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Chat shows as a format have been used for long by brands in the form of branded content and advertisers-funded programmes. Either the show is sponsored by a few brands or is created specifically for a brand in which its products or positioning is integrated. There’s usually a common code for doing it. Get a cosy sofa or two sofa chairs around a table, coffee mugs, beautiful backdrop and lighting, celebrity speakers, a known interviewer – and the show is ready to roll!

Recently a branded content chat show format that caught’s attention is Zee Cafe’s ‘Not Just A Chat Show’ created for skincare brand Cetaphil. The show features actor and influencer Anushka Sen, who is seen catching up with celebrities and famous skin specialists.

This chat show is different from any of its contemporaries or from those created in the past as it is shot in a ‘behind the scene’ format, which makes it look more real and spontaneous rather than being scripted and planned. 

Two episodes of the show: 

The first episode of the chat show premiered on July 24, 2022. In total, Sen will be shown catching up with four guests – Krystle D’souza, Ridhima Pandit, Dr Monica Jacob and Chef Shipra Khanna.

In each episode’s beginning, Sen is shown going live with her Instagram audience telling them that she is all pumped up to shoot a chat show and meets the celebrity speaker in the makeup/powder/dressing room to catch up. It’s depicted in a most casual format like two people meeting each other for the first time and talking about daily lives. Then they begin speaking about each other's skincare routine and regular life. 

In between their conversation, Cetaphil products are plugged into the content as Sen and the guest start talking about the goodness of Cetaphil products and how they use them on a regular basis. Then they move on to the chat show setup to begin the shoot and continue talking about skin routine.

To keep up the fun quotient, in each episode she is shown taking questions for the speaker from her Instagram audience to make it more appealing for the brand’s TG and the younger generation crowd. In a very unusual style, each episode ends like the shoot is just about to begin. Hence, the name of the show aptly matches the concept, i.e, ‘Not just a chat show’.

Sharing why Cetaphil partnered Zee for the show, G Sathya Narayanan, Managing Director, South Asia, Galderma India, said, “We are glad to collaborate with a show that not only provides insights into the lives of the celebs but also brings forward the topic of sensitive skincare. With growing pollution and changing weather conditions, it becomes extremely important to get an idea of proper skincare and bust myths related to it. This show will help the audience learn from their favourite celebs and experts. We are sure the show will garner engagement and love from the audience.”

While some might still argue that the brand is placed upfront in the narrative and is not subtly integrated, but the matter of fact is that the audience these days are not so gullible. They understand what branded content is and what they don’t appreciate is bad integration of the brand into content, unrelated forced fitting and unnecessary space given to the brand with logo presence and product placements throughout the content piece. In total, the audience doesn’t mind watching branded content till the time it’s entertaining and informative. 

Also, it’s very important to appeal to the youth culture. The younger generation wants to consume content which looks realistic, is relatable and shown in a simple manner. Choosing 19-year-old Anushka Sen as the host of the chat show is the icing on the cake, as she herself has more than 38.5 million followers on Instagram. 

On TV, the show is airing on Zee Entertainment’s five channels – Zee Café, Zee Zest, &TV, &Flix and &Privé. Altogether, Cetaphil gets to reach an audience base of Zee Entertainment’s TV channels, social media and Anushka’s 38.5 million fans. 

Sonal Shah, National Sales Head, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, said, “ Branded content has gained its importance over the years and has become a go-to solution for brands that seek deeper engagement and lasting impact with their audiences. At Zee Café, when designing branded content, we ensure that we are giving great value to our advertisers, and also to our audiences. After all, branded content works only when the end viewers find value in it. With this mantra at the core, Not Just A Chat Show on Zee Café, was our attempt to give our clients an opportunity to engage with a younger audience on TV as well as on social media.”

The channel told that no paid push was done and all the reach it has garnered is through organic content consumption. 

Talking about the success of the episodes launched until the filling of the story, Zee told that the show has garnered a total unique reach of 2.5 million on the Instagram account ‘Zee Café’ itself. Its cumulative organic reach is more than 11.4+ million and 4.9 million organic video views have come through Instagram.

The channel was able to garner over 108K views from the first-8 minutes' clip from the first episode it posted on Instagram.

Due to the success of the show on Instagram, the first episode of the show was further distributed on YouTube. In a week, Zee received over 31 thousand organic views on it.

Shah concluded, “The kind of quality engagement we have garnered on this show stands testimony to the success of this attempt. We must thank our partners Cetaphil for a content-forward approach and also our lovely host Anushka Sen for making this show her own. This kind of successful association is a pure joy to work on as it brings advertisers, content creators like us and audiences together to achieve great mutual benefits.”