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AIB launches ad wing with Truly Madly's ‘Creep Qawwali;’ plans major expansion

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MUMBAI: The rather (in)famous comedy group All India Bakchod (AIB) has some ambitious expansion plans up their sleeves. The group has launched its advertising wing called Vigyapanti, which kick-started with their latest comic presentation - Creep Qawwali. A keen observer would notice that the video is in fact an advertisement for the start-up dating portal - Truly Madly.

What's more, brand AIB isn’t putting a stop to their expansion plan with just Vigyapanti as the group also has plans to foray into long-form content production as well as movie production. 

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com about the group’s plans for the next couple of years, AIB's Tanmay Bhat says, “There is no precedent to what we do -- from entertainment to working with brands and start-ups. We are soon getting into long form productions and hopefully into movie production by the end of next year.”

Coming to Vigyapanti, while AIB has taken on embedded branding projects for various established brands, their latest output is a first from their newly conceived advertising wing.

Bhat says, “One of our copy writers suggested the term. It sounded almost like ‘adgiri,’ which rings close to the way we approach a brand. The name Vigyapanti just fits with brand AIB.”

Bhat is on a mission to establish a 15 members strong team of copywriters by the start of next year.

One doesn’t need to look too far in history to notice AIB’s roots in advertising. Bhat has been associated with the advertising industry before. “I was supposed to become a copywriter before AIB and stand-up comedy happened,” says Bhat in his signature comical intonation. So why this call back to advertising? “Because our biggest source of income, even for the YouTube channel, is working brands,” comes his simple answer. “Brands is where the money is.”

AIB’s ad wing idea didn’t pop out of nowhere. The four team members - Bhat, Gursimran Khamba, Rohan Joshi and Ashish Shakya - were toying with the idea of starting an agency for over eight months now. “We were dwelling on the thought without any copywriters on our team. After meeting a bunch of people for about six months, we were able to get some fine writers onboard with us,” says Bhat, referring to the new additions to the team namely Girish Narayandass, Devaiah Bopanna, Vignesh Raja and Mihir Lele.

However, it wasn’t until AIB worked with Truly Madly that they locked the idea of using their strength to make start-ups massive. “Working with a start-up is a very refreshing experience. There’s no bureaucracy involved unlike the big brands. So we decided, maybe we should focus on start-ups, which are either getting funded or are looking to get funded,” shares Bhat, adding that the romantic idea of “using our popularity to good use” is part of the appeal.

A pertinent question here is, how affordable Vigyapanti will be for such start-ups? If they go by their romantic ideologies and lessen the cost, how will this be a profitable business for the brand? To this, Bhat says, “We plan to go about this on a case by case basis. For those who can’t afford us, we might decide to do away with the creative cost and charge them only for the production cost. We are also seriously considering on picking up equities from them as opposed to monetary transactions.”

This doesn’t however mean that AIB will cut all ties with the mega brands who seek their expertise. They will continue to do promotional videos for sponsors and other established brands through their YouTube channel.

When quizzed about OML’s (AIB’s managing body) involvement with Vigyapanti, Bhat replies, “OML manages AIB and its business so they are with us on most of the things that we do. Now they have moved on from being just managers to consultants. I like having Vijay and Ajay Nair involved. In fact, the idea of pivoting to start-ups and picking up equities instead is an idea, which came from Vijay Nair. Given his experience, he is someone who can think long term in the ecosystem.”

While Bhat declines to divulge the names of all the brands Vigyapanti has onboard, he does add that Hotstar is their next client. As was previously reported by Indiantelevision.com, AIB will be doing a news comedy series called On Air with AIB for Star India's over-the-top (OTT) platform Hotstar. “Vigyapanti has also done promos for AIB’s upcoming show on Hotstar. We will take care of their digital and outdoor promotions as well,” says Bhat.

Pertinent to note here is that the collaboration with AIB for the show made Hotstar an exception to Vigyapanti’s ‘start-up only’ rule.

“We are already in talks with four or five start-ups regarding equity and stakes. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we can roll out our client list for the next five to six months,” says Bhat.

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