Sidhu Moose Wala and the Advertising Connection, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

Sidhu Moose Wala (file photo)

I was really shocked. The singer Sidhu Moose Wala was dead. Beaten down. I couldn’t bring myself to believe the news flash.

Sidhu and I had worked together on a very interesting (and noble if I may add) project just two years ago. To be told that we were no longer among us was like a blow.

Let me tell the story backwards.

When the Covid Pandemic started in March 2020, my services were requested and commandeered by the then Director General of Police, Punjab, Mr. Dinkar Gupta, IPS to assist him in social media communication and state police digital.

Punjab was the first Indian state to announce a lockdown, followed by a curfew. What caused this, ahead of the rest of India, was the influx of nearly 90,000 NRIs who had entered the state from overseas geographies without adequate testing for coronavirus at airports in Delhi, Amritsar and Chandigarh. The country had still not gone into emergency mode in the face of the coming pandemic, and these foreign returnees had just melted into the hinterland without anyone knowing whether they were infected or not.

On March 21, 2020, DGP Gupta pressed the panic buttons. These foreign returnees, some perhaps already infected with Covid, had vanished in the hinterland. And unknowingly began to infect friends and families in large numbers. DGP Gupta said we needed to find a “creative” way to get the word out about the influx of NRIs – warning families and friends to quarantine any returning relatives and have them tested for Covid. These NRIs were now prevalent across the state in cities and towns and the police had no way (or resources) to track them down and test them. What was needed was a community effort.

Punjab has very poor local TV coverage. Newspapers mostly no longer printed physical editions.

The palisades and exterior made no sense to use as no one was allowed out of their home. So how do you reach the general public with advisories and warnings? Twitter penetration in Punjab was negligible to low – 99% of Punjab Police personnel were not on Twitter. Facebook and Insta were more popular, but both were really considered “personal” social areas.

Punjab is a state with the maximum musical hits in the country. So I decided to use a very different social medium – You Tube – to spread our message to the general public. Not Twitter, not Facebook, not Instagram – just You Tube, with some support from Google, to spread our message.

While I had offered to help the Punjab Police, access to talent and resources due to the lockdown of most of the country was becoming a big issue. So I contacted Chraneeta Mann from The Mob, a creative boutique in Delhi. There couldn’t have been anyone better – Chraneeta is herself a trained Punjabi singer who once sang with the famous Jagjit Singh. And of course, she is a very decorated editor.

The next morning, Chraneeta returned with three plot outlines, which I sent to Punjab Police Headquarters in Chandigarh. DGP Dinkar Gupta immediately gave the green light to ‘Gwacheya Gurbaksh’, a story about The Missing Gurbaksh, a story about a Punjabi returning from Italy abroad.

This Sunday was a national lockdown. With no other available resources or software at my disposal, I crafted Chraneeta’s story and put it on a simple PowerPoint presentation.

Meanwhile, Punjab Police have contacted famous Punjabi singer Diljit Dosanjh to do a voiceover from his home in Mumbai. I spoke to him, I briefed him and he very kindly agreed to lend his voice but warned me that he had no one to fill in the music. NoFiltr’s Prashant Sharma, also working from home, was kind enough to put on some music and effects. Monday morning, the film was ready.

But in parallel, the Punjab police also introduced me to Sidhu Moose Wala, a well known Punjabi singer from Mansa. I had never heard of Sidhu. But a quick Google search on him dispelled any doubts about his fame. My cousins ​​in Punjab also assured me that it was all the rage in India and Canada, UK, USA and Australia. Moose Wala’s biography and statements on the net, however, were about guns, blood and murder. His music sounded gory. I called him with some trepidation.

Sidhu was polite, respectful and very caring. My fears of him faded and we established an instant rapport. He listened to the brief; heard Chraneeta’s words and interacted with me at length. He offered to use Chraneeta’s lyrics as source material and write his own lyrics based on the concept of ‘Gawacheya Gurbaksh’ and have his own team do the musical and artistic direction in Canada while he sang the song from his hometown in Mansa. We talked, chatted, discussed and laughed as the song took shape over the next few days. Thus, Thursday, March 26 has been set as the launch date for the two videos.

Diljit Dosanjh’s song had a lukewarm reception as it was garage patchwork at best.

The video for Sidhu Moose Wala’s song reached over three million views in no time. The song hit 3.8 million views on YouTube in the first week alone. Sidhu was delighted. “Madame ji thank you,” he told me. I have to thank you, I said, a little embarrassed. We promised to work together again soon.

Alas, that will never happen.

Sidhu left. That too in a brutal murder. However, in my limited interaction during this week in March 2020, I found him to be a well mannered, respectful and polite gentleman. And a quality professional.

Sidhu Moose Wala, RIP.

Sometimes real life precedes reality. On Friday, March 27, 2020, media reported the death of a 71-year-old man, Baldev Singh, in Nawanshahr, Punjab. The deceased had returned from Germany and Italy on March 6, 2020. Back in his village, he continued to visit friends and relatives in more than 15 villages in Punjab. Unfortunately, in addition to infecting 17 members of his own family, he also transmitted the virus to his grandson and granddaughter. Strangely, there were many coincidences between the Moose Wala song and the reality of the old man’s death, including commonalities about returning from Italy and his grandson getting infected.

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