super easy. Just click the Retweet button and your followers will see what you shared. Twitter allows only 140 characters in the tweets. So you must make proper use of these 140 characters to market your followers. Use your creativity to write the content that fits well in 140 characters.

Twitter lets you advertise via Promoted Tweets. I see promoted tweets every now and then. During movie releases, gadget releases or any special occasions, companies market/promote using Promoted Tweets.

Even if you don’t want to spend on marketing your content, you can get good amount of visits by engaging with your followers & friends. And after you’ve gained enough attention from online social media, offline social media will also follow your story.

People love to see interesting videos. YouTube is gaining much popularity due to video marketing. A video or image is far better than a textual content. A video helps people to understand any topic more clearly than a text can do. So, if you’re into video marketing or video blogging, make sure your videos are interesting. Make sure they tell something unique about a topic.

That’s all folks! If I have missed anything or if you’ve any suggestions, please feel free to tell below.

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