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How Amazon Prime Video heralded the return of hit Indian crime drama Mirzapur

Amazon Prime Video won the ‘Best B2C Integrated Campaign’ at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Here, the team behind the winning entry reveal the secrets of its successful campaign for the second season of Indian TV crime series Mirzapur.

The challenge

The second season of one of the most successful OTT shows in India, Mirzapur, was back after a long-awaited two-year hiatus. While season one had been a huge success, in season two the canvas was bigger and the universe more immersive. The plot delved into the nexus that exists between politics and crime, the women of Mirzapur became bolder and took on the patriarchy head-on and the addition of new characters amped up the conflict and added fresh appeal to the show.

The core objectives of the marketing campaign for season two were: leverage the existing fans of season one to not only engage but also evangelize; broaden the audience base of the show and acquire new customers; and to weave the franchise into pop culture by making season two a cultural hit with young adults.

The campaign

Each of the core objectives was addressed in a specific manner through the campaign.

To leverage the season one fan base, there was consistent engagement on the Mirzapur social handle between seasons, with memes and clips of popular dialogue to ensure the title was always top of mind. Anticipation for season two was built using the tag #MS2W (Mirzapur Season 2 - When?) for the year leading up to launch.

To honor fans' love for Mirzapur and answer the question most asked on social, the team created a four-day micro campaign announcing the season two launch date and had character-specific engagement with fans.

When the show eventually launched, a key message to all the fans was to not spoil others’ viewing experience with spoilers. To communicate this message we create videos with Maqbool – a show character who had a terrifying image, where he warned people, ’Spoiler mat dena, warna maqbool aajaega’ - don’t spread spoilers, or you shall answer to Maqbool!

Post-launch, to build a fear of missing out among those yet to see S2, the campaign communication was shifted to ‘Mirzapur nahi dekhe, galti kiye’ - ’You haven’t watched Mirzapur? You’ve made a mistake.’

To broaden the audience base of the show, post-S1 research indicated that certain audiences had rejected S1 based on lack of intrigue in the storyline and too much violence. To address this and engage with non-viewers of S1, the team ran a long lead S1 campaign for a month prior to S2 trailer launch with sharply designed creatives revolving around softer storylines. While the trailer on Youtube was an age-restricted red band trailer, a separate green band trailer was created and promoted via paid digital spends at the backend to reach newer audiences with our key unit.

The team created larger than life outdoor installations in multiple smaller towns to garner attention and build intrigue and scale in the minds of potential consumers. These installations also helped engage fans as there was an option for them to scan a QR code and vote for their favorite characters.

To weave the show into pop culture, the team recognized that key units need to feature dialogue and meme-worthy moments, so they could become a part of conversation among young adults. The show announcement unit finished with ‘Galti Kiye,’ which went on to become the topic of multiple memes. It also eventually led to the post-launch campaign concept - ‘Nahi dekhe toh galti kiye’. The trailer too had moments and dialogue that were quickly adopted as social media chatter.

The results

Mirzapur became the most-watched show on the service in India within just seven days of the release. As tracked by ListenFirst, based on the social mentions, season two reigned as the most talked about Indian Original streaming series to date.

The show announcement video organically garnered 13M+ views on YouTube, and on the announcement day, three campaign videos were trending simultaneously on YouTube.

A long lead S1 campaign allowed the team to engage with a large section of audiences on the service who eventually came back to sample S2. Furthermore, making the entire series free for a week and targeting non-viewers helped garner 16x as many new viewers for the show, compared to the week prior. The red band trailer on also went on to trend at number one on YouTube and garnered over 20m views organically.

A large portion of the new audience that came to watch S2 hadn’t watched S1 - thanks to the success of the S1 recap campaign.

Use of the show handle following on social grew four times by the end of the campaign.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.

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