Is Meme An Effective technique of Undercover Marketing ?

“Indiranagar ka Gunda hun main!”

Well, we all know who happened to be the new Gunda in the town recently, Rahul Dravid, of course. Rahul Dravid a figure known for his calm and cool persona otherwise came out to be destructive, uncivilised and ill-mannered in the CRED’s all new IPL campaign. The clip was posted with an honest and humble description saying “Hi, this is Rahul Dravid writing the description for this video. Sorry, I lost my temper there. I am meditating these days.”


Redeeming CRED Coins wasn’t ridiculous at all


CRED, a credit card bill payment platform, Known for its unique ads released their much awaited IPL campaign on April 9, 2021. It didn’t seem like a marketing campaign at first and was trolled for fun and entertainment. The ad made a sarcastic comment on how redeeming CRED coins sounded as ridiculous as a man with calm persona to have anger issues. The 23 seconds YouTube clip wasn’t it, CRED actually used social media’s most engaging activity “memes” to engage with much larger audience which it would have otherwise missed.


Soon after the ad was released Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms were flooded with memes and comments on the same.



These memes were shared and reshared with new and funnier modifications on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp. CRED very smartly grabbed the attention of not only IPL players and followers but also memers and much active common public on social media.


A fun comment to your use


Other brands like Zomato and Amul too used this ad as a medium to engage with their viewers. Amul created a cool cartoon image on Rahul Dravid’s angry avatar stating “Jammy is Raging? Butter is calming.. Take a deep bread (breath)” referring to Rahul’s nickname the brand suggests the viewer to stay calm in a similar and take deep bread.



Zomato also came up with a humorous and sarcastic tweet “deliveries in Indiranagar miiight be late today due to an angry gunda on the road.” Zomato, as always, took notice of the opportunity and used it as a smart promotional technique. To this again there were memes and re-tweets.




Undercover Marketing


The commonly used term for this is Undercover Marketing, sometimes also known as stealth or buzz marketing. Undercover marketing, a subset of Guerrilla marketing, is a technique used to convey a hidden message among the viewers without actually directly marketing the brand or its products or services. The trick here is to generate a buzz among the people and get them talking excitedly about a brand or its services. Very common techniques of undercover marketing happened to be featuring brand names, products or services in a movie or TV shows; often also through endorsement of public figures or through other platforms outside the advertising context.


The Exit Sign Modification


In January, 2007 Axe came up with a very unique idea of advertising itself by using undercover marketing. They modified the generally used exit symbol by incorporating a personalised sticker of four women chasing the man made on the symbol. This was in line with the very famous Axe commercial implying Axe body spray attracts opposite sex.




Power of Social Media


With over 90 per cent of 4.20 billion mobile internet users worldwide being active on social media platforms, give brands an immense opportunity to use these platforms for engaging and growing awareness among much larger audience. However, the typical traditional ways of advertising on digital platforms have not only become ineffective for the brands but are also becoming frustrating for the viewers. Whenever an ad pops up the “skip ad” button is the first thing they look for. Hence, becoming creative and unique is what brands look for.


One of the most engaging and loved activities on all social media platforms among youths happens to be memes. Meme, an internet culture, is a type of idea or behaviour which is spread in a humorous way on social media platforms. People generally tend to relate to these memes and shares them for fun and often to convey messages. The best thing about meme is that it is created and re-created by what’s actually present. The twist here is that the entire media can be redirected by just adding a new comment or caption to it. Meme has become one of those most effective social media campaign techniques which brands target to grab attention and engage efficiently with people world-wide.


Aggressive marketing in a polite way


Duolingo, a language learning application, used this technique aggressively back in 2019. The idea was to keep people talking about Duolingo. It released its green owl symbol with a gun in hand implying that if you ignore Duolingo it might kill you. The Duolingo memes by Reddit became very popular and were shared and reshared again and again.