Dr. Shriram Nene, better known in India as Madhuri Dixit’s husband, launched his YouTube channel on October 9, 2020.
After the introductory video where he talks about the kind of content he intends to share, the 2nd video went live on October 15, 2020. The topic?
“Is your food delivery safe or not in the pandemic time?”
Good, topical question and it was useful that a medical doctor was addressing this question. He goes through the 6+ minute video very confidently, handles the most common questions people may have, showcases how to handle the home delivery and reheating process, and ends it with a rather generic, “as a food source, once in a while… this is ok”. Pragmatic and very real, coming from a doctor.
If you watch the video, from 02:35 to 03:25, a specific brand of pizza is being showcased. It’s apparent Dr. Nene ordered pizza from Domino’s, though he doesn’t talk about the brand at all. Would someone even specifically notice it was Domino’s Pizza he ordered for this showcase? I don’t know, but I did… for a reason.
Dr. Nene shared the video on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on October 18th.
Domino’s India retweeted his tweet the next day. How did they notice that he had ordered their pizza? I don’t know, but it’s good they did and retweeted it.
A couple of signs that bear a closer look.
Dr. Nene’s tweet (and Insta profile link, and Facebook post’s URL, which for some reason, he doesn’t share the actual video on Facebook natively) contains a bitly short link that is very cleanly created – “FoodDeliverySafeOrNot”.
One could simply consider it as meticulous work from Dr. Nene’s production crew.
Then, take another sign – his YouTube channel has a mention that it is “Digitally Powered by One Digital Entertainment “. One Digital’s logo appears in the shorter video he has shared on social media as well.
If you take a look at One Digital’s clients on their own website, they do have Domino’s India as a client.
The showcase on their page has a tie-up between singer Raftaar and Domino’s India, for the 2015 Diwali. Raftaar’s video has the “Digitally Powered by One Digital Entertainment” footer too, incidentally.
So, the question I have been mulling in my head so far: was this a paid/formal content partnership between Domino’s India and Dr. Shriram Nene, mediated by One Digital Entertainment?
If I go by conventional rules of such partnerships, I’d say no – there is no Domino’s mention anywhere in Dr. Nene’s content or social shares. His content too is broadly useful without alluding to Domino’s by choice or implication in any way.
However, I’d say this is understandable – doctors in India are barred from promoting products. I have already written quite a bit about this, in different contexts.
– Why do Indian-origin dentists practicing in the UK sell toothpaste to Indians?
– Dr. Neena Gupta and Dr. Akshay Kumar
Incidentally, in the first post, I have mentioned another famous ‘Dr. Shriram’ being deregistered from the Medical Council of India for appearing in an ad for Dabur Chyawanprash – Dr. Shriram Lagoo.
So, I’d brush off Domino’s retweet of Dr. Nene’s tweet as a mere coincidence. To back that assumption, I’d also mention that Domino’s has not shared Dr. Nene’s posts on Instagram and Facebook (they could have, if it was a formal tie-up, as per the process of maximizing the reach. But, they haven’t).
However, if at all this was a formal tie-up, I’d like to mention that it has been executed monumentally well! The nuances of not mentioning the brand explicitly are brilliantly done, and Dr. Nene even sounds completely neutral to the very choice of pizza or order outside food, in his summary towards the end. But, given how prominent Domino’s brand colors and the package is, any normal viewer could not help but notice the brand of pizza ordered to demonstrate food safety during the pandemic. Whether that creates a desire to order pizza, and that too Domino’s pizza, in specific, is a different question.
It did, to me 🙂
But we have decided not to risk ordering outside food as long as we can (or till we get vaccinated).
So, I reigned in my desire for now.