A local restaurant aims super high

If you are a restaurant with branches in 2 cities in Kerala (and one in the Gulf, obviously), and are opening a new branch in one of the cities that you are already present in, how would you publicize the inauguration?

You may decide on the route to publicize the inauguration based on the potential audience that needs to see it.

So, you may release newspaper ads/inserts in that city. You may use local radio/FM ads to announce the opening. Perhaps ads on local cable TV channels too. And some digital ads targeting users in the city, on say Facebook and Instagram.

Aadaaminte Chayakada (meaning, that Adam’s Chai Shop, in Malayalam. They even have a website with a URL that almost reads like XKCD – ackd dot in) is a restaurant that operates out of 2 cities in Kerala – Kozhikode (Calicut) and Kottayam. Plus, a branch in Dubai, of course.

They are opening a new express counter in another part of Kozhikode – Karaparamba. How did they publicize it?

They made a 2+ minute animated superhero ad film! It stars, in an animated avatar, a popular Malayalee comedian named Mamukkoya as the superhero character ‘Super Mamu’. The impressive animation is by Kozhikode-based BMG Animation.

What is even more impressive is the script. The superhero story is not without context – Super Mamu is shown as a pot-bellied, middle-aged superhero who has a ‘sugar’ problem and keeps an alarm to eat his meals on time. That urgency is the context in the narrative – so, he flies to Aadaaminte Chayakada’s new Xpress Counter mid-way while arguing/fighting with a villain, and comes back after a quick meal to continue his fight!

Given the local dialect and Malayalam film references (the villain is modeled on another Malayalee actor, Saikumar, and his name is ‘Balakrishna’, as he was called—Balakrishnan—in the Malayalam film Ramji Rao Speaking, the original of the Tamil film Arangetra VeLai and the Hindi film Hera Pheri – Prabhu and Sunil Shetty played this role in Tamil and Hindi, respectively. Mamukkoya was part of that film too and the scenes and dialogs are inspired from the film too, where Saikumar and co. get a wrong call from a kidnapper and they hatch a plan to get the girl from the kidnapper and hand her over to her father in exchange of more money, as middlemen in a kidnapping and ransom deal!), the ad went places online, with a lot of people sharing it.

The interesting question is this: was it worth doing for what is simply an express extension counter for a restaurant?

The restaurant could also be doing locally targeted advertising closer to the October 9th inauguration date, but this attempt seems like an ambitious idea to expand the audience that should know about the restaurant. That isn’t wrong at all – it simply is ambitious, using the opening as an opportunity for a much broader brand-building exercise. It gave an otherwise ‘local’ establishment far greater brand visibility and built interest in people beyond the city to someday visit it!

And to spread the word, the intelligence and quality of the content did the trick in itself – it made people take note and made them organically spread the message! While they are simply sharing an interesting and amusing cartoon short film, it works like a trojan horse, also communicating the restaurant’s brand name and identity.

One possible miss is the lack of English subtitles in the video. Wherever the video has been uploaded (either on Facebook or YouTube), it is without subtitles. Subtitles are almost like table-stakes these days and help build a much wider audience who can comprehend what is going on, even if they do not understand the regional nuances implied and intended.

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