"Mauka Mauka"... these are the words that resonated during many chai-samosa conversations over the past three weeks. The smashing success of Star Sports' Mauka television commercials (find the series here), internet responses and follow-ups broke the internet with over 12 million views, and the phenomenon is only getting started.
The first Mauka TVC hit the ball with the middle of the blade, tapping perfectly into the Indian psyche. Key ingredients - the first World Cup match excitement and the fiery, traditional and ever-so-close-to-the-heart India vs. Pakistan rivalry. In this just over-a-minute-long ad, Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the ICC World Cup in India, stoked desi fantasies by showing a Pakistani cricket fan going through adolescence, marriage and ultimately parenthood while getting increasingly frustrated over his team's inability to beat India during the World Cup from 1992 onwards.
The Indian cricket team's seventh consecutive win against Pakistan at the World Cup fuelled the ad's popularity, starting the Mauka Mauka frenzy. People started creating response videos, and YouTube production houses (or channels) such as TVF and Shudh Desi Endings notched up fan followings for their own Mauka Mauka response videos/spoofs.
What started out as a simple television commercial turned into a national sensation overnight. Bubblewrap Films, the production house behind the immensely successful campaign, has been expediting its efforts to bring in the next Mauka updates. According to Afaqs, the team of "self-proclaimed underdogs" is battling wild deadlines and exhaustive production schedules to create ads in five days in contrast to the usual 20-25 days.
What we witnessed is nothing but the power of sentiment-led digital marketing at play. I'm working on a data set for a "sentiment analysis" of the Mauka Mauka campaign, which is something that I hope will be immensely worthy for my fellow marketers. As digital natives we love to see key turnouts modelled after audience behaviour, social flares and numbers. India is the hub of burgeoning interest around the internet as a forum for opinion exchange, and the stories about underdogs making it big hog all the TRPs around here.
The Mauka ads instilled a new and welcome vigour amid sports aficionados. Marketers started taking more interest in sports, creative content-mongers took the surging interest to new levels and organised mass community interactions via videos, social media, blogs, etc. I personally know a family for whom the Mauka Mauka ads proved to be an icebreaker with their non-cricket initiated neighbours. It cultivated a sense of unity amid regional and cultural diversities, and emphasised the spirit of being Indian over everything else.
Most importantly, the focus shifted from the performance of the Indian cricket team to some extent. In what usually became a tense situation -- the India vs. Pakistan match -- the Mauka campaign brought in an element of fun and light-hearted humour. When the team in blue won, Indian fans rejoiced, marketers learned viral marketing lessons, advertisers made notes and Star Sports made a lot of money -- apparently they started charging Rs 20 lakh for 10 seconds of air time since the campaign went viral.