Tiago ‘Tripling’: The story behind building successful branded content

With growing media fragmentation, brands are constantly looking for newer means to engage their audiences. Short format and long format content have started to gain grounds in brands’ media plans. One such initiative can be seen in the recently released branded content project for Tata Motors’ Tiago.

As part of the project, Maxus Content, the content solutions arm of Maxus, has brought together The Viral Fever and Tata Motors for a mega web series, titled ‘Tripling’, which features the newly launched Tiago as a focal point in an enriching story.

From decoding the brand’s brief to ideation and amplification, Maxus Content used its in-house research & insight, digital & content creation capabilities, along with the creative insights by The Viral Fever, to help Tata Motors bring alive ‘Tripling’.

‘Tripling’ is a story of three siblings, who set off on an unforgettable, unplanned road trip to meet their parents. Individually, their lives are just chugging along. But when Chandan Sharma (Sumeet Vyas), the eldest, returns from the US after a broken marriage and losing his job, he reunites with Chanchal Sharma Painyuli (Manvi Gargoo), the middle sister, and Chitvan Sharma (Amol Parashar), the youngest, a series of unexpected events lead to chaos. And even though they get lost pretty often along the way, the big question remains – will they find themselves?

AdGully spoke to some key people involved in this initiative – Vivek Srivatsa (Tata Motors), Pooja Verma (Maxus Content), Arunabh Kumar (TVF) and actor Sumeet Vyas – to know more about the web series ‘Tripling’, the road ahead for branded content, enhancing the storytelling factor, integrating the brand with the story plot and more.

Vivek Srivatsa, Head - Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business, Tata Motors

How did you decide to integrate Tiago into the story plot?

The story plot is based on a road trip taken by three young siblings – Chandan, Chanchal and Chitwan, who are adventurous and peppy. The reason behind choosing a web series as a platform to promote Tiago is because it has a huge youth connect. As the show revolves around a road trip, the car becomes a character of the series rather than just being a vehicle. Tiago has received a very overwhelming positive customer response and is a brand for the youth. We found this as a good way to reach out and engage with our customers.

What were the steps that you undertook to gauge the content consumption pattern of the millennials?

Today’s youth are always connected on the Internet, and they watch web series much more than even TV. We studied the content consumption pattern amongst our youth over a period of time, studied the behavioural change in content consumption and realised that the millennials liked edgy, fun and customised content with which they could connect and relate easily and at a time convenient to them. Our research found that content is most consumed in the age group of 15 -34 and accounts for 65 per cent of online video streaming consumption in India, out of which 56 per cent want to watch content on their own convenience. Mobiles are the most preferred medium for watching digital content accounting to 42 per cent. A web series is to give us a better positioning and better understanding to the core customer.

What are the ways in which brands can be successfully integrated into short format content as well as web series?

Crafting an association with brands is a very crucial decision, which depends upon the product and story. This is the space where we entrust our partners like Maxus, who understood the brand DNA and charted out an association for us according to the product/ brand fit and requirements. Even though there are traditional ways like spot buying, product placement and sponsorship, we believe a successful campaign is that where you make your product the hero and give it a character. In ‘Tripling’, Tiago plays a central character to the plot which witnesses reunion of three siblings and is an integral part of their emotional road trip.

Pooja Verma, Head, Maxus Content

What is the genesis behind the ‘Tripling’ web series?

‘Tripling’ was the result of a strong collaboration between TVF, a pioneer in digital content, and Maxus, the leader in driving innovative content campaigns for brands. The idea of capturing a journey of three siblings as they discovered the best in each other was the perfect content platform to position Tata Tiago as a vehicle of choice for the next generation.

What are the key factors that brands need to keep in mind for integration within the content?

Engaging viewers with interesting content while creatively building the brand’s visibility within the narrative is key to successful brand associations. Good branded content involves pairing the right story with the right platform in appropriate cultural contexts. It is important for the association to appear intuitive for the viewer and organic to the story. Selling ice to an Eskimo may not make sense, but an ice cream or flavoured ice could be fair game if it draws interest. In the case of ‘Tripling’, the Tiago is an enabler of a once-in-a-lifetime road trip between siblings. The story of their adventures is the highlight. If you're on the best road trip of your life, you would want it to be in a car that appeals to you. The Tiago is a car that appeals to millennials, and so it fits perfectly into the story.

What other branded content projects is Maxus working on or have on the anvil?

Quite a few projects are at various stages of development. I am unable to share details yet, but suffice to say that a lot is brewing!

What was the cost factor involved in the making of the web series?

The costs depend on the scale of production. Leading players are committed to deliver a superlative viewing experience for their fans. For instance, the scale of production in a series like ‘Tripling’ by TVF rivals a large scale TV show. In our experience, both brands and producers are investing in raising the bar on quality of content being presented to their viewers.

Arunabh Kumar, Founder & Group CEO , The Viral Fever 

What, according to you, are the key drivers for short format content?

I think the key driver for short format content is essentially because people have started watching videos on smart phones as they have less time and want to get entertained by 5-minute videos. All these technologies and social media engagement are key drivers of short format content; people want to watch not just a three-hour film, but also a 5-minute YouTube spoofy video.

For TVF, duration is not the main thing. We make 50-minute content as well as 5-minute videos. It is all about storytelling. The time it will take means it will take. But shorter format works more.

What was the creative thought process behind the series ‘Tripling’?

In ‘Tripling’, we stuck to the idea of a road trip. We all have seen friends ka Dil Chahta Hai, so we thought why not make a siblings ka Dil Chahta Hai and that’s how the idea came.

How did you decide to integrate the Tiago into the story plot?

We all got together – Tata Motors, Maxus and us – and we discussed if we have to tell a story about family values, we have to take a road trip and we have to have a brand which stands for India, and it goes without saying that Tata is one of the biggest and oldest brands that signifies India.

What are the factors that a storyteller needs to keep in mind while integrating the brand? For instance, in ‘Permanent Roommates’ Ola was an integral part...

I think this is something why we work hard, it takes a lot of re-writing so that we deliver a 20 times better product than what you see in a 30-second TVC. Now Ola and ‘Permanent Roommates’ will stay with us for another 10 years. A lot of brands want to work with TVF because we are the only youth entertainment network existing today. And anyone who wants to be a part of the younger crowd feels that they have to associate with TVF.

Would you consider web series as the future of marketing?

Yes, definitely. In fact, it is not the future, but the present of marketing.

In the current Indian ecosystem, how does short format content compare with long format content?

People are watching a three-hour film as well as a web series. It is all about how well you make it. People don’t see the duration, if they like the content, they will watch it.

Sumeet Vyas

How important is the storytelling factor and what are the key things that a content creator needs to keep in mind?

The first thing I keep in mind is what is relevant in today’s time. The kind of storytelling, the narrative has to be relevant. While watching it, the audience should be able to immediately relate to it. In terms of humour, too, it should be situational then it will be more interesting. It shouldn’t sound like we are doing comedy for the sake of comedy. Secondly, we should do something different and not repeat what everybody else is doing, this can be a little risky as well since you are trying to do something different, so the timing and the pace would be different from others. But for ‘Tripling’, we took the call and went ahead with it.



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