Monday, November 28, 2011

Marketing case study: Analysis of "Why this Kolaveri Di?" song. Question: Why is the song a big hit all over the world?

This song-u "Why this Kolaveri Di?" is a big hit-tu.

But why-u?

I am myself from Karnataka, a state next to Tamil Nadu in India. When we speak English in Kannada or Tamil, we add the words -u at the end of the English words. So car becomes Car-u, bus becomes bus-u and so on. It is just a way to speak in native language. English is part and parcel of communication in Indian languages.Everybody in India understands common English words.See Appendix 1 at the end for explanation about the Tamil words in the song.

But why da and why di, is this song-u a hit-tu? Some thoughts-u:
  • Innovative music used by Anirudh - a new Music director with fresh ideas & energy
  • Innovative lyrics by Dhanush - An award winning actor
  • Aishwarya is the daughter of Rajnikanth - Megastar of South India
  • Shruti is the daughter of Kamal Hassan - another Megastar of South India
  • Simplicity of words used. No big or complex words here
  • Use of English words for wider reach - not everyone knows Tamil. But everyone knows English
  • Common theme of love failure - this is HUGE is India.
  • Use of Auto-tune - that works well
  • Use of 1-2-3-4 - that works well. Makes it catchy
  • Use of a variety of instruments in this song - that evokes your senses
  • A range of beats and pace of music
  • Casual feel to the song. Happy go lucky song.
  • A lot of boys in India who feel that they were dumped in love / not given a chance by the girls
  • This song blames the girl for dumping the guy - the girl was heartless and the guy was a nice guy :) Girl is the villain.
  • The song is asking the girl "Why are you upset? Why the anger? Why the murderous rage?" Why this Kolaveri? Why are you angry, girl?
  • "Di" is slang for a girl. "Da" is slang for a guy in Tamil.
  • This song is a glorification of boys who have been dumped. It makes them feel good and feel happy. 
  • The song is almost a CELEBRATION of being dumped by a girl!
  • Tamil is spoken widely and a LOT of people understand basic Tamil words in India.
  • Fast spread of the song through YouTube to gain mass following
  • It is as much a success of modes of communication as much as it is about the music
  • Further spread (going viral) through Twitter, Facebook and Youtube remixes / parodies. 
  • Content is fresh and original 
  • A lot of Indians overseas, Indians especially in South India loved this song
  • A bridge between Indian culture and western culture. NRIs (Overseas Non Resident Indians) use Youtube to connect to India. 
  • You Tube has become a medium to listen to songs and not just watch videos 
  • The best lines of the song?:  As below:
  • White skin - girl-u girl-u. Girl heart-u black-u
  • This is NOT about racism. This is not about caucasian or white people. This is fair skinned Indian girls. In India, girls with fair skin and thought to be more attractive than the dark skinned girls. If a girl has fairer skin, she is more in demand than the dark skinned girls.
  • Hand-la glass, Glass la scotch, Eyes full of tears-u
  • Guys like to drown their miseries in alcohol. Guys like to cry their hearts out over love failures.
  • Empty life, girl come, Life reverse gear
  • An entry of a girl in a guy's life brings colour. Dating is not that common in India. Socializing between boys and girls is not as much as in the West.
  • "God, I am dying now-u. She is happy how-u?" :) 
  • Guy accuses the girl of being happy despite him being sad. Depicts the girl as heartless. 
  • This song for soup-boys-u, we don't have choice-u!
In summary, this was a success of modern communication as much as it was about the song.  Internet has revolutionized transfer of information. Plus this was a simple, silly, song about love failure that everybody can relate to, with catchy tune.
Can this be replicated? Yes. Indeed. Check out the female version that has got almost half a million hits in less than 3 days. This is proof that not just the original, but a copy can work too. As long as it has all the ingredients in it.

This song has even inspired T shirt sales!

Written by Gerry Som. 
MBA student. 
Ted Rogers School of Management.
Ryerson University. 
Toronto, ON, Canada.

Appendix 1: Explanation of some of the words in the song.
  • Soup: Love failure
  • Soup Boys:  Guy who has been dumped by a girl 
  • Soup Song:  Love Failure Song 
  • Moonu: Moon (also refers to Number 3 in Tamil) 
  • Mama: Dude 
  • Kolaveri:  Murderous Rage/ Killer Rage 
  • Di:  used to usually call girls in a crude way (some says its shortened form of de(ar) and boys are called ‘da’ which is shortened form of darling) 
  • Kai:  hand 
  • Bovu:    bye-bye shown by the girl resulting in failure..
  • Sariya Vaasi- Play (Instrument) Correctly

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