Indian sitcoms have been drawing huge audiences since the introduction of television sets to India. 1980-2000 was the period when we were exploring genres ranging from religion, history, music, etc. It was the time when shows like Chandrakanta, Chitrahar, Buniyad, Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc used to rule the roosters. Post this period, Indian television changed. But it changed for the worse. It was the era of Ekta Kapoor when all the sitcoms were centred on ‘saas, bahu and saajish’. In 2003, this irritating trend was broken by Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin. Unlike other shows of that time, JJKN was based on a modern working girl fighting with her insecurities. It garnered rave reviews from its viewers and won the hearts of both, the critics and the masses. Its success wasn’t a fluke; it was a marketing genius.
Marketing Strategies used by Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin
Like any tangible product, JJKN’s journey started with a need analysis. The producers of JJKN identified the need for a show to which the women of 21st century India could relate. Jasmeet Walia was the girl next door of new age India, trying to become self-dependent while battling the stereotypes created by the society. In JJKN people saw a perfect market fit.
While all other shows treated their viewers as unintelligent mass, the makers of JJKN chose to differ. The producers refrained from letting out any information about the protagonist before they gathered a considerable number of interested viewers. Initially, all the advertisements of the show just gave clues about the protagonist intriguing the Indian populace like never before. All the external communication made people more and more curious by introducing a different facet of Jassi’s personality. The buzz created ensured a colossal launch of the show.
Once the show was on air and had garnered the appreciation of its viewers, the makers launched the ‘Shaher Shaher Mein Charcha’ campaign in which the channel reached out to people from all walks of life and asked for their reviews. Another such initiative was asking people to help out Jassi when she was caught up in a moral dilemma. More than 100 thousand people participated in the SMS based opinion poll.
JJKN used launched Jassi’s Pal Club. The club was formed with a motive to create a community for the fans of the show and to provide them with a platform to advocate and propagate the show. Such word-of-mouth publicity further expanded viewer base of the show.
The makers also marketed the show extensively using offline activities. A mix of unconventional media vehicles such as flash mob, street play, etc were used to create buzz. Leaflets specially designed for trains, stations, airports, shopping malls, traffic junctions and cinema halls were also distributed.
The show also registered its presence on all the conventional media vehicles such as TV, radio and newspapers. One day prior to the launch, the channel held a major press conference to announce the show. On the day of the launch, all the newspapers carried a picture of the entire cast except Jassi with a caption “Jassi manages to give cameras a slip yet again”. Once the show went on air, Jassi was interviewed on Aaj Tak and Red FM.
The makers also launched JJKN merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs and key chains. They also released a Jassi ringtone which was downloaded 80,000 times within 2 weeks of its release.
The makers used email effectively to urge people to be a part of the Jassi’s Pal club. They mailed around 46000 people out of which 4000 became members of the club.
At the time of launch of JJKN, there were no digital marketing tools that we enjoy today. That time reaching out to the targeted audience within a budget was not easy. JJKN used the conventional channels that any show or company does, but its communication was unconventional. As a result of the successful execution of all these strategies, JJKN became one of the most celebrated shows on Indian television. It remained as the top rated show on Sony Entertainment for over a year with a TVR of 6+.