The filter created by Rebecca Daniel, Group Creative Head at VMLY&R, roasts users with famous dialogues of Sima Taparia from the show Indian Matchmaking. The filter recognises face and throws random answers once the record button is hit. It became an overnight success story for young Indians to test out and see what Taparia thinks of them
Netflix’s original show ‘Indian Matchmaking’ and one of its key lead Sima Taparia aka ‘Sima Aunty’ has created quite a stir among the millennial crowd. “Born Matchmaker” as she calls herself, she owns a marriage bureau called Suitable Rishta and her job profile relays that she chiefly deals with traditional Indian arranged marriages that “God has given me the job to make successful on Earth,” in her own words.
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Directed by Smriti Mundhra, Taparia’s show has been receiving criticism for glorifying the arranged marriage culture that works upon problematic social features such as caste, class, fair/dark skin, body size, etc. More than once in the show, Taparia herself has been accused of boosting them, by passing comments on her clients such as “Aparna’s mind is not stable,” or “Ankita is not photogenic.”
“Slim, Trim, Educated”
Her infamous dialogue, and the title of the first episode of Indian Matchmaking, “Slim, Trim and Educated” forms the broad base of her clients’ top preferences. Taparia has received a lot of flak for propagating such stereotypical checklists, especially when it comes to women.Rebecca Daniel
Tapping on the popularity, Rebecca Daniel, Creative Group Head, VMLY&R, Mumbai, created an AR filter of Taparia on Instagram.
The filter called ‘Sima Roast’ roasts users using the commonly used lines by Taparia in the show. The filter recognises face and throws random answers once the record button is hit. Some of the other ‘roasts’ include “Not tall, slim, trim. How will you get matches?”, “I think you need to change your talking pattern,”, “For your height, I don’t think you’ll get matches”, “You are too picky. You should try to adjust a little.”
The filter has become an overnight success story for young Indians to test out and see what Taparia thinks of them.
Daniel told BestMediaInfo.com that she has always been interested in AR and wanted to learn to do it herself. “After Instagram launched its own AR platform that allowed anyone to develop and upload AR filters, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Sima Taparia and the whole conversation around Indian matchmaking was rave in the past month. Right from memes to personal chat groups, she was everywhere. I have been sharing memes and jokes about it as well and realised a lot of people could relate to my sarcasm. When I started making AR filters, I asked a bunch of friends what topic I should make a filter on, and almost unanimously, everyone said ‘Sima Taparia’. So, I got down to writing and developing it immediately.”
The filter got viral between celebs to influencers to everyone and has got 21M Impressions, 2.7M captures and 705 K shares so far.
I did not expect it to go viral, said Daniel. “There’s a joke among advertising people when clients say, ‘We want a viral idea’. Ideas don’t plan to go viral; you must put it out there, and trust that it will catch on. Sima Taparia was topical and a very viral meme so I assumed it would pick up, but four million overnight and 20 million over a week was something I never imagined.”
According to Daniel, the AR filter is getting overwhelming responses from people all over the world. It got viral in Singapore after some top influencers shared it, and all of this was organic virality, which came about with just a little bit of enthusiasm, supportive friends and zero budget.
She said that most of the millennials’ conversations still revolve around things like ‘adulting’ and ‘marriage’, even when they are fussing about it. ‘Indian Matchmaking’ really hit a nerve with this audience. The filter became popular because the show was popular. Everyone wanted to give their opinion on the way the show portrays the existing arranged marriage culture in India. This filter, with its sarcastic take on the whole thing, neither dissed it, nor approved of it, giving a wide bunch of people who loved, hated, or loved to hate the show, a venue to express themselves. There have been very serious arguments, and light-hearted banter all over social media about the show, but this filter takes all of that out of it and just brings it back down to what it was all about – pure entertainment.
Brands have been using AR filters since Snapchat, but the launch of filters on Instagram opened a whole new target group, Daniel said. “Even before Instagram, brands have brilliantly used AR, one of my favourites being the ‘Carlings – Address the Future’. These kinds of ideas require big budgets and high levels of production. But with Instagram AR, even the smaller brands can enter the world of augmented reality without having to spend a bomb. Brands like Nike have created product demo experiences on Instagram AR. While almost all brands have dabbled with the randomiser filters, there is still potential to create more immersive gamified filters that react to blinking, head movements, facial expressions, like the Flappy Bird, Football Head and PacMan filters. And it’s not just brands. Right from the Kardashians to Ellen DeGeneres, almost every celebrity has their own filter that is an extension of their own personal brand. Even cultural events like the ‘Pride Month’ and causes like the #BlackLivesMatter movement saw the birth of some brilliant Instagram AR filters that helped in driving donations.”
Speaking on how brands can strike a chord of communication with such characters, Daniel said, “Unlike TikTok or YouTube, Instagram is a personal platform and people only share content that is an extension of themselves. They’re not sharing it for an audience, they’re sharing it for their friends to see. At a party, TikTok is the funny guy in the room, while Instagram is the group of self-aware woke beings. They will not share something that makes them seem uncool, hampers their street cred, or goes against their beliefs. So, if we want their attention, we need to tap into real conversations and translate that to a virtual interaction in the form of a filter that’s more about them than it is about the brand.”
Her efforts of playing cupid have yielded a phenomenal response from the audience. There are fan pages dedicated to her, a million memes made from her golden words, her face is plastered on social media – she is clearly the woman of the moment.