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Twitter India ’90s Nostalgia revival

Asset 1 4 min Case Study

The year 2020 has thrown a lot at us. The global news cycle has seen people coming to Twitter in search of COVID-19 updates, community building efforts in response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and to hear from politicians and government organizations. Despite the serious nature of all these issues, people have also been searching for — and bringing — moments of levity to the platform.

This summer, @TwitterIndia launched a feel-good campaign to spread joy during a challenging time for the country by celebrating everyone’s favorite decade: the ’90s. Nostalgia for this decade has enjoyed a global comeback across the fashion industry in recent years, and with COVID-19 halting production on new TV shows, films, and live events, entertainment networks in India have been diving back into their archives to surface classic pop culture moments.

For Cheryl-Ann Couto, head of Indian entertainment partnerships for Twitter, celebrating the ’90s felt like a no-brainer. “We zeroed in on the 1990s because as everywhere in the world, but perhaps even more so in India, it was an iconic decade for pop culture and entertainment — think cult comedies, campy film-song lyrics, the rise of MTV and of Indian pop stars. No decade is referenced as frequently and with as much fun and fondness as this one.”

Here’s how Twitter teamed up with some of India’s most loved entertainers to bring a dose of joy and nostalgia to the timeline.

Custom emoji + hashtag

The three-week campaign began with the launch of a custom emoji and dedicated suite of hashtags to activate it, including #90sLove#BackToThe90s, and #90sNostalgia. To maximize the reach of the launch, ’90s heroine and star of multiple classic ’90s Bollywood movies, Kajol, led the way in a game of tag, listing her favorite movies from the decade and asking a handful of Bollywood’s A-list to join in the fun. This organic activation helped #90sLove become a top trend in the country, inspiring people on Twitter to join in the fun.

“Andaz Apna Apna” watch party

India's first-ever Twitter watch party, hosted by Netflix India, celebrated the ’90s cult hit film, “Andaz Apna Apna.” Watch parties are a great way for entertainment networks to unite fans, drive views, and foster a sense of community around the shared love of film. Fans flocked to share GIFs, memes, and quotes, and some of India’s well-known names in entertainment joined in the fun, including actor Ananya Panday and comedian Kusha Kapila.

Top 10 cricket moments with Harsha Bhogle

Cricket is deeply woven into India’s culture, and there are plenty of historic sporting moments to look back on during the ’90s. For week two of the campaign, Twitter teamed up with India's foremost cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle, to recap 10 of the most memorable matches and moments via a thread and live Q&A. Thousands of people tuned in to watch the Q&A, and debate their own favorite cricket scores, tours, and players in response.

MTV Reunion

MTV helped launch music pop culture in India in the 1990s, and the first set of VJs went on to become some of India’s original influencers. Twitter teamed up with three of the era’s most iconic voices to conduct a live video reunion, hosted by MTV India. The trio used Twitter’s new conversation settings to announce the reunion, allowing a fun, easy-to-follow exchange.

Singalong and Q&A with rapper Baba Sehgal

Nothing evokes feel-good vibes quite like listening to the music of your youth. Baba Sehgal's hilarious rhymes made him a ’90s legend, so it was a delight to fans when he took to Twitter to sing ’90s songs on request, and take part in a 40-minute Q&A. Engaging with people through Likes, replies, and — in this case — video performances helps foster connection and provide validation. While singalongs require a little more effort, a Like costs nothing, and can make your fans feel seen, and more likely to engage with your Tweets in the future.

Collectively the ’90s Nostalgia campaign generated over 46K Tweets featuring ’90s hashtags, over 407K video views, and over 100 press articles.

Emily Lanfear, who oversees global partnership solutions at Twitter, says the positive response from people on Twitter to the campaign was what made it a true success, “We're all searching for moments of joy during this unprecedented time, and we're so pleased we were able to create just that by working with our partners to bring some magic to the timeline."