Shajesh Menon
Nov 29, 2018

Opinion: Sacred Games, a masterclass in marketing

What can the hit series from Netflix teach marketers?

Opinion: Sacred Games, a masterclass in marketing
In this day and age of binge-watching and on-demand content, for the Indian urban audience the recent Netflix drama, Sacred Games, was a much-needed desi series that was structured as a Hollywood-style narrative. Offering respite from done-to-death storylines, I noted a few points from this fantastic series which serve as lessons a marketer can apply to any brand campaign.
One of the biggest challenges marketers often face is adapting global campaigns for the Indian market or creating region-specific campaigns that need to tie back to global launches. Here is how Sacred Games plays into all of this.
Localising content: Amidst the world of ‘The Crown’, ‘Narcos’ and ‘Stranger Things’, the Indian
audience finally had a drama based in India and in present times. Localizing campaigns is essential
in order to resonate with your audience. Here, I don’t just mean converting campaigns into
regional languages or adding a few local success stories. Rather, including market-specific angles
and industry-lead insights into your campaign or launch right at the ideation stage. Give your
audience content they can relate to and not necessarily always about your brand or product. I can
vouch for the fact that if you were to talk about the larger industry issue specific to your client or
partner’s ecosystem and how it can be addressed, your audience will connect a lot better, rather
than the approach of just tweaking and presenting a global campaign for the Indian market.
A star-cast: As much as most of us hate to admit it, we tend to decide on a show or movie by its
cast, and the Sacred Games was no different. With some of the industry’s biggest names and
budding talent with some serious acting chops, we were inadvertently drawn to watch the Sacred
Games. Apply this to your events or campaigns, bring in your brand’s big guns or industry
specialists if need be, to interact with your potential clients. Create avenues such as experiential
zones or outreach programs to give your prospects/customers a glimpse into your brand story
using stars and tech evangelists, and hook your audience from the get-go.
Promote, promote and promote: Though tactical, this phase possibly plays an important role. Just
before Sacred Games premiered, there wasn’t a street corner I could cross without seeing a
billboard. While the show’s promos at traffic signals definitely got most of our attention, they also
managed to draw eyeballs online. This constant reminder of the show’s launch helped build up
anticipation and curiosity. Similarly, as marketers, it is critical to plan and use the right medium
to promote events, launches or campaigns. Make sure the audience sees your brand at the right
time and feels compelled to discover more, thereby wanting to interact. This can be good content
pushed out on relevant platforms, creating experience zones, setting-up interactive workshops or
giving away creatively designed merchandise. The key is to figure out where and how your
audience is consuming information.
Engaging delivery: Here comes the staging, packaging and relatability. Each episode of Sacred
Games, though inspired by the book was staged to hit your gut and make you seek for more.
Scene enactments, frame compositions and the seamless narrative is the parallel to draw
inspiration for a stellar on-ground delivery, especially during events and roadshows. Eventually,
your event format, the content structure, topics and the speaker line up staged perfectly in alignment to your marketing objectives will be the clear strategic differentiator which will ultimately lead to leaving behind an emotional trail. When your audience steps out of your event thoroughly convinced and willing to get back to you for more is much like the restlessness this series created.
So, the next time you are binge-watching a series, think about how you got there. Why did you choose to watch that particular show? Where did you hear about it? How did you/your network respond to its promotional material and marketing language? Use the same analogy when you plan your activities locally. Understand your audience, get to know their ecosystem and ensure they always have an immersive yet holistic brand experience.
The author is founder and CEO, The Younion
Campaign India

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