Branding Analysis of Sheila ki Jawani and Munni Badnaam Hui

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In India, these days there are two songs which have become a rage.  Whether you think about them as rivals or not, yet they have been posited as ones and that’s how they are marketed.  But rivalry is there nevertheless.  One is the Item number by Malaika Arora – “Munni Badnaam huyi” and the other one is Katrina Kaif’s “Sheila ki Jawani”.

Raunchy they both are, in their own ways.  Yet, they have entered the psyche of everyone.  So, even those who have argued against them for moralistic reasons, get up in a giffy to dance to their tunes!

Many comparisons could be done in terms of who was more sexy – Katrina or Malaika? – or which tune was better and more catchy etc.  But I thought that maybe we should look at these songs a little differently.

Actresses and the branding of the song: Malaika Arora is a known Item number girl and hardly an actress, so she has to attract attention to herself.  How does she do that?  By declaring herself as a “Bad girl”.  On the other hand, Katrina is riding a wave.  Well, at least in terms of popularity.  And a top actress.  So, she plays difficult to get and touts her youth and sex appeal.  Hence, while Munni is badnaam.. Sheila is Jawaan!

Dependence and Independence: Munni’s entire personality is dependent on others.  Even when she gets badnaam, she is getting badnaam for “darling tere liye”.  She can do anything for you – the viewer.  Even take ignominy for you.  Sheila will take none of this.  She is totally independent.  She declares her exclusivity – “I am too sexy for you, tere haath na aani”.  Not just that, Sheila goes a step further.  She can even pleasure her self rather than being helped by someone else (“Main to khud se pyaar jataun”).  Not being dependent on someone else for love making or even experiencing the divine love is a surely as confident a way to announce independence as it comes these days!

Choreography: While the dance for Munni was choreographed keeping her status and ways in mind – that of village gal; Sheila gets her dance to be a mix of belly dancing and modern dancing steps.  No local latka-jhatkas for her!

Dresses: Even the dresses announce the difference.  While one is in choli and ghaghra – revealing enough of course; the other one – Sheila – uses the fantasy world of an urban male.  So, Sheila starts off with the now over-rated wrapped around in a bed-sheet.. to satin gown to just a loose shirt with an open tie and black shorts (or are they boxers?).  The lines are demarcated pretty clearly.  Sheila is hotter even for the Urban Hunks, while Munni is seeking even the village bumpkin!

Ambience: Munni is happy to show her “wares” in a local desi daaru ka adda.  For Sheila of course, it has to be an upscale dancing bar.  The crowd is also handpicked as well as their expressions etc.

If one looks at all these differences, one would marvel at the amazing Branding Strategy skills of the two teams.  How well they have demarcated their market by attending to even the smallest of details!  Although many people are happy congratulating the music director and the dance director, but I think the real congratulations should be reserved for the Director and his team of branding consultants!

There was a message to be given out, and it was given out perfectly with the right environment, accessories, story, and nuances.

If I was the Marketing Professor at an MBA school, I would have these two songs as a case study right away!

Sheila ki Jawani

Munni Badnaam Hui

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