NetFlix FLBW: Borderline Surrogate Marketing for Bollywood Nepotism?
The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives has been in the buzz as it had garnered a sizable viewer traction upon its release. The first impression I had for this show was of a low budget Keeping up with Kardashians: Desi Edition, which indeed was true. The Indian demography was missing this genre of reality TV, and Karan Johar came to the rescue.
Yes, the series is binge-worthy but would I watch it's Season 2?
Maybe Not. But I would love to watch a series called the Lives of Bollywood husbands like Sanjay Kapoor talking about Bills and Boys.
Criticisms aside, I feel that this show aimed at bringing back the Karan Johar crowd post the Sushant Singh Rajput controversy over the exposition of Bollywood nepotism and the suppression of rising talents.
The show did a playbook of everything that there is to surrogate marketing. The scenes showcased the cast's lifestyle and their identity in the industry. When we look at viewer trends, viral content always had an affinity towards unattainable opulent lifestyle and fandom. Hence positioning the show towards this type of content does garner a large viewership.
While watching this show as a Marketeer, every episode was scripted and had its Call To Action for their independent businesses. The show does have multiple features of their daughters, making it evident that they are preparing the Indian audience when they make their debut in Bollywood. The scripted sequences of the cast fangirling and overemphasizing how amazing Karan Johar is, just makes a solid case for his revival efforts to the industry.
The show got released on Netflix on November 27. Post-release, google trends gave an intriguing insight into who among the cast benefited the most.
Even though Maheep dominated conversations, Neelam and Seema seemed to have captivated the audience better. But as the buzz faded off, Karan Johar got exactly what he wanted.
Apart from the main cast, Shanaya seemed to have kicked off well in the west but failed to capitalize on the Indian audience despite her extra screen time. But Ananya Pandey seemed to have bolstered her strong base in India and Australia.