With gang wars abounding deep in the rugged heartland of Wasseypur, Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur has created quite a stir in the Indian movie industry. A similar phenomenon can be seen on social media where it has been a trending topic even on the day of release of another multi-starrer movie.
Released in two parts, Gangs of Wasseypur (GoW) 1 has built a loyal fan following with its excellent storytelling technique and has fans thirsting for GoW 2 slated for a August 8 release. In a chat with Sufiyan Khan from Ignitee digital agency, we explore the role of social media in GoW marketing.
Gangs of Wasseypur on social media
With part 1 being heralded as a success, the makers didn’t want to waste any time in announcing part 2. The trailer for part 2 was released late on Thursday night, the day before Bol Bachchan, a multi starrer film, released. In spite of that, Gangs of Wasseypur 2 was a trending topic on Twitter, overall in India as well as in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. In fact, it still is trending on YouTube in India.
The success of part 1 has played a huge role in creating buzz for part 2. “So much is the anticipation for this movie and its soundtrack that users on Twitter have been starting hash tags to pressure the makers in to releasing the music. And one of them even trended in Mumbai”.
As a part of the campaign to build up to the launch of part 2’s trailer, a pseudo election campaign was launched between the sequel’s prime characters –Ramadhir Singh and Faizal Khan. Mumbai and Delhi were plastered with election posters of Ramadhir Singh to launch his election campaign. And within a day or two of launch, these were to be smeared with Faizal Khan’s posters.
“Our brief was to translate this concept to digital media in a way that it generated enough buzz as well keep viewers of the film hooked for part 2”.
Instead of simply doing a staid media campaign, these characters were recreated on Twitter for them to wage their election battle and gather support online. Started off by creating Ramadhir Singh’s handle, ensuring that his tone of voice and content matched that of the real character in the film. Within four hours, the character garnered 150 followers and currently has more than 700 followers.
“And as a further compliment, users created accounts for Sardar Khan, Faizal Khan and even Sultan. As with the offline campaign, our Faizal Khan account went live a day later – with similar results being achieved”.
Retaining the GoW flavour on social media
GoW is the first movie to use only Hindi as the language of conversation with fans. This was a deliberate move given the nature of the movie. However, the challenge was to maintain a balance in the kind of language used, i.e. to be easily comprehensible without losing out on the flavour of the movie.
Ramadhir Singh on Twitter
But this was never an issue. Even if a certain piece of communication was ‘heavy’ in terms of the language used, it was always put together in a way where one couldn’t miss the intended message, just like in the movie.
“We knew it was a risk, but were confident that it would work. The surprise for us though, was how it took off on Twitter too, which is perceived as the more evolved medium, in comparison with Facebook”.
Strategy for the content created on Facebook and Twitter
Before this movie, it was unlikely that most people in the country would have heard of Wasseypur. In fact, one can’t even find it on Google Maps! In addition, the content of this movie was extremely differentiated – nothing like Indian audiences had ever been exposed to.
“Keeping this in mind, our strategy was to create ‘The World of Wasseypur,’ to establish an identity for this location and expose audiences to how different a certain town in India can be from the rest of the country.”
To cite an example, a simple promo video containing shots of all the gaalis in the movie, was titled as ‘Shit Wasseypuris Say’, to further help establish that this was a world different from theirs, but still plausible.
The Gangs of Wasseypur social media campaign is as unique as the movie itself. Facebook and Twitter pages are created by everyone, but what holds is how much value do they add to the brand. The treatment on social media is very close to the tone and flavour of the movie. Creating the main characters on Twitter retaining their unique charisma and personality and recreating the election battles as in the movie, are two brilliant moves in terms of fan engagement and brand recall.
A lot more is in store for the GoW 2 release and as promised, the makers will not let people sober down from the Wasseypur hangover. We have to wait and watch for this revenge saga to unleash upon us an altogether new form of movie marketing through social media.