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The trend of interactive content is slowly picking up steam in India. With two shorts by Axe and Amazon with MX Player, the element of interactivity has been introduced in branded content. While shopping culture has seen its fair share of interactivity over the past few years, it is now enriching content too.

Interactivity in content opens up new avenues in aspects of choice and agency. It allows content to have multiple directions at the same time. In many ways, it expands and experiments with the ‘pick and choose’ culture. In doing so, it successfully generates a thrill that is a seminal constituent of consumerist culture.

#1 Balcony Buddies - Amazon x MX Player

Released on Friendship Day 2021, Amazon’s interactive special opens up with a short set of instructions that tells the audience to “make a choice” and “have fun” as “there are no right or wrong answers.” The vibe is made out to be fun and youthful right at the beginning. The premise is set through the instructions before the movie begins. Even though the brand is quite literally spelt out in the opening shot, the focus from the same is soon diffused as the consumer waits for their turn to make a choice. Thus, while dabbling with interactivity, creators might even mention the brand in ways that traditional branded content does not allow.

Balcony Buddies begins with a choice but at this point, that choice is not open to the audience. It is something that the lead actress is mulling over. The narrative then goes into a flashback so as to tell a tale that will ultimately equip the consumer to make the first choice. Set during the lockdown, the short is about Sunanda and Prateek, the eponymous balcony buddies who forge an unlikely friendship confined to their balconies.

By centring on the balcony, the short film is able to use one of the most diversely used spaces during the pandemic. In her balcony, Sunanda begins to teach Yoga to Prateek and consequently the two bond over a string phone, without ever exchanging their contact numbers. Both their balconies are positioned as spaces where one “goes out”. So, the choices become quite relevant topically as consumers help the characters get ready for the “balcony.” The choices a consumer makes in Balcony Buddies have high chances of resonating with their own self.

Balcony Buddies gives diverse instances with one getting to choose a wide range of clothes from office to sports, and also for gifting. The choices all stay relevant and generate excitement for the upcoming ones. The wait to reach the next choice point remains piqued with interest. Thus, interactivity here aligns the content well with the dictum of the consumerist culture that is to always generate excitement. It lays out a virtual experience that brings about a sense of pleasure often associated with shopping and window shopping.

#2 The Right Click - Axe x MX Player

Axe’s The Right Click released on MX Player is also an interactive short film about two college students who attempt to make a college project amidst the pandemic. The instructions here ask consumers to ‘help’ a fresher student Ajay, as he attempts to woo a girl in his class. As in the Amazon film, the product (a pocket perfume) here too is placed at the beginning but again it takes the backseat as interactivity is foregrounded.

Unlike Balcony Buddies, choices here have a sense of being right or wrong as it is the titular right-click that will lead to a wholesome ending. The element of interactivity works well in Axe’s short film since it introduces a thrill in an otherwise predictable story. Here the choices unravel the story. They ensure the focus is on content and not the product per se.

The choices that a consumer needs to make in The Right Click are not really rooted in the shopping experience; instead, they are rather ordinary. Here, one is choosing between a bit more sleep or waking up, telling the truth or making something up, etc. Interactivity here transfers the power of story-telling to the consumers. They are not just shopping for a product but also choosing the story for that product. Henceforth, the consumer gets a sense of increased decision-making capacity.


Interactive content sets itself apart from the existing trends by inviting engagement from the moment go. It runs on a fixed set of instructions that must be read carefully in order to proceed. It captures one’s attention in the first frame itself and thus makes the consumption of content an active process and not a passive one.

Interactivity in content redefines the shopping experience and further boosts it by offering a virtual image of brands’ products in real-life situations. Most of all, it allows content to cater to an extended degree of personalised needs. It refutes the ‘one-size-fits-all approach.’ The power accorded to content by interactivity is rooted in a consumerist culture that is constantly looking for new and exciting developments. Interactivity is anchored in individualistic values that are enforced in this culture. It emboldens consumers with a semblance of agency to choose. Complete with its ability to offer stimulation as well as customised storylines, interactive content is a technological innovation that is well suited to the needs of the fast-paced consumerist culture. Therefore, it is a concept worth exploring for brands and creators involved in branded content.