Koo co-founder Mayank Bidawatka on breaking the language barrier for social media users

The home-grown app recently unveiled its first major Television campaign

Mumbai: Having launched at the outset of the pandemic, home-grown multi-lingual micro-blogging platform, Koo has already garnered over fifteen million users in a short span of twenty months. Pitched as India’s alternative to the US microblogging platform Twitter, the app allows its users to express themselves in their mother tongue, providing its offerings across regional languages.

“We looked at the existing products and saw there was no platform to openly express oneself in Indian languages,” said co-founder Mayank Bidawatka, an alumnus from the Asian Institute of Management. “That’s when we realised that there’s a very large market out there waiting to be unleashed.”

The brainchild of founders Mayank Bidawatka and Aprameya Radhakrishna, the home-grown app has added five million users in the last quarter. The Bengaluru-based app currently supports nine Indian languages, namely, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Assamese, Marathi, Bangla, Gujarati and English, and is in the process of adding three more.

But, before Koo, the duo had co-founded Vokal- an expert-based Q & A platform in regional languages, an Indian version of Quora. “That time we got a lot of feedback from experts who felt that they were just answering questions that people asked. But, they also wanted to use an open expression platform where they could also share their thoughts freely,” said Bidawatka in an exclusive interview with

It is this thought that also forms the core of its first-ever Television campaign Koo Kiya Kya?’ launched during the recently concluded T20 World Cup 2021. Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the campaign consisted of a series of short-format twenty-second advertisements that delve on the comfort of expressing oneself in one’s native tongue.

Talking about the objective behind the brand’s latest campaign, Bidawatka said, “To get all the people who are passive creators to become active creators, it was important for them to know what Koo’s about. With this campaign we are trying to drive the thought that ‘if you have anything on your mind, come and say it on Koo’. Hence the line ‘Dil mein jo bhi ho, Koo pe kaho’. Coupled with the slogan ‘Koo kiya kya’ that’s the broad concept behind the campaign.”

The brand also made a conscious decision not to have a celebrity endorse the campaign. “It needs to cater to the masses. Hence we used common people in the ads to show that anyone could be creating- You don’t need to be a celeb or big guy to create,” said the co-founder.

The start-up largely depended on online penetration in its initial phase of outreach, but going ahead it plans to make use of both mainstream media as well as digital media in equal measures. “Both of these are important for different reasons. Digital helps us to drive downloads, and mass media aids in creating brand awareness,” he added.

Building awareness was also top-of-the-mind when the brand decided to use Cricket as a launch-pad for its maiden campaign. “The T20 tournament is one of the most viewed properties of the country, plus if you want mass awareness, it’s one f the best properties to advertise in,” he said.

When asked about the consumer demographic the platform currently caters to Bidawatka said, “We have people across genders, age-groups, across cities and tier two towns. This product is made for the country at large where people find their topics of interest, their people of interest. Also it’s relatively simple to use.”

With the growing menace of hate speech on social media becoming a challenge for social media platforms, Bidwatka said, Koo is working on a feature that allows users to self-verify. “This way we’ll know we aren’t dealing with a fake account or someone who’s masked,” he signed off.

Latest Reads
LT Foods names K Ganapathy Subramaniam as marketing head

Mumbai: Consumer food company LT Foods has announced the appointment of K Ganapathy Subramaniam as head of marketing. He will be responsible for developing and implementing branding and marketing strategies to strengthen LT Foods’ brands in India, the company said.

MAM Media and Advertising People
Lokmat’s G2 Snacks onboards Agency09 as creative agency

Mumbai: G2 Snacks, a new entrant in the FMCG industry from newspaper publication Lokmat, has named Agency09 as its creative agency, following a multi-agency pitch.  The agency will be responsible for defining the brand communication via print that reaches the entire Maharashtra and exploring the...

MAM Media and Advertising Account
Vijay Raaz, Varun Sharma highlight EaseMyTrip’s ‘full-refund policy’ in new TVC

Mumbai: In these times of travel uncertainty with the third Covid-19 wave upon us, online travel platform EaseMyTrip has come out with a new television campaign that highlights its full-refund policy for medical emergencies. The quirky ad campaign featuring actors Varun Sharma and Vijay Raaz...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
Industry veteran Prasoon Kumar joins Arzooo as VP-strategy

Mumbai: Consumer electronics veteran Prasoon Kumar has joined B2B commerce platform Arzooo as vice president, strategy. Kumar has been at the forefront of leading distribution, sales and channel strategy for some of India's largest white goods brands. At Arzooo, Kumar's charter will be to drive the...

MAM Media and Advertising People
Parle Hide & Seek plays cupid for adolescent love in new campaign

Mumbai: With still some days to go for Valentine’s Day, food company major Parle Products has launched its latest advertising campaign for its chocolate chip cookie brand Hide & Seek highlighting feelings of adolescent romance. 

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
apna appoints Shantanu Preetam as its first CTO

Mumbai: Homegrown jobs and professional networking platform apna has announced the appointment of Shantanu Preetam as its first chief technology officer (CTO). As the CTO at apna, Preetam will be responsible to build upon the technology foundation, strengthening it further through the platform and...

MAM Media and Advertising People
Chimp&z Inc bags digital mandate for MuscleXP, Man Arden

Mumbai: Merge Infinity Network’s integrated marketing agency Chimp&z Inc has bagged the digital marketing mandate for MuscleXP, a premium-quality sports supplement brand, and Man Arden, a male grooming and skincare brand from the house of Emmbros Overseas Lifestyle Pvt Ltd. As part of the...

MAM Media and Advertising Account
Onsurity names Asleen Madhok as PR & corporate communications head

Mumbai: Onsurity, the tech-led monthly subscription-based employee health benefits platform has named Asleen Madhok as its public relations and corporate communications head.

MAM Media and Advertising People
Amazon’s Kunal Tiwari joins GoKwik as chief product officer

Mumbai: GoKwik on Wednesday announced the onboarding of Amazon’s Kunal Tiwari as its chief product officer. According to a statement, the company aims to expand its product portfolio and further strengthen its existing product suite to offer best-in-class support to D2C brands. In his new role,...

MAM Media and Advertising People

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required